Welcoming 2019 with a BIG SMILE…

…and a LOT of LOVE.

This time of the year is probably the busiest—holiday travels, christmas shopping, family get togethers and endless holiday parties. I don’t know about you but for me, its also the time when this mama gets to drink just coz we end up going to two (sometimes even three) parties a day. You just can’t say no to ‘Holiday Cheers’ (pun intended) and red wine is my alcohol of choice so I guess you can say welcoming the new year with my red wine stained teeth is inevitable (and yes, I’m still an avid coffee drinker so you can add those stains on there). Yikes!

I’m BIG on New Years resolutions but no way am I making ‘Teeth Whitening’ as part of that list, why wait for the new year when these stains can be addressed right now. A few months ago, I was blessed enough to come across SMILE BRILLIANT and their at-home-teeth whitening customized trays, before that I would have never considered whitening my teeth (at home) for a couple of reasons I’m stating below:

#1. As a stay at home mom, I don’t have the TIME to do it. I cannot afford countless trips to the dentist especially with two children tagging along. It is just tedious.

#2. Teeth whitening (when professionally done or when done right) is EXPENSIVE. I’m not about to spend hundreds of dollars for something I know I will be staining again. #coffeemom

#3. I was SKEPTICAL. Let’s face it, any procedure that’s normally done at a professional setting and is now presented to you as something that can be done at home would leave you doubtful.

I had a LOT of questions concerning the product especially regarding teeth sensitivity and it being breast feeding friendly since I’m still currently nursing Xavi so it was a relief to come across their detailed FAQs, and that is how I got convinced to try it out.You can read about my at-home-teeth whitening journey with Smile Brilliant in here. Currently I am working on my refills of whitening gels making sure that me and my pearly whites are ready to take on 2019.

 This year has been quite a year with the coming of my second born and me learning to embrace the struggles and the perks of being a Stay-at-Home mom but the most important thing I’ve learned is to ‘ALWAYS LEAVE SOME FOR YOURSELF’, I know as mothers it is our instinct to put our children and family first but we need to take care of ourselves so we don’t burn out and we can continue to take care of them.  Spoil yourself a bit, get a haircut, have your nails done, get a wax, get your teeth whitened— I don’t know but the point is show yourself some love.

Before and After Results

To celebrate motherhood and the New Year, I’ve 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.

Happy New Year everyone and Good luck!

~Rhea

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Personalized Hair Care with FORMULATE

*Disclosure: I received these products complimentary for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

For the most part of my life, I’ve enjoyed my hair in its natural state. Sometimes I’ll curl it, other days I’ll straighten it but I never got into coloring my hair except that one time in college where it completely dried it out. So yeah, my hair is the typical wash and wear type which made it perfect when I transitioned to motherhood. I didn’t really have to make any grave adjustments with my hair care although my hair issues did change so the shampoo and conditioner that worked for me before had to be replaced.

“All I use is shampoo and conditioner”, I loosely say but when you come to think of it theres a lot of factors that contribute to your hair issues. How many times do we shampoo/condition our hair? Do we live somewhere cold, hot, humid? What is the length of your hair—long or short? Is it straight, wavy or curly? So many things we need to take into account so how is it it so easy for us to just go to the grocery or a Beauty store and select a set off the rack, based on what the labels say? based on the scent? based on packaging? How many times have you wasted time and products looking for the perfect set? I know there have been times when I have to just rough it out until I finished the bottles just because I didn’t want to waste it.

Now, what if I say that there’s someone willing to take all of these details into account and create a shampoo and conditioner set that will (try to) aim to cater to all of your hair needs. Impossible?

NOT REALLY. Not with FORMULATE.

Why try FORMULATE?

√Good for US

– it saves us time, money and bottles of wasted shampoo and conditioner that don’t work for us

√Good for our Hair

– it aims to address ALL our hair issues with a personalized kind of care and NOT generic

√ Good for the Planet

-Preservative free. Sulfate free. Paraben free.Cruelty free. Need I say more? On a side note, ‘Hi, VEGAN friends!’

If you’re not satisfied with the current formula then let them know and their chemists will work on a new formula and send you a second set completely FREE of charge. If you’re still not happy with the second set, let them know and they will give you a full refund.

How it Works

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Sam, my personal contact from Formulate sent me an invite code and it directed me to their website ( FORMULATE ), if you don’t have an invite code it’s okay, you can still go their website and they will ask for your name, an email address to reach you and then direct you to the Hair Wizard who will ask you a bunch of questions regarding you hair. These questions will include what type of hair you have, hair color, hair tools you use, hair products you use, hair care routine, hair problems you want to address, preferred scent and also where you live because they try to factor in the climate and weather conditions of your location. Talk about PERSONALIZED.

Give them a few days (mine, literally came in less than a week) for your personalized set  to come in the mail. With it is a guide that contains an overview on the type of hair you have, a summary of the top 5 hair issues that you want to address and a set of instructions on how to use it (don’t worry its just telling us how many pumps of the shampoo and conditioner you’ll need, not rocket science ), the scent you selected and the ingredient list with a short description on what every single ingredient is for and what it does. So they do want you to be in the know and they want you to be aware of what you’re putting in your hair.

My FORMULATE Journey

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So for my hair, I wanted to focus on Hydration, Replenishing it, Strengthening it, Anti- Frizz and Improving Scalp Health. I gave it a week and a half to see some changes with my hair and noticed that it looked less dry and it felt healthier, more moisturized rather than damp and I also experienced less hair breakage. I wasn’t sure if my formula was supposed to address hair loss but I noticed less hair fall since I started using my set. I normally don’t have dandruff but on occasion I experience some flakes especially when my scalp is dry so with this set I’ve noticed very few flakes close to none.

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Sam closely monitored my journey and explained to me why my hair felt a little bit greasy during the first few days of my transition and he made sure that everything was still working fine that was why it was easy for me to tell him that I noticed my hair feeling a little bit heavy after we experienced a cold front. I’m not sure if I should blame it on the change of temperature but my hair was fine when let down but as soon as I’d tie it up it would frizz on me and appear stiff, not to mention hard to comb. Upon hearing this he quickly took note of my issues and sent it to their lab so they could tweak my formula based on my hair observations and Formulate sent me a completely new set free of charge.

I am now on my second week of using my second set from Formulate and so far they’ve addressed the issues I was facing with the first set; no more frizzing and my hair is so easy to comb even after getting out of the shower (when my hair is all tangled). Most importantly I’d say we’ve achieved 90% of my hair goals : Hydration, Anti-Frizz, Replenish Hair, Improve Scalp Health and Strengthen. I am at ease knowing that there are people out there willing to help me out and willing to take part in my hair journey.

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And since it’s the holidays, I’ve partnered with FORMULATE to give one lucky person a chance to win his/her very own PERSONALIZED hair care set. To join the giveaway, just click on the link below:

FORMULATE GIVEAWAY

This giveaway will run from December 11- December 31, 2018 and if you can’t wait that long to find out if you’ve won, all entries will automatically give you a $5 discount off your purchase and free shipping as well.

Enjoy the Holidays with personal hair care guys, its close-to life changing, if you know what I mean and if you have any questions feel free to send me an email. Good luck!

~Rhea

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

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

DIY: #Walmartplayhousehack

Since I’ve been getting a lot of DMs about Cassie’s playhouse, I decided to finally blog about the building process and the house details. I’ve always wanted a wooden playhouse for Cassie and one of the main reasons for picking a wooden one instead of the hundreds of plastic options is the fact that you could make it your own. I wanted to have that option of painting and decorating the house like you would with your own home and I wanted it to be something my daughter and I could do together.

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This is the stock photo on the Walmart website.

We bought this Backyard Discovery Timberlake Cedar Wooden Playhouse at Walmart.com when it was on sale right before Christmas. It wasn’t much of a big sale but I’ve been on the watch and so far this was the cheapest it’s been. You can click on the product name above to link you directly to the Walmart website. When we purchased it, this playhouse was $175 and that’s very cheap considering that its a wooden playhouse. Right now (as I’m writing this blog) if you check the website the playhouse now runs for $184 which is still less than $200, still not bad for the price.

So before I decided to paint the house I started looking up Wooden Playhouse Decoration Inspiration on Pinterest and stumbled upon the Kmart Cubby house Hack and if you search on Instagram #kmartcubbyhack, it apparently is a thing that’s been around especially in Australia where parents decorate their kids wooden playhouses into posh, sophisticated, rustic, vintage or farmhouse inspired mini homes. The two houses look quite similar and from my understanding you’re able to purchase the other cubby home from Kmart in Australia for $199 AUS. I thought originally that they were the same size, I know I could’ve easily compared both by looking at their specifications online but based on some photos of the interior of the Kmart Cubby Home, that seems a tad bit bigger and wider to the point where you can put mini shelves. I honestly don’t know but with this Walmart Wooden Playhouse there’s barely any space if you have two kids playing in it already.

My husband, Marco, did most of the assembling but of course I helped, others may say that it’s possible to do it yourself but in our experience it definitely was a two-man job. I’d say the materials were labeled clearly and the instruction manual wasn’t all that confusing so I’ve got no complaints in that department. One day should be enough to build it although it took us quite awhile to build it since we were doing it leisurely during our spare time. We were building it inside our garage.

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The house after we assembled it.

As much as I loved how it turned out, I wanted to make it our own so that’s when I decided to paint it. I was a little undecided with the color scheme but I was sure I wanted gender-neutral colors to suit both Cassie and Xavi so I ended up with your typical black/white combo.I didn’t have to go far for paint, Walmart had the basic black and white (no mixing needed), I literally grabbed them from the shelf and paid for it. With the paint, I wasn’t too particular, in fact I just picked the color and picked the cheapest one. I didn’t bother reading if it was flat, matte, interior/exterior paint, quick dry— we were just painting a playhouse anyway.

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Marco was scared that the paint brushes that I got from the Dollar store were no good but again we were painting a playhouse, the wider the brush the more area it covers in one stroke. You will also need foam brushes to cover the crevices that you can’t reach with a normal paint brush. We didn’t bother sanding the wood prior to painting since it was already smooth to begin with. The paint color, type of paint and paint brush size are all subject to preference. Before you start painting, here are the things you need to do:

  1. Take out/ Unscrew all the house accessories (cooking stove, phone, doorknob, etc) and set them aside in a safe area so you don’t lose any screws
  2. Lift house and put a plastic drop cloth beneath it (or whatever that can protect your floors from messy paint)
  3. Apply painters tape to edges or corners that you don’t want to be painted or repainted. If you’re using tape on a newly painted surface make sure that the area is dry before applying tape.
  4.  PAINT first coat. I would suggest using different set of paintbrushes if you’re going with more than one color and also going one direction when painting, it just looks less messy that way)
  5. Use foam brush to fill in tight spots that can’t be reached by your paint brush.
  6. Once first coat is dry, apply second coat.
  7. Screw in all house accessories that were taken out prior to painting.
  8. DECORATE. Have fun putting up curtains, frames, house number, a bell— anything you want to personalize your playhome.

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In hindsight, it would have been easier to paint the material before assembling it. If you do decide to go this route, make sure that you re-label the wood before painting over the letters, these letters will serve as your guide when assembling the playhouse.

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VOILA! Here’s the finished product.

I’ve linked the metal vases with rope accents that were purchased from Dollar Tree, you can get them online but only in bulk. I also linked in the Grass Rug that we placed under the house, I wasn’t too comfortable with Cassie stepping on possibly rickety wooden planks so this was the cheapest and most practical alternative we could find and this rug can be used both indoor and outdoor, at least I won’t have to worry if it gets rained on. The Greenscapes Grass Rug measures 4×6 and was purchased from Target online for $22.99. We’re still in the process of adding more accents here and there but I think that pretty much wraps up the house building process. If you have any questions about  this #kmartcubbyhack or rather this #walmartplayhousehack send me an email or shoot DM, I would be glad to help.

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Finally my little family is done with this little project.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Rhea