Best at Home Teeth Whitening! (+GIVEAWAY!)

**Don’t forget to enter the $149 giveaway at the bottom of this post!**

One of the #1 duties of a beauty blogger is to take selfies. Hundreds and thousands and millions of selfies. Fine, I may be exaggerating (though not by much), but the fact remains that I spend a lot of time taking and looking at pictures of myself. This inevitably leads to me analyzing every inch of my face.

Do I need to tweeze by eyebrows? (Yes. Always yes.)

Did I blend my contour enough? (Nope. Never.)

Are my nostrils different sizes? (Left is definitely bigger.)

Are my teeth white enough? (ENTER SMILE BRILLIANT.)

Smile Brilliant provides dental quality teeth-whitening for a fraction of the cost you would pay your dentist (we’re talking less than $200!) for the Exact. Same. Treatment. AND, the exact same RESULTS! Even better? You get to whiten your teeth on your own schedule from the comfort of your own home. Let me back up.

The kindest, most helpful employee at Smile Brilliant reached out to me a few months ago to see if I would be interested in trying their whitening kit. A few days after filling out a quick questionnaire, I received a package containing everything I needed to create a mold of my teeth. This alone would have been worth the price of the kit. I felt like a mad scientist…er, dentist mixing the paste and creating my impressions. Such a fun experience!

I mailed back my impressions and received my custom whitening trays less than two weeks later. I loved that the trays were made specifically for my teeth unlike whitening kits you can buy at the drugstore. They really allowed the gel to cover every nook and cranny of my smile. Plus they came with a convenient case perfect for storage and travel.

The whitening kit came with several syringes of Teeth Whitening Gel and Desensitizing Gel as well as extensive instructions on how to use both. The process varies depending on your desired results and personal tooth sensitivity. For example, the recommended whitening session time ranges from 45 minutes up to 3 hours. A little goes a long way with the syringes as well; each one contains enough gel for three to four treatments!

The trays were comfortable to wear, easy to apply gel to, and simple to clean. I performed a few whitening sessions, but during one session, I began experiencing some gum sensitivity. My sweet Smile Brilliant consultant assured me that is totally normal. She also recommended many solutions, including a simple fix of applying vaseline or coconut oil to my gums to prevent irritation. The quick and helpful response time was actually one of my favorite things about Smile Brilliant. Every question I had through this entire process has been answered thoroughly and honestly!

After a few treatments, I realized that I was already pleased with the natural whiteness of my teeth, so unfortunately I don’t have any dramatic before and after pictures to share in this post. Luckily for you though, there are tons of real life results you can see over on Smile Brilliant’s Instagram account. Their review¬†page is also full of incredible smiles and praise. Below is a before and after example from a fellow blogger, Nyema of Steps to Serendipity. See her full Smile Brilliant review here.

Pretty impressive, right??

I may decide to utilize my unopened syringes before they expire (they conveniently have quite a long shelf life according to Smile Brilliant), and, if so, I’ll update you with some “after” pictures then. Who knows what my incessant selfie analyzing will result in? ūüėČ Considering that seeing results generally only takes around 2 weeks (or less!), I may sneak in some whitening before my next big event! In the mean time, I wanted to share my positive experience using the whitening kit and receiving exemplary customer service from Smile Brilliant with you.

Perhaps the best news of all is that Smile Brilliant is giving you a chance to win your OWN whitening kit! Enter through the link below, and good luck! If you don’t want to wait to see if you win, use code¬†hootsofanightal15 to get $15 off!

**SMILE BRILLIANT GIVEAWAY**

**This product was gifted for review by Smile Brilliant, but all opinions are my own.**

*Giveaway is open for two weeks. You MUST enter through the link to be counted.  Giveaway is for $149 credit- and is open to USA, UK, Canada, and Australia residents.*


How to Whiten Your Teeth

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iFLEW at iFLY San Antonio!

Louis and I have been together for 11 years. Yes, over a decade! We’ve done pretty much every date night in the book, so we’re always looking for fun, different activities to try. Enter, iFLY. They reached out to me, and asked if we’d like to come in for some complimentary flights, and we JUMPED at the chance…get it? ūüėČ

In case you’re unfamiliar with iFLY, they are an indoor skydiving facility. Yes, you read that right. They provide flyers with the thrill of skydiving, without the risk of jumping out of a plane! Sound too good to be true? It’s not.

In fact, anyone from ages 3 to 103 can skydive, according to iFLY! (Sorry, if you live to 104, you’re out. ūüėČ I kid, I kid. ) It’s as easy as filling out a waiver, checking to insure you fit within the other parameters, selecting your flight package, and you’re in! They’ll even let you wear bright red lipstick, so you can unintentionally match your flight suit! I know, it just keeps getting better.

The iFLY team greeted us immediately upon arrival, got us quickly checked in, and minutes later, we were getting our flight training from our amazing trainer, Dave. The training was quick, but thorough, easy to comprehend and remember, and entertaining (thanks to our great trainer!). Next, we got to suit up! Your flight equipment includes a jump suit, ear plugs, goggles, and a helmet. (Make sure you wear lace-up shoes, as well! No flats, flip flops, or bare feet in the tunnel, please!)

Then, BAM, we were flying!! I mean, we had to go into the tunnel, wait our turn, yadda, yadda, yadda, but our flights came up even quicker than I was expecting! Louis went first and looked like a pro! At 6’4″, I was worried the tunnel would be too small for him, but he fit perfectly and did such a great job!

I’m definitely a daredevil, but something about the tunnel had me scared at first. Thankfully, about 5 children flew right before me, so they put my fear in its place. Thinking, “If they can do it, surely I can!” I stepped/fell/leapt into the tunnel, and I was flying!

Okay, full disclosure, our instructor was helping/holding me every second of the way, but still! I did it! And it was so fun! The time FLEW by, and before we knew it, our flights were over, and I was staggering around jelly-legged from the adrenaline rush.

We checked out the kiosks for our flight pictures and videos, got our super official flight certificates, and grinned from ear-to-ear! I love that they take high quality photos and video of your flight, so you don’t have to worry about trying to snap a blurry, grainy phone shot!

Tips from a self-proclaimed pro:

  • If you have long hair, BRAID IT, SLICK IT BACK, SHAVE YOUR HEAD (kidding.). I braided mine, but the few tendrils of hair that slipped out got twisted up like dreadlocks in the tunnel! Thankfully, they were easily brushed out, with¬†minimal-to-no hair loss ;), but I can’t imagine if I had left it down!
  • Wear lace-up shoes! Not flats, flip flops, or slip ons…lace-up shoes only! I wore my trusty Mickey & Minnie Mouse sneakers, and they worked great. Thankfully, there are tennis shoes on site if needed, but I’m sure you’ll fly more comfortably in your own shoes!
  • Don’t be scared! Try and relax in the tunnel. If you hate the feeling you get in your stomach when you go down a rollercoaster drop, don’t worry! You won’t experience that sensation at all in the tunnel.
  • Trust your trainer. They will be within an arm’s length from you (or in my case, constantly holding your flight suit) the entire time you’re flying, and they do everything they can to make your flight experience safe, fun, and amazing!

iFLY San Antonio was such a cool, unique, fun, original, thrilling experience! If you’re looking for a new¬†date night, an awesome birthday party, a great team-building event, or just want to try an exciting experience yourself, definitely check out iFLY…you won’t be disappointed!

 

 I received complimentary flight packages from iFLY San Antonio in exchange for this review, but, as always, all opinions are my own!

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on these links or make a purchase using these links, I may receive a small percentage of the profit at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Hoots of a Night Al!

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wet n wild Photo Focus Foundation

wet n wild recently (ish?) released a new line of Photo Focus products, that they claim will help you achieve flawless, camera-ready makeup in any lighting condition. With the liquid foundation priced at only $5.99, I was anxious to try it out!

The wet n wild Photo Focus Foundation, has a wide range of 20 colors, so hopefully most people can find a matching shade. I debated on which color to try, and wound up purchasing Nude Ivory. It’s an excellent match for my skin! (I think, at least? Feel free to let me know if I’m way off. ūüėā)

The packaging is convenient, and has a sort of spatula wand that makes it very easy to distribute the product onto your face. I use about 2 spatula’s worth (if that makes sense), and blend out the foundation with my Beauty Blender or wet n wild’s flat top¬†brush.¬†

I think the coverage is medium to heavy, which I prefer. I did still go in with Maybelline’s Fit Me Concealer to brighten up my under eye area, but I was pleased with how well the foundation covered my natural redness.¬†

I’ve been using this foundation off and on for a couple of months now, and I feel like I definitely need to set it all over with powder, or it makes my skin very greasy. I have combination skin, and usually setting my T-Zone with powder is enough to keep me oil-free all day, but that isn’t the case with this foundation. I use the highlighter side of wet n wild’s contour palette to set this makeup, and it works great. There is also a complimentary wet n wild Photo Focus powder, but I haven’t tried that yet. Just be warned that unless you have very dry skin, I would definitely set this foundation with powder.

Aside from the oiliness, the wear time on this foundation is pretty good. If you typically touch up your makeup, I’d guess you won’t need to do so until about four or five hours of application. If you’re naturally oily, one blotting sheet around that time and you should be good to go for awhile longer.

Another point I wanted to mention is that this product definitely has a bit of a chemical smell. It does fade once it dries on your skin, but if you’re sensitive to smells, maybe give this one a whiff in the store before purchasing.¬†

The main claim of the Photo Focus line is to prevent flashback regardless of lighting conditions. I used natural light to take the photos above (as I usually try to do), and I definitely see pretty flawless results. I haven’t tested this makeup with a flash or in different lighting conditions, but in daylight at least, I’m very pleased.¬†

At only $5.99 (or less if you can find a coupon at your store!), I would definitely recommend this foundation. If you want a medium to high coverage look, and you’re willing to put in the effort to set the foundation, there aren’t many downsides to this product!¬†

wet n wild has definitely stepped up their game in the last few years, and this wet n wild Photo Focus Foundation is no exception! Have you tried any other products from wet n wild recently? Let me know!

 

Primer

Nivea Men’s Sensitive Post Shave Balm (Full Review)

Foundation

Wet n Wild PhotoFocus Foundation in Nude Ivory

Concealer

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Fair 15 (Full Review)

Setting Power

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Contouring Palette in Dulce de Leche

Contour

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Contouring Palette in Dulce de Leche

Bronzer

Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer

Blush

Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso (Full Review)

Highlighter

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Illuminating Palette in Catwalk Pink (Full Review)

Eyeshadow Primer

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal in Barely Branded (Full Review)

Eyeshadow

Urban Decay UD XX Vintage Eyeshadow in Gash (burgundy shade)

MAC Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Blanc Type (brow bone)

Eyeliner

Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner in Onyx (Full Review)

Mascara

Covergirl Super Sizer Fibers Mascara (Full Review)

Eyebrows

Ulta Brow Powder in Medium

Lips

Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Red Velvet (Full Review)

Tools

Beauty Blender

Real Techniques Buffing Brush

Wet n Wild Large Eyeshadow Brush

Wet n Wild Crease Eyeshadow Brush

Wet n Wild Contour Brush

Wet n Wild Angled Liner Brush

Wet n Wild Flat Top Brush

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on these links or make a purchase using these links, I may receive a small percentage of the profit at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Hoots of a Night Al!

 

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Global Purpose: Connect to Positive Change

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” -Anne Frank

And when you can improve the world on your weekly grocery shopping trip, why wouldn’t you? …but I’m getting ahead of myself. If you are blessed enough to live in the great state of Texas, you have graced the hallowed doors of H-E-B. Next time you’re there, head over to the H-E-B Blooms section and seek out the Global Purpose display. You won’t be disappointed.

Global Purpose is owned and operated by native-Texan Kaylynn Jordan and her husband Jon Jordan, and¬†assists¬†others in achieving more sustainable and humane practices. According to their company, they provide “education and income opportunities for women and children living in vulnerable communities, including India, Haiti, and Uganda.” Can you imagine impacting that many lives with your weekly trip to buy groceries?

Global Purpose was kind enough to send me a sari scarf, wooden bangles, and a drawstring bag from their Village Artisan line, and each item is beautifully handmade by women in India. I loved reading about some of their artisans and what an impact this opportunity has made in their communities. It’s not a coincidence that I’m sharing their mission on International Women’s Day. A quick story about one of their artists, Uzma shows the strong affect she has on her fellow artisans: “Not only does she teach the kantha stitch but she, with her life, teaches them to believe in themselves, to work hard and honestly, and to treat others with dignity and love.” Doesn’t that sound like the kind of person you want to support with your purchases?

If there is anyone that deserves attention today, it’s purchase with purpose companies like Global Purpose. They are directly impacting¬†the lives of others by creating positive change in communities that need it. I’m so thankful I learned about their incredible work, and I cannot wait to purchase more of their items the next time I visit H-E-B. I hope you’ll do the same!

If you want to learn more about Global Purpose, you can find them online here:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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San Antonio Botanical Garden

A couple of weeks ago, we ventured over to the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Let me say, I am so sad we have been missing out on this place since we moved here over four years ago. A low ticket cost of $10 provided us with a chance to explore the amazing gardens on a lovely Sunday. Read on to see some of the beauty we encountered.

We first explored the Fountain Plaza and Japanese Garden. Both were peaceful, scenic spaces perfect for journaling, sketching, or simply enjoying the scenery. The fountains and trickling water created such a relaxing vibe.

Next, we journeyed past the Overlook to spend some time in the various pavilions. Every path we took had no shortage of interesting plants and wildlife to observe.

The first room we explored was the Northrup Tropical Room. It was packed wall-to-ceiling with lush vegetation and colorful plants. It truly provided the sensation of walking through a rainforest.

As you can see, this room was literally overflowing with things to admire.

As native Houstonians, the humidity in the Tropical Room felt familiar, and the dry heat of Kleberg Desert Pavilion felt more like San Antonio. This pavilion held cacti, succulents, and even a tiny, growing pineapple pictured below.


It felt nice to escape the warm Desert Pavilion, and head into the breezy Palm & Cycad Pavilion. This amazing structure housed so many different palms and truly felt like a tropical destination. 

Our final stop in the pavilion area was the Fern Grotto, and we may have saved the best for last! The lush green plants, impressive waterfall, and winding stone path provided a calm oasis that we spent a long time exploring.

We finally stepped outside to admire the Orangerie, where we resisted the urge to harvest some freshly grown limes. It was educational to see how many of the different fruits we enjoy are grown.

We used this shaded path to travel up past the Overlook again to peruse the Cactus and Succulent Garden. This expansive area was a landscape full of so many versions of cacti…some were even purple!

Near the end of the Cactus and Succulent Garden we happened upon the South Texas trail. Here we found this adorable adobe house, more cacti, and an excellent area for bird watching. I have never seen so many cardinals in one spot!

The East Texas Pineywoods section of the gardens welcomed us with the amazing sculpture below. It was made in San Antonio specifically for the Botanical Garden, and it looked stunning reflecting all of the greenery and nature surrounding it. This section of the garden had a lake full of ducks, several tall trees, and a quaint log cabin with light streaming in.

The final section of the garden we visited was the Hill Country. It was wonderful to see signs of spring starting to pop up here and there. I cannot wait to visit again in the springtime when I’m sure this section will be brimming with wildflowers! Our walk through the Schumacher House confirmed that Louis would have been considered a giant in the past. ūüôā

We journeyed back towards the front of the garden, pausing to enjoy the tranquil Sacred Garden.

As you can see, the San Antonio Botanical Garden was already full of blooming tulips, colorful succulents, and more plants. I can only imagine how beautiful it will be in a few weeks when spring is in full swing!

If you’re looking for a fun, relaxing way to spend a day, I can’t recommend the San Antonio Botanical Garden enough! Have you ever visited? Did we miss any of your favorite parts?

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