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Posts Tagged ‘Health + Beauty’

July 11, 2014

Friday Favorites #45: Beach Essentials

Good Morning, and Happy Friday!

I’m so happy the weekend is (almost) here. Scott is gone until Sunday, so the idea for a girls’ getaway couldn’t have come at a better time.

Around 4 p.m., my best friend Alex is picking me up to join a few of her other friends from her work at her family’s cottage in Northern Michigan for a couple of days!

We have big plans of doing as little as possible, after we stop into Traverse City tonight for dinner. There’s also a Cherry Festival going on that we might check out! Whatever we end up doing, I’m looking forward to spending it with great company and little technology.

But before I get too excited, there’s a Friday Favorites party to host!

And since I did a little bargain beach shopping for our time at the lake this weekend, I thought it would be fun to share some of my beach essentials and make it a themed #FFavorites today.

As always, I invite you to share some of your favorites, or even some of your favorite beach essentials in the comment and link up sections!

Friday Favorites #45: Week of 7/11 – Beach Essentials

Friday Favorites Button Housewife Glamour

• striped bikini

I stumbled upon this subtly sequined Sperry Top-Sider bikini at TJMaxx a few weeks ago. It caught my eye right away, but I decided to hold off on purchasing it that shopping trip and told myself I would only buy it if my size was still around on my next trip in.

Last night, I went in looking for it and there was only one left… in my size. Totally meant to be!

Sperry Top Side swim suit from TJMaxx

Who knew Sperry makes adorable swimwear?

I’m kind of obsessed with it, and after searching online, I realized it’s not easy to find. There’s a similar one on the Sperry website, but it’s only available in army green and coral for much, much more. (Similar, similar, similar)

This navy and white set cost a grand total of $34, which made me a very happy girl!

• maxi dresses

Speaking of TJMaxx, I also picked up this Cross Back Max Studio maxi dress on my way up to the register.

Max Studio maxidress

I first noticed the unique detail on the front, but fell in love with it when I saw the back along with the $29 price tag!

Max Studio maxi dress back detail

I have absolutely been loving maxi dresses this year, and especially this summer. They are unbelievably comfortable and can be dressed up or down to wear the whole day. Perfect for a weekend at the beach!

• sunscreen

The older I get, the more I value a good bottle of sunscreen.

I haven’t tried any of these yet, but I saw the bottles of Yes To and Neutrogena body sunscreen at Five Below and knew they belonged in my basket.

Yes To and Neutrogena sunscreen

I received the Yes To Cucumbers Natural Sunscreen Stick a few months ago in a care package from the company and can’t wait to test them all out!

I’ll be sure to share my thoughts, but I have a feeling they will be placed in the repeat category. I’ve loved all the Yes To Cucumber products I’ve tried so far. Especially the facial towelettes!

• floppy straw hat

Speaking of Five Below, that is another store I really can’t get enough of. I have been in need of a floppy straw hat to protect my face from the sun on beach days for years and finally found one right under my nose for $5!

Floppy Straw Hat from Five below

It might not be the best quality out there, but it’s sure to do the trick this weekend! #fivedollasmakesmeholla

• comfy cover up

As easy as a pair of jean shorts and tank can be to throw on over a bathing suit, a simple beach cover up is that much easier.

beach cover up

I also purchased this Cythia Rowley number at TJMaxx (shocker) and can’t wait to finally put it to use this weekend. I love the long sleeves and light sweater-like material!

It’s hard to find similar versions online, but I feel like they’re everywhere in stores like Target, Kohl’s, and Nordstrom Rack!

• sunglasses

Obviously, a weekend in the sun calls for sunglasses.

coach aviator sunglasses

I plan to rock these Coach Kristina Sunglasses I picked up in Florida back in March the whole time!

If you don’t want to bring your everyday or nicer pair, pack a pair of cheaper ones you wouldn’t mind scratching up a bit.

Beach Sunglasses

Both of these were picked up at an accessories store (Claire’s maybe?) years ago and are easy to toss into bags without thinking twice about.

• flip flops you don’t care about

Echoing off of the sunglasses statement above, I’m only bringing sandals I don’t care to get sand on.

Old Navy filp flips - 2 for $5

These Old Navy flip flops are well broken in by now, but I didn’t feel a need to take a newer photo of the same pair. Two for $5 = a ton of messes I could get myself into with zero cares!

• beach bag

My final Five Below find this week was this rope handle tote bag! I absolutely adore the style and would have paid a lot more for it.

Five Below beach bag

As many bags as I have seemed to acquire, I have been lacking in adding an “okay to drop in the sand” tote bag to the collection.

It’s great to have a throw-everything type of bag you don’t care about getting dirty that is big enough to fit more than a beach towel and sunglasses into.

Keep a look out, you just never know where you might find a similar tote!

• lip balm

Inside of my beach bag, there will definitely be a lip balm or two. My lips always seemed to get chapped out in the sun!

The number one lip balm I have been turning to for years is eos. They come in all kinds of flavors these days, and I recently picked up a new Summer Fruit and Honeysuckle Honeydew.

EOS lip balm chap stick

These balms are definitely favorite-worthy for being 95% organic, 100% natural, and paraben and petroleum free.

• reading material

Also packed in my beach bag are those magazines I didn’t get around to reading last weekend.

reading material for the beach

I’m still not sure if I’ll get to them with a group of girls surrounding me, but it’s comforting to know they’ll be there just in case!

• healthy snacks + water bottle

Besides the obvious beach towels addition, there will also be plenty to snacks on top of them in order to avoid eating whatever might be convenient elsewhere in between meals.

healthy snacks for the beach

Protein bars, fruit, baked snacks and almond mixes are great choices that won’t make you feel bloated in your bikini. Pictured above is my red, white, and blue summer mix I’ve been constantly carrying around.

And most importantly, don’t forget to hydrate! Bringing your own water bottle (<- best one I’ve ever invested in) is an easy way to remind yourself to drink more. When it’s out, find a water fountain or restaurant near by to refill it and keep you cool!

• vitamins to-go

This might not seem necessary for a day at the beach, but since I’m going for multiple days I am bringing some extra Vitamin C with me!

Emergen-C vitamin packet

Emergen-C is a vitamin mix powder you combine with a small amout of water that you probably already read about here on HWG Wednesday. I have been using the packets for years and can’t urge you to give them a try yourself!

If you need some help, be sure to enter the Emergen-C giveaway currently going on. Three months for free, ya’ll!

Your Turn


Housewife Glamour

Have a great weekend and I’ll see ya Monday!

April 15, 2014

Easy, Every Day Teeth Whitening

Hello, hello! Although I am well aware that it is Tuesday, today kicks off an exciting series on the blog I deemed Beauty Week.

For the remainder of the week, my afternoon posts will answer specific questions I have received from you guys about beauty tips and tricks.

First up, I am revamping one of my very first non-wedding related blog posts. I have kept it up for reference since I wrote it back in 2011, but figured it was time to spruce up the information and make it a little easier to follow.

Here, friends, are my go-to products and strategies of getting and maintaining a sparkling white smile!

Easy, Every Day Teeth Whitening Routine

We all brush (and hopefully floss!) our teeth every single day.

We all buy products to keep our mouths and dentists happy, and here is the routine I keep up with on an every day basis to achieve the healthiest, pearliest whites I can get!

every day easy teeth whitening routine


1. Listerine Whitening Rinse

(This is – hands down – my favorite whitening product out there!)

I have always turned to Listerine and rotate a few different versions, including a regular strength, Multi-Action Vibrant White (for extra whitening) and a Whitening + Restoring with Fluoride (pictured).

I used to only buy the Pre-Brush version, but have mixed it up with others over the years. I do, however, gravitate towards using it before I brush anyways. I love the way it gets rid of that first layer of who knows what after you wake up in the mornings!

Simply use this rinse for 60 seconds, at least once a day but no more than twice a day. Since I started using this rinse over eight years ago, I can’t go more than a few days without it and even bring a travel version with me on trips longer than a weekend.

2. Vibrating Toothbrush

Having a toothbrush with a built in vibrating motion really helps you get into all of the tiny spaces in-between your teeth, on your gum line and even on your tongue. There are a lot of fancy electric toothbrushes out there with replaceable heads and different speeds equipped with a rechargeable battery.

Personally, I prefer the disposable version of the electric toothbrush because of the medium brush size, versus the usual small circle pattern of brushes on most. They come in single or value-double packs and I like that I have to replace it when the battery runs out, which helps me stay fresh and fight even more germs.

I’ve tried a lot of different brands and sizes over the years, and the Oral-B Pulsar is what I consistently turn to.

3. Whitening Toothpaste

I always try to go for a whitening toothpaste. Recently, I’ve been loving the Crest Complete Whitening + Scope flavor, and it feels a little more gentle.

I know I am not a dentist, but I would recommend getting a Complete or Pro-Health version of your whitening toothpaste if you decide to go that route. Whitening is great, but having an all around health focused toothpaste protects against tooth sensitivity and helps fight tartar, plaque, stains, gingivitis and bad breath.

4. Floss

Believe it or not, flossing every day can do more than just keep your gums happy. Removing excess build up every night also prevents stains and tartar build up!

I prefer to use some kind of Pro-Health thick, coated floss that feels more comfortable weaving in and out of the hard spots.

5. Soft Picks

Thanks to a dinner date with a friend, I discovered these GUM soft picks made to keep your teeth clean after meals and in-between brushes.

I love the travel case they come with and always have them accessible and in my purse.

Stain Preventing Tips + Tricks

• Try to limit the intake of dark liquids and staining foods.

I said try. It’s no secret that I am an avid coffee, tea, and red wine drinker, and I know those beverages are the biggest culprits of my teeth fading. When drinking, try to be conscious of where it touches and if you can, brush or at least rinse your mouth with water afterwards.

• Drink through a straw.

It may look silly, but if you can drink those teeth staining beverages through a straw, go for it.

coffee through a straw

No one will judge you while you are at home or in the car enjoying your morning cup through a straw.

• Brush your tongue!

Do you brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth? If your answer is no, why not? Not only will it keep your breath fresh, but it will also rid your mouth of extra bacteria that happens to be lingering.

• Drink plenty of water.

I admit that I have a water problem. I drink it all day long, and as a result have to visit the potty quite often. But you know what? That’s a small price to pay for staying hydrated.

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will keep help keep your skin clear and your saliva production up, which coats your teeth.

fitness water bottles

Also, if I just finished eating something sticky (candy) or crumby, I’ll do a good few swishes while I’m drinking it.

• Chew sugar-free gum after meals.

I don’t always chew gum, but when I do I make sure to buy a sugar-free, whitening pack. Trident White is my favorite, and I have to admit that my mouth always feels minty and fresh after a few minutes of chewing!

Teeth Whitening + Bleaching

A few months ago, I mentioned that I received an at-home whitening kit from my dentist as part of a new costumer package.

Since I am good at staying on top of my every day whitening habits, I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to purchase a whitening kit, but since the cost was covered I gave it a try.

poladay whitening kit from dentist

The kit is from the Pola line, an advanced tooth whitening system.

The package from my dentist included a full Poladay package with four hydrogen peroxide gels, as well as customized whitening trays made from my teeth mold.

teeth whitening trays

You don’t have to be that fancy, and can find easy fit mouth whitening trays in most drugstores as well as on Amazon.

Inside the box was four gel syringes as well as a whitening tooth scale.

poladay teeth whitening kit

Besides the trays, all you really need is the whitening gel, which you can purchase refills for online for much cheaper.

My dentist recommended using the trays for 7-10 consecutive days, thirty minutes each night. The box tells you to only use the gel for a few minutes at a time, which is a total scam. Coming directly from my dentist: “They only tell you three minutes versus thirty so you have to purchase refill gels more frequently.”

After seven nights of using the trays, my teeth started feeling sensitive, so I stopped there. I also came close to running out of gel and went ahead and ordered more for future treatments.

poladay polanight whitening gel refills

Do I think it did a world of difference? Possibly. Here are two shots of me mid-way and all the way through the treatment.

teeth whitening photos

I failed you by not taking a before photo, but the biggest difference I noticed was around my gum lines. By the time I finished the process, my teeth were closer to all the same color, rather than more discolored closer to the gums.

Now that I have it, I plan to do the gel treatment a couple times a year.

Besides the kit pictured above, the only other whitening treatment I have done was ZOOM whitening at a dentist office back in 2008.

The process took a little over an hour and I went through three different treatments, twenty minutes each. It didn’t really hurt, but with each treatment my teeth became a little more sensitive, and by the third one I was really feeling it. But, I got through it an by the end of the visit I had noticeably whiter teeth.

In-office treatments, like ZOOM are said to last up to six months. In-office whitening treatments have a national average of costing $650, and professionally dispensed take-home whitening kits from the dentist office average anywhere from $100 – $400. Yeesh.

For this reason, I created and turn to my easy, every day whitening routine you see above. I hope this helps!

Question of the Day

• Do you do anything special to keep your teeth healthy and sparkling?

I’m sure we would all love to hear more tips and tricks in the comments section below!

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Although I am a certified personal trainer, the workouts I post are what work best for me and might not be the right type of exercises for you.



I am not a registered dietician and do NOT post everything I eat. All content I post on this blog stems from my personal experience and knowledge, and I recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making changes to your diet or fitness routine.



Also, please understand that affiliate links may pop up on the blog from time to time. I acknowledge when they appear and always genuinely appreciate your support! ♥



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