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

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

INFLUENSTER: Milk Makeup’s Kush Mascara

MILK makeup’s Kush Mascara has been out for a while now and it’s been making waves in the makeup industry not only because of the product marketed as vegan but primarily because of its CBD oil component—-yes you said it, Marijuana. But before some of you come up with any speculations of the product “making you high”, sorry to burst your bubble but from what I’ve read the CBD oil is not the psychoactive part in Marijuana therefore no ones getting “high” by applying these on. I’d have to admit though I’m impressed with how MILK makeup campaigned for Kush with the tag line “One HIT for high volume” <cue in a Bob Marley song 😉 > , after all it is the first mascara product out there that has incorporated cannabis oil into their product from what I know.

As I’m not a big fan of mascaras just coz I feel like it’s an extra step for me in my daily makeup routine and because they normally don’t do anything drastic to my eyes ( I have overly short lashes) I’ve tried Kush in over more than one occasion and I had to rethink my last statement.

Every product has their claims and I would have to agree in these aspects based on my experience with Kush:

✔️HIGHER VOLUME

✔️LONGER LASHES

✔️THICKER LASHES

To start with, my lashes are almost non-existent, you can barely see them unless you stare closely but with just a few strokes from this beauty you can somewhat see my lashes now. It’s made my lashes visible and fuller but as for its claims of lifting my lashes up and it being clump Free, I’ve had inconsistent outcomes on that aspect probably because I still have to master the skill of applying mascara on.

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Lastly, let me mention that the packaging of this product is on point, from the triangular shaped box to its cold aluminum body. I would have to admit it is a bit taxing to be ‘lugging’ it around since it’s heavy and doesn’t feel like something you can just throw in your purse for a night out or a quick luncheon with friends but it was created that way to protect the product from accidental drops or falls, also its good to note that the body was created from recycled aluminum. So yay MILK Makeup’s Kush Mascara for thinking green and being vegan.

This product was sent out by Influenster in exchange for an honest review and can be purchased at Sephora or Milk makeup online for $24.

#KushMascara #Influenster #sponsored #contest #MilkMakeup

~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