Teeth Whitening At Home + Giveaway

When it comes to style, chic and timeless pieces appeal to me the most. A black dress, patent leather pumps, and a red lip are all things I would consider to evoke an effortless, classic style. However, something I’ve learned to be even more important than those is a white smile you can be proud of. Keep reading for a chance to win a whitening kit that will change the way you feel about your smile forever, and view my own before and afters!

Throughout most of my adult life, my smile has been something I’ve felt fairly confident about. When I was a little girl, about 5 years old, I had a gap between my two front teeth. Although everyone says it’s cute when you’re young, I’m thankful that gap closed on it’s own a couple years later. Fast forward to middle school, and braces became my new BFF thanks to my crooked lower teeth. I wore them for about a year, and got them off just in time before high school started. I was able to start that new chapter in my life with straight teeth, but of course, braces also bring on stains that are hard to remove. Not to mention, my coffee drinking habits that developed in college didn’t help either! Even though my teeth weren’t severely discolored by any means, I still never really felt like I had a “white” smile. I had contemplated getting my teeth whitened at my dentist office in my early twenties, but after hearing how much it would cost, decided to settle on the fact that it just wasn’t meant to be. But that all changed when Smile Brilliant reached out to me and helped give me the smile I’ve always dreamed of!

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What makes Smile Brilliant so unique is their accessible approach to the teeth whitening process, which you can do in the comfort of your own home! By eliminating the dentist visit from the equation (which makes up for 70% of the cost normally), it cuts the cost of teeth whitening immensely, giving you a dentist-grade whitening kit for under $200! Too good to be true? Absolutely not. After I answered a brief questionnaire about my dental history, my personalized whitening kit was delivered right to my doorstep. From there, I made my own molds (which I still had nightmares about from when I got my retainers over 10 years ago, but this process was a dream!) and shipped them back in the pre-paid packaging. Within a week, I had my custom whitening trays and began the whitening process.

Even after using the product for a few days, I could already see a difference in my smile. Now just two weeks later, I’m so happy with the results and can’t believe that my pearly whites are actually white again! Now, when I see teeth whitening commercials on TV, I don’t immediately cringe with envy wishing that could be me. Instead, I smile, because now I too have one that I’m insanely proud of. #smilefearlessly

I would love to answer any questions that you may have about my teeth whitening experience, and here’s a helpful article that answers some questions if you’re thinking about starting the process. 

GIVEAWAY: If you would like to win a FREE Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit, you can enter the contest by clicking this link!

OR

If you don’t win the giveaway and would like 10% off your Smile Brilliant Whitening Kit order, use the following discount code: sodasippinsister10

Thank you to Smile Brilliant for sponsoring this post.

Lip Color That Lasts

You know the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Without realizing it, this has pretty much been my life motto. When I find something I like, I stick with it and don’t really change things up. When I go to a favorite restaurant, for example, I order the same thing 99% of the time because I know I love it and don’t want to potentially “ruin” that experience by ordering something I’m unfamiliar with and be disappointed with it. The same is true for my beauty routine. 

My beauty routine has been pretty consistent for awhile now; I like to stick to products I know I can trust and that work for me. I have been using BareMinerals foundation and eye shadow products since I was in middle/high school, and I love that their products are all natural. I’ve always admired natural-looking makeup—something that feels fresh on your skin while still looking put together. When it comes to my lip color, I’ve never been very adventurous in that department. I think the most lip color I’ve ever put on was for my dance recitals when I was young! I usually stick to softer, neutral tones for everyday wear, and an occasional bright pink if I’m feeling a bit more sassy. Recently, my friend Christine turned me on to a new lip product that has livened up my beauty routine that I’m excited to share with you!

LipSense is a long-lasting lip color that is smear-proof, waterproof, kiss-proof and lasts up to 18 hours, which means never having to re-apply throughout the day (PTL!). If I’m being honest, when I first heard about it, I was skeptical. Aren’t there other lipsticks out there that claim to have the same benefits? What makes this product so special? After wearing only LipSense products for the past month, I have truly noticed a difference in how my lips feel, which I didn’t think was possible! 

Living in Arizona has it’s perks, like mild winters and beautiful mountains, but as you’ve heard me say before, the summers here are brutal. The air is extremely dry, and my lips usually take the brunt of that by being chapped all. the. time. However, since using LipSense on a daily basis, my lips have become smoother and fuller, feeling moisturized even when I don’t have anything on my lips! During the first few weeks of using the product, I definitely noticed a transformation beginning to take place right away. As Christine warned me, your lips will shed the first couple weeks of use, getting rid of wax build up from years of using various chapsticks and other lip glosses. But once my lips stopped shedding, they felt so much smoother and more alive (if that’s even a thing!). 

There are so many colors to choose from, and the great thing is once you get a few colors, you can mix them together to create a color that’s unique to you. I started with First Love, and just recently added Aussie Rose to my collection, which is what I’m wearing in these pictures. But there are so many more colors (& glosses) that I can’t wait to try, which you can see below! To learn more about LipSense or get a starter kit of your own, Christine would love to help you, and you’ll be able to see the results for yourself! I never really used to get excited about putting on a lip color after I finished putting on my makeup each day, but now it’s something I look forward to doing. I’m even excited to start mixing some colors together to see what combinations I can come up with! Let me know in the comments below which color you’d love to try! xo

Thanks to Christine's Wonderfully Made Long Wear Cosmetics for sponsoring this post.

Posted on July 19, 2017 .

Summer Beauty

Now that July is officially here, it's the month that is usually the hottest and longest here in Arizona. Towards the end of the month we usually see some relief with the massive monsoon storms that come through the valley, but since it seems so far away, now is the time that my skin and hair is needing a lot of TLC! The triple digit temperatures that we experience can really take a toll on you physically (& mentally!), so that's why I've rounded up some of my favorite skincare and hair products that keep me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated in the heat of summer!

This Mario Badescu facial spray is at the top of my list for so many reasons. It's the perfect remedy when my skin needs a refresher, like in the morning when I'm ready to begin my day. I'll pump two sprays on my face just after I've washed it, and I'll use it again after I've put on my makeup to help set it for the day. It contains aloe, rosewater and a variety of herbs which makes it smell so amazing! I'll use it again before I go to bed after I've washed all my makeup off and put on my moisturizer (I'll get to that in a minute) allowing me to fall into a deep sleep feeling relaxed. My daily routine honestly doesn't feel complete without this jack of all trades, and the best part is it's only $7 for this 4 oz bottle! If you ask me, that's the best beauty steal if I ever saw one.

I mentioned that I spritz on the Mario Badescu spray after I moisturize, and my favorite one to use is the face & body cream from Infinite Aloe Skin Care (see first image). I was first introduced to this cream from my mom who saw the company selling their products at Costco one holiday season, so she thought it would make great gifts. You know that saying that goes "Mother knows best?" Well, it applies here, once again! Ever since I first used it a couple years ago, I've been hooked! The Aloe Vera in the lotion is so healing and hydrating, I've seen a noticeable difference in my skin after using it even just for a few days. I use this lotion as my facial moisturizer and on my entire body because it's that amazing! But lately I've just been using it for my face, because I'm running out and need to order more--oops!

Next up is this Hawaiian Facial Scrub from Alba Botanica. My esthetician had recommended this scrub for Freddy a couple years ago, and I basically steal it from him on a weekly basis so that I can use it too! Not only does this scrub smell like summer with the scent of pineapples, but it is a very gentle scrub that doesn't make you feel like you've just rubbed sandpaper all over your face. I typically use it 2-3 times per week, as to not over-exfoliate, and my skin instantly feels smoother and softer afterwards. 

My hair tends to get very dry and brittle from all of the styling I do on a regular basis, so I try to take extra good care of it during the summer when the hot temps dry it out even more. During the summer I try to limit curling my hair to 1-2 times per week, which is a significant decrease to my typical daily curling session. While this helps the overall health of my hair by eliminating heat, the Aveda Smooth Infusion cream has also helped my hair in controlling those fly-aways (due to dryness) and feel nourished. After I wash my hair, I just use a dime-sized amount and run it through from root to tip, and let it air dry. 

Do you have any favorite summer beauty products you like to use? I'd love to hear about them! As always, thanks for stopping by! If you'd like updates on new content and weekly inspiration, you can sign up for my newsletter here! xo

Blushfully, 

Belle

SHOP THE POST

Three New Mascaras

It's been some time since I've written a post about beauty products, mainly because I'm not an impulse beauty buyer (like I can be with clothes!) I really plan out what products I'm going to buy after doing some research and maybe even test out some samples. So, with that being said, I'm really excited to share 3 new mascaras with you that I've been dying to try!

Some women have their "thing" when it comes to beauty products. Some are lip color fanatics, while others might be obsessed with eye shadow palettes. I can say that I truly love experimenting with different mascaras! There are some people who don't feel that there is any difference between mascaras that you find at a drugstore vs. a beauty or department store, however after using multiple different brands over the years I have noticed a difference with the wear and overall longevity of the tube life. 

For the past couple years, I have gone back and forth between Le Volume de Chanel and Dior Blackout mascara. My preference between those two came down to how easily I was able to take them off with makeup remover at night. The Dior mascara didn't come off quite as easily, and at the end of the day I would notice black goop in my eyes that had formed, and it just didn't feel too great! So, when Nordstrom had their Mascara Madness event last month (where you buy 2 get 1 free!) it seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand my horizons and go for some new formulas. 

Since I just got them in the mail a couple of days ago, I haven't had a chance to try them all. However, I have tried the Bobbi Brown 'Eye Opening Mascara' and so far I'm loving the results! I am wearing it in this selfie I posted on my Instagram yesterday, but it went on really well and I felt like it gave my eyes a "pop" that I haven't seen with other brands. 

It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but the tip of the brush is actually quite large and full (bushy, if you will lol) so it gives great volume when you're applying it to your lashes. As I test out the other two mascaras I will keep you updated and hopefully narrow down to my favorite! 

Thanks for stopping by! xo

Blushfully, 

Belle

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Back to Basics

When it comes to makeup, I'm all for a natural look. At least, that's my go-to now that I'm in my mid-twenties, but when I was younger it was a different story. When I was in high school, I didn't like how many freckles I had on my nose and I would try to cover them up as much as possible with concealer and foundation. As I've gotten older, I've come to love my freckles and now when I apply my makeup, I don't want to hide them all under my foundation. I can now appreciate the saying that "less is more" and I definitely take that to heart when applying my foundation.

Over the years I have tried countless brands of foundation, such as YSL, Dior, Chanel and Josie Maran. But, there's one brand in particular that I keep going back to, and that is bareMinerals. I remember sitting on the couch with my mom when I was maybe around 10 or 11 years old and we had seen one of the infomercials for bareMinerals. I was mesmerized by the "swirl, tap, buff" technique they had used on these women, and seeing the before and after photos was unreal! I couldn't believe that this foundation was made from minerals and was actually good for your skin! My mom and I got so excited watching it that she decided to order some for herself, and she's been hooked ever since. 

I've always enjoyed trying out new things, and I think because I had been wearing bareMinerals  from middle school into my early 20's, I kept thinking to myself, "Am I missing out on anything? Is there something better out there that I should try?" This is what brought me to explore all of those other brands and seeing how they worked for my skin. After a few years of experimenting, I'm so happy to say that I've come back to bareMinerals! There truly is nothing quite like it, and I love the natural effect it gives while still providing glowing coverage to even out the redness in my skin. 

I am using the original powder foundation which comes in 20 different shades to match your skin tone, but they also have a variety of formulas to choose from. I have tried BareSkin before as well which is a liquid base but goes on smoothly, and offers as little or as much coverage as you want.

After being on the market for 20 years, they've expanded from just foundation to a whole collection of beauty and skincare products. I love their eyeshadows and eyeliners, as well as mascara. It's been neat to see how this company has grown from those infomercials I used to see on television, and that they have remained true to their roots of pure, natural ingredients. Perhaps one day I can pass along my love of bareMinerals to my daughters as well, and they can come to appreciate their natural beauty.

Do you have a favorite cosmetic brand that you love? Let me know in the comments section! Thanks for stopping by! Have a beautiful weekend!

Blushfully, 

Belle

Posted on November 11, 2016 .

Signature Scent

It's pretty amazing how a particular scent can instantly transport you back to a particular moment, or point in time. The sense of smell is, I believe, one of the most powerful in that way, and I love how certain fragrances take me back to a particular season in my life, or remind me of someone special. Fragrance has a beautiful way of leaving a lasting impression, and one of my absolute favorites is the ever classic and lovely, Chanel No. 5. 

I was first introduced to the scent by my mom, who rotates through a few different signature fragrances of her own (Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, Bvlgari, among others). I remember oohing and ahhing over her beautiful arrangement of perfume bottles as a little girl. Each one was unique and beautifully crafted, and I loved helping her pick out which one she should wear for that day. Chanel No. 5 always stood out to me, and as I got older I would continually ask her if I could wear it for special occasions.

As a gift for my 25th birthday last week, my mom gave me my own bottle to enjoy! This is my first time owning this perfume, and I love putting it on in the mornings as I get ready for the day. For this fragrance specifically, I prefer the body lotion for it's softer scent, and I feel that it actually lasts longer than the eau de parfum. I also can't help but love the blush bottle it comes in with the gold cap; still just as beautiful as a glass bottle!  

Another fragrance my mom introduced me to is 'Cashmere Mist' by Donna Karan, which is another softer scent that doesn't overpower or smell too intense. Perhaps what I love more than the scents themselves, is who I will always be reminded of when I wear these special perfumes. I hope that one day if I have a daughter, I can also share these scents with her and continue the legacy. 

What is your signature scent? Do you have more than one favorite? I'd love to hear in the comments! 

Happy Monday!

Blushfully, 

Belle

Posted on September 25, 2016 .

Mani Monday: Splash of Sparkle

For as long as I can remember, I've always enjoyed painting my nails. I find it very relaxing, almost methodical, allowing me to unwind and let my thoughts wander. I love experimenting with different colors and textures, seeing what combinations I can create. I will admit though, that I am terrible at drawing designs or anything of that sort--I leave that to the experts. 

In high school and even college, my best friend and I would make random trips into Walgreens and head straight for the nail polish aisle. We tested all sorts of colors on our nails (I'm surprised none of the employees got mad at us and asked us to leave!) to determine which ones we wanted to buy. Our shopping spree usually ended with us each going home with at least 5 bottles of new polish! 

While I do love a fun pop of color on my nails, I'm a sucker for a super soft blush pink or nude hue--yes I know, shocking! I decided to add a little splash of glitter this time around to kick things up a notch :) 'Ballet Slippers' by Essie is hands-down my favorite neutral to put on my nails if I am going for a barely-there look. It's not too obvious but you'll still look 'polished'...

'Hors d'oeuvres' is the glitter I used, also from Essie, which I love because it has varying flecks of gold and silver, giving it a unique finish. 

Do you have a favorite go-to polish color? Or any favorite designs that you've tried lately? Let me know in the comments!

Have a great start to your week!

xo

Blushfully, 

Belle

Posted on August 29, 2016 .

August Beauty Pick

Have you ever found a lip color that just speaks to you? The moment you put it on you realize that it's something you've been missing your whole life? It sounds silly to talk about lipstick that way, but it's amazing what an impact the perfect shade of lip color can have on someone! I've only come across a few lipstick colors in my life that I've truly loved, and worn all the time. I've just added a new one to my collection from Laura Mercier called 'Raspberry Ripple'

I found this lip pencil (shown in 'Naked') and color duo on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and I almost didn't even buy it! I didn't test the color out before purchasing since I was in a rush, but the rosy hue looked like something I would go for. The second I got home I put it on and instantly loved it! It's a great everyday shade that isn't too bold or overpowering. Plus, the creamy balm-like texture goes on smooth, and leaves my lips feeling moisturized all day long. This is my first time trying out a lipstick product from Laura Mercier, but I can honestly say I'm super impressed, and I can't wait to get more colors!

What's your favorite go-to lip color? Let me know in the comments below!

Blushfully, 

Belle

Posted on August 9, 2016 .

Josie Maran Cosmetics

When I was younger, I loved trying out new beauty products, especially when it came to makeup. But as I've gotten older, I have found products I love and haven't really branched out to experiment with new ones. Kind of like eating at your favorite restaurant; I know what I like and I always order the same thing! I feel like there are always new and innovative beauty products on the market, but it took one of my friends to convince me that this amazing cosmetic line was worth trying. I’ve been wearing bareMinerals foundation and eye shadow since I was in middle school...until my friend recommended I give Josie Maran Cosmetics a try.

What I love about her products is that they are full of organic ingredients, making your skin feel luxurious without all the chemicals that are in a lot of cosmetics. She also has a great passion for taking care of the Earth, and ensuring that her products and the way they are made are eco-friendly. You can read more about the story here

I picked up a starter kit at Sephora a couple months ago, which contained the Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation, 100% Argan Oil Light, Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Wand, and a Coconut Water Cheek Gelee. I’m in love with everything! The Argan Oil Light works wonders and instantly absorbs into my skin leaving it feeling soft and silky. It’s the perfect primer for the foundation, which also contains argan oil. I also love using the Argan Oil at night in lieu of moisturizer. I’m excited to try the original 100% Argan Oil and compare its weight and consistency to the light version. 

I was slightly hesitant about the Matchmaker Serum Foundation at first, but I am so impressed with how it magically matches to my exact skin tone! It transforms from a milky white to match the color of your skin flawlessly. When I was deciding which type of foundation to go with, I almost chose the tinted moisturizer, but with summer quickly approaching I wasn’t sure how my fair skin tone would change from being in the sun. I’m so glad that I went with the serum foundation because no matter how my skin tone changes, the chameleon-like pigments will naturally adjust to match. Plus, the fact that it’s paraben-free and filled with organic ingredients, I know that my skin will only benefit from using it each day. 

No matter how much sleep I get each night, there are some days when I just can’t hide those dark circles under my eyes. I’ve tried various highlighting eye pigments over the years, but none have compared to the Enlightenment Illuminizing Wand. It’s pure highlighting bliss! I love that its compact and so easy to use. The creamy formula blends seamlessly into my skin, and is just the right amount of highlight for the inner corners of my eyes, cheekbones, and cupid’s bow. 

The Coconut Water Cheek Gelee is the perfect amount of color to make your cheeks pop. My cheeks have a slight rosy hue to them, so I love that this enhances their natural color without looking too overdone. The color I’m using is ‘Poppy Paradise’. 

If you’re looking to switch up you makeup routine, I highly recommend checking out Josie Maran Cosmetics. I need to take my friend out to dinner as a thank you for introducing me to this brand—she’s the best! Do you have a favorite cosmetic line? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Blushfully, 

Belle

Posted on April 12, 2016 .

Fresh Beauty

My skincare routine has evolved over the years as I've discovered new beauty products. The first face wash I ever used was Cetaphil, and while that was fine as a kid, I moved onto Clean and Clear Morning Burst as a teenager, since that was what a lot of my friends were using at the time. As I started college, I tried a more natural route and began using Trader Joe's Nourish All in One Facial Moisturizer. I really liked the simplicity of this cleanser, and also the fact that it's tearless (I can't tell you how often I get soap in my eyes!). But just in the past 6 months, I have discovered a new skincare line that I've fallen in love with called Fresh!

Fresh is all about natural ingredients, and I'm all about it too! I love knowing exactly what's in the products I'm using, and that what I appreciate most about Fresh. The first product I ever tried was their Rose Face Mask, and the rest was history. It's so calming and soothing, I love using it right before bed to help relax me. Not to mention, it smells heavenly, as if you've just stepped into a rose garden--it's pretty much amazing!

Every night I start out by using the Soy Face Cleanser. It has a rich, creamy texture and is full of amino acids. I also love the fact that it's gentle enough to use over my eyes. Since I'm not a huge fan of eye makeup remover, this gets the job done in one simple step. It's also very energizing to use in the morning, with its clean, cucumber scent. This soothing cleanser leaves my skin feeling rejuvenated and ready to start a new day. 

I will typically use a facial mask about 3 times a week. I use the Rose mask more frequently, since it's so gentle on my skin, but when I'm needing an extra boost of hydration I use the Honey Mask. It's infused with pure honey, and completely melts into your skin the moment you put it on. It's also filled with natural sugars which feel like tiny crystals on your skin, almost working as an exfoliant. 

Lastly, I'll finish with eye cream and moisturizer. I love the Lotus Eye Cream because of its creamy texture, and the illuminating effect it leaves on my skin. As for my moisturizer, I have two favorites that I trade off using each week. The first is the Black Tea Age-Delay Cream, rich in antioxidants it leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. The other moisturizer I love is the Créme Ancienne Soft Cream. I've been using a sample of this product and I'm amazed at how just a little goes a long, long way. It's whipped butter-like texture feels so rich yet lightweight all at once. I can't wait to get a full-size of this wonderful cream.

I'm also a huge fan of their Sugar Lip Treatments that come in an array of shades. I've been using Rosé the past few months, and I love the subtle tint it gives without having to put on lipstick, and it's super moisturizing! I'm looking forward to trying their Petal and Berry shades as well. 

What are your favorite skincare lines/products that you like to use? Let me know in the comments below! Have a great day!

Blushfully, 

Belle

Posted on March 29, 2016 and filed under Beauty.