I know its been awhile but I have to come on and share my recent experience with Smile Brilliant’s At Home Teeth Whitening Kit! I want to be up front as well, this is a sponsored post and I received a complimentary kit for my honest review!
I want to start out by saying I have really no experience in the field of teeth whitening, I have tried crest strips teeth whitening many many years ago and was very unsuccessful but nothing since so I was really excited when Smile Brilliant reached out to me. I was also thrilled to find out that Smile Brilliant is a cruelty free company! I am a regular tea drinker so I have been self conscious about the colour of my teeth and was really excited to start the process of whitening to have the ability to improve the appearance of my smile and in turn my confidence!
The process starts by Smile Brilliant sending you a casting kit. You mix the pastes in a mold to create custom molds for your teeth and then you send these casts back to Smile Brilliant for them to create your customized molds. Once received, they send you your custom fitted trays and the teeth whitening gel and desensitizing gel. The whole process was made extremely easy and simply with step by step instructions.
I found the two most convenient times to whiten my teeth was before I had my evening shower (by the time I was out and my hair was blow dried I was ready for bed and it was time to take them out) or first thing in the morning (before i get ready for the day, once i was done my hair and makeup I could take them out and be ready for the day)!! You can wear them anywhere from 45min-3hrs and I averaged about an hr each time. I also found that I had little to no tooth sensitivity so I only used the desensitizing gel every 2nd or 3rd time.
The process has been made so easy and I am thrilled with the results to far! I mean look at those before and after’s! I am so excited to continue using Smile Brilliant to enhance and whiten my smile and even more excited to share that I have partnered with Smile Brilliant to give one of my amazing followers their own teeth whitening kit!!!!
Photography sessions are an investment, an investment you want to last a lifetime and styling is a huge factor in making your photos come together and withstand the test of time. Below I have listed helpful hints on planning for your session, as well as some retail outlets here in Edmonton as well as online to make your buying experience a positive one.
Gone are the days of denim and matching white tee shirts. You will want to select a colour scheme and within that colour scheme mix and match your pieces to compliment that scheme. Stick with classic neutrals that compliment you and your family. Keep in mind less is more.
Textures and Layers
Incorporating different textures and layers into your outfits will add dimension and depth to your photos. Don’t be afraid to add a scarf, knit sweater, fur vest or a wide natural textured belt and don’t forget to accessorize with something to give your photos a personal touch.
Plan In Advance
Keep in mind the location. This is crucial for making sure your theme comes together. A black mini skirt in a outdoor/natural setting doesn’t quite fit, if you see what I’m saying! If you are planning for a scenic nature setting, incorporate warm neutrals, soft browns and maybe a contrasting colour, such as mustard or burgundy as they will balance each other well.
The Season is also very important and will set the stage for the type of outfit you select. If it’s winter, warm neutrals are again a great option, for fall, greens, oranges and mustards are a beautiful combination to the changing season and for summer creams, blushes, whites, greys and soft blues.
Lets not forget about the shoes! Shoes are just as important as any other article of clothing and can easily complete and compliment an outfit. Toss the sneakers aside and op for a semi dressy option (i.e. loafers/boots etc)
Clothing To Avoid
There are certain patterns/graphics that really stand out in photos and take the focus away from you and your family. Large logos,patterns, graphics and brand names should be avoided. This will also aid in dating your photos.
Recommended Places To Shop in Edmonton
Shades of Grey Boutique
Whos Cares Wear
Yo Momma Maternity
Recommended Places To Shop Online
Thank you so much for reading!
To say that I have become extremely invested in my hair since I decided to grow it out is an understatement. Three years ago I was bald (I shaved my head with my dad to support his ongoing battle with Cancer). Growing out my hair was initially extremely difficult because there was little I could do with it in terms of styling. With every little inch I became more dedicated to taking care of it and making sure it was healthy so it could grow long and strong!
Some may believe that you have to compromise on quality to buy cruelty free but I am here to tell you that you are sadly mistaken. I was so excited to put this post together because the best haircare products Ive ever used have been Cruelty Free coincidentally and this has lead me to seek out more amazing brands that can produce and manufacturing amazing products without testing on animals!
I have used every kind of product for my hair from inexpensive to very expensive and I have always come back to my all time favourite, Pureology! My parents used Pureology when I was growing up and still to this day it is my favourite shampoo and conditioner. When I made the decision to buy cruelty free products in the New Year I was so thankful that Pureology is not only cruelty free but completely vegan, as this is a brand I don’t think I could ever stop using. Ive always used the Hydration Line because of our extremely dry weather here in Edmonton its always given me the added moisture my hair needed but if your hair needs are different, Pureology has an entire line including Curl, Volume, Strength, Colour Treated and my fav Hydrate!
Another Pureology product I have recently fallen head over heels for is the Colour Fanatic Spray that you apply prior to blow drying! The spray features 21 essential benefits including detangles hair, conditions and moisturizes, reduces blow dry time, treats and prevents split ends, protects against breakage from daily brushing, repairs damaged hair and protects against heat and environmental damage to name a few, its the only leave in condition you will ever need and I refuse to wash and blow dry my hair without it! PS this is totally not sponsored haha #Iwish #pureologyobsessed.
There are some other cruelty free brands that I have tried and continue to use that are also worth mentioning! Kevin Murphy is a great brand with high quality hair products, some of my favourite products of theirs includes Eazy Rider Anti Frizz Creme, Ive used this product since I had a pixie cut and continue to use it after I’ve curled my hair to help get the tossed look without all the frizz! Their Doo Over Dry Poder Finishing Spray is amazing for second or third day hair to add volume and hold, I just don’t like using it on freshly washed hair as it tends to feel to chalky! Lastly Ive also loved their Body Builder volumizing mousse, its a great mousse for flexible hold and added volume!
When it comes to dry shampoo my two favourite cruelty free brands are Batiste, they have a huge range of options including a dark brown shade for brunettes (my personal favourite!) and Kevin Murphy’s Fresh Hair Dry Shampoo which is a white powder but long last and leaves hair volumized and fresh!
Lastly Ill talk about hairspray, my go to use to be Garnier but because they are not cruelty free I set out to find a better alternative! I had several recommendations on Kenra so I went with their Volume Spray 25, I have been so happy with it and it gives me great hold and volume without feeling crunchy!
I have listed more Cruelty Free Brands below as well as brands that do test on animals. I hope the information above provides you with the confidence that we don’t need to test on animals to have great products and we don’t need to buy from companies that do because there are so many other great options out there!
Thanks so much for reading!!
This New Years I made the decision that I wanted to be a more informed consumer. My goal included being more aware of the products I am buying, where they are coming from, what their ingredients contain, what is the process behind which they come to market, i.e. animal testing and why animal testing was still necessary.
So what does Cruelty Free mean? Cruelty free means that the manufacturing of products does in no way involve experimentation on animals. Simply, companies that are cruelty free do not test on animals.
When I first started researching this process I couldn’t believe everyday products I was using that resulted in animal testing, deodorant, toothpaste, lotions, fragrances, skincare and most influentially makeup. I wanted to understand why these companies were animal testing, were they using such harmful chemicals/ingredients that they had to make sure they wouldn’t harm consumers? Was it required by law? Was it the companies choice? All of these questions I hope to answer for you below and help you to understand my reasoning and also most importantly to educate you as my readers, education is power and the more we know, the more informed decisions we can make regarding the products we are spending our hard earned money on.
One of the most prominent answers I found when it came to animal testing was that Mainland China requires animal testing on all cosmetics and skincare products sold in the country. This means if you are a cosmetic or skincare company and you want to sell to the 1.3 billion people living in the country, you require legal documentation proving you have tested on animals to legitimize the safety of the products. This also means that it comes down to each individual company to decide whether or not they choose to test their products on animals.
This also led me to question the reasoning and justification behind this, how can companies like The Body Shop, Kat Von D Beauty, Tarte and Urban Decay produce extremely high quality makeup and skincare, in my opinion some of the best on the market and be cruelty free? Through resources like Cruelty Free Kitty I found that there are over 7,000 safe ingredients that do not require animal testing because they have already been proven safe to use, which means there are other options, options that are not compromising the quality or safety of the product and do in no way need to harm animals in the process.
Cruelty Free Kitty has been an amazing resource for me in starting this process, her information is logical, precise and well researched and I appreciate forums like this that exist for individuals like me who wish to start this process. The Cruelty Free Shoppers Guide that she provides is an amazing resources for beginners and something that has really come in handy for me! If you are looking at making this change I highly recommend taking a look at this guide to help you navigate products and also suggestions for products you may be struggling to find!
In closing I realize there is so much information out there and it can be very overwhelming to process. I am no where near an expert and I am not trying to preach or convince any of you to make this lifestyle change but it is something i think is really important even if you just become more aware of the products you are buying I feel like I have done my job! I also don’t want to imply that every single product I am buying is 100% cruelty free, I am still in the very beginning and learning stages but I am realllllllly making an effort to avoid products (especially makeup) and not purchase products that result in cruelty to animals. In embarking on this journey it also became very clear to me that we as consumers dictate the market and what is being sold, if we don’t start to educate ourselves and ask these questions we are going to damage our environment and its inhabitants. Even a very small impact, is still intact an impact!
Below I have included a small list of companies that are and are not Cruelty Free as well as Makeup tools that are Cruelty Free. I will also be talking about Cruelty Free Skincare, Haircare and Fashion in the coming weeks so stay tuned!
Thanks so much for reading!
Cruelty Free Makeup
Makeup Brands That DO Test On Animals
For a complete lists of companies that test on animals click here
Cruelty Free Makeup Brushes:
Real Techniques– Available at Walmart at very reasonable prices they also have the best beauty sponge in my opinion, the miracle complexion sponge, just as good as the beauty blender but 1/3 of the price!
Morphe Brushes – These are my most favourite brushes, I use them daily and was sooo happy to find out they are cruelty free!
Sigma – They have started to process of converting their brushes to cruelty free, the SigmaTech line and SigMax line are both vegan and cruelty free
Too Faced’s – made with their signature “teddy bear hair” bristles, they grab and blend color without any of the cruelty or hygiene problems associated with animal-hair brushes!
Tarte – Easily one of my favourite cruelty free brands, their brushes are formulated without paragons, mineral oil, phthalates, sodium laurel sulphates & gluten
The Body Shop – My favourite skincare brand and dedicated to using synthetic, cruelty-free bristles with sustainably sourced wooden handles.
Every makeup product I used on this look is cruelty free!
Primer: Tarte 2hr Primer
Foundation: NYXCosmetics Stay Matte
Concealer: NYX Cosmetics Concealer Wand
Eyeshadow: Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette
Eyeliner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
Mascara: Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes
Blush: Too Faced Blushing Bronzer
Outfit Details (All YEG Businesses!!)
Earrings: Eliasz & Ella
Necklace: Bodhi Soul Bead Works
Sweatshirt: A Beautiful Inspiration
I look at New Years as a great excuse for a fresh start! With a new year comes new changes and with that should come new goals!
The coming new year is definitely bringing new changes to the Pankiw house hold. Clayton was laid off over the holidays so we have decided that he is going to stay home with Cash for a couple months while I go back to work (Mr. Mom!!) which I am so excited about as he was away a lot this past year so it will give them the time to bond and build an even better father/son relationship!
I am back to work in the New Year and this is definitely going to be adjustment for me! I am both excited and nervous about it! Even just thinking about juggling family life, the blog, work, my lipsense business and life in general seems a bit overwhelming but I am looking forward to the challenge! With that here are a couple goals I am setting for myself this coming year!
One of the biggest goals I have set to start in the New Year, somewhat of a life goal, is to become more aware of where the products I am buying are coming from and what they are doing to our environment/animals. I would really like all of the products I buy to be cruelty free from now on this includes makeup, skincare, body products and fashion and I also want to be more aware of where our food is coming from, buying from local businesses and farmers. Now that being said I am no where near perfect but in doing research and educating myself I know that I can become a more responsible consumer and also feel positive about the products I am using and also the products I am sharing with you guys on the blog!
I have been compiling a couple blog posts over the holidays and working diligently on them, these include posts on cruelty free makeup, skincare and other body products, as well as cruelty free fashion and I will be sharing all of these over the next coming weeks!
I know it will be a challenge, I know it won’t be easy and possibly difficult at times but Im looking forward to embarking on this positive journey!
I think every New Year goal should include something in regards to health and I know everyoneeee and their sister have new years resolutions that involve health and wellness but we only have one body and our health is so important so i think its a valid resolution!
Clayton and I considered buying a gym membership but considering my upcoming work schedule and his potential of working after the next couple months we wanted a solution that would be flexible and something we could do in our home, on the road or while working out of town!
We landed on the 8Fit app after seeing several commercials we decided to look into! We really wanted not only a fitness app but a nutrition app as well and 8Fit matched all of the above! Ill be sure to keep you guys updated on our fitness journey as well!
This is something I have really struggled with in the past and something I really want to focus on and be better at this year. I want to be more present when I am with my family, especially now that Clayton is home full time. Im hoping by creating a schedule I can designate an hr to the blog or work but at the end of the hour walk away for the day. This is the plan so we will see how it goes!
Clayton and I have also agreed not to have phones in bed or after 8pm and this has already substantially helped up put my phone away and be present and connected with my family!
Jord Watch Giveaway
Last but not least lets start the New Year off right with an AAAAmazing Giveaway!!!!
Word Watches was so gracious to gift me this beautiful watch and I wanted to pass along the kindness and gift this gorgeous watch to one of you!! This hand crafted Frankie Series Jord Watch is absolutely stunning in person and is just one of three prizes that Jord Watches has been kind enough to offer to my followers!!
What better way to start off the New Year that with a beautiful new watch from Jord Watches!!! Jord Watches offers sophisticated and elegant wood watches for both men and women, perfectly flattering for your winter wardrobe! Jord Watches are made with 100% hand crafted natural wood with stunning sapphire crystal glass and make a beautiful accessory for your wrist!
First Prize: This Frankie Series Jord Watch (shown below)
Second Price: $100 Gift Code for Jord Watches
Third Prize: Everyone who enters will receive a $25 Gift Code for Jord Watches!!!
**********To enter fill out the Jord Watches entry form here and that’s it!**********
The giveaway will close January 14th, 2018! The winner will be announced here!
I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that it is December!! This is my favourite month of the year for so many reasons and this year more than ever because it’s Cash’s First Christmas!!!!! I wanted to share some fun holiday recipes as well as my favourite holiday drink that my family and I bake every year!
Eggnog Hot Chocolate
This drink has been on repeat this month, my favourite go to especially on those cold morning (although the weather this year has been amazing!)
You could replace the hot chocolate with coffee if you’re a coffee drinker or instead of the Vanilla syrup, add some baileys for a little pick me up!!
I have come to accept the fact that I will be living off of eggnog and sweets this month haha! I am not much of a baker at all during the year but as soon as the holidays come around I am in over drive! My typical baking day involves eggnog, christmas music blasting and some dancing lol! My two favourite recipes are my Nan’s Fudge & Poppycock recipes and I wanted to share them with you!
3 cups sugar, 3/4 cup margarine, 160mls evaporated milk, 350 gms (1pk) chocolate chips, 198g jar of marshmallow creme, 1 cup chopped nuts & 1tsp vanilla
Combine sugar, margarine & milk in saucepan, bring to a boil, stirring constantly! Continue boiling over medium heat for 5min, don’t stop stirring! Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips, marshmallow creme and vanilla. Beat well into 9×13 pan. Cool, cut into squares and serve!
Crazy Crunch Poppycock (to die for!!)
2 quarts popped popcorn, 1 cup pecans, 1 cup almonds, 1 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup margarine, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup corn syrup
Mix popcorn, pecans and almonds on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Combine sugar, vanilla, margarine and syrup in pan. Boil for 10min to light caramel colour. Pour over popcorn, almonds, pecans. Mix well and spread to dry.
Hint: Double the recipe, this treat will disappear quickly!!! I promise!!
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!