How I'm Keeping My Smile Brilliant

When I decided to add a Beauty column to Oui We I made a commitment to you guys (and myself) that I'd share rituals and routines that are working for me and products that are making a difference for me, as well.

Like so many of us paying attention to what's happening in beauty and wellness one of the things that's been showing up differently for me is how I approach getting ready in the morning. I was once a self proclaimed black eye liner junkie - like I wouldn't leave the house without a heavy handed cat eye application. I have a signature lip color that I've worn forever too and without those two things I didn't feel fully put together. As I'm getting older caring for my skin has become more important than ever (and honestly I've always had a holistic approach to skincare) and recently my smile, including my teeth, have been an area of focus. 

I was having a convo with a friend the other day about how when we were growing up the style and beauty idols were girls like Kate Moss (cigarette in hand - although I personally never smoked, plus greasy hair and late night partying  - I did have those things in my life - went along with it). However, now girls like Amanda Chantal Bacon of Moon Juice, are getting adoration from the masses - beauty fanatics, wellness gurus and fashionistas too. If there's something that's important to me now versus then it's this:

I want glowing skin, bright shiny eyes, and a naturally healthy smile

So that means I'm often foregoing the cat eye makeup and focusing on skin care, oral care and getting plenty of sleep. A few months back I connected with Smile Brilliant. After pricing out treatments with my dentist's office I decided I'd rather go with an at home whitening treatment and to be honest, I'm kind of terrified of the dentist and only like to go for cleanings. Smile Brilliant offered to send me the system in exchange for sharing my thoughts with you all! I was more than happy to do it. 

Here's my experience with an at home Whitening Kit. At Home Teeth Whitening Kit

The process was easy. I got an email first from the team letting me know that my custom tray kit was on it's way. When I received it the instructions gave me all the details I needed to make the molds of my teeth. I sent off my molds and within a week or so I received my clear trays custom fit to my mouth. 

Clear Trays Smile Brilliant

Here's the nightly steps from there:

1. Brush your teeth (with no tooth paste) to prepare your mouth for treatment. Fill up your tray with the whitening gel and leave it on about 20 minutes or so. The information packet I received warned to be mindful of sensitivity and to work my way into leaving it on longer. Honestly, I used the product every other night for the first week and the sensitivity wasn't unbearable at all. I saw results within those first few days. 

2. Once the trays are on find something to do for the time they are on, it's not the most comfortable thing in the world, but it's really not bad either. I decided to do a 20 minute meditation and that helped pass the time. 

3. Rinse and brush again (with toothpaste this time). 

4. Apply the trays again, this time filled with the Desensitizing Gel. This time you can leave on for 10 minutes or so. 

5. Rinse and then go to sleep and let the gel settle in. 

In the morning when I get up I can't feel a thing from the treatment the night before. 

The kit contains close to 20 applications and after I did the first several weeks (like 3-4 times a week) I've got plenty of gel remaining to do weekly maintenance now. 

I'll be posting again to share those results, but in the meantime, as a coffee drinking (and wine drinker too) girl that's counting my smile health as a big part of my beauty routine I'm so glad to have found this product!

Want to win your own kit? Enter to win via the Giveaway link. Winner will be announced at the end of April! 

Want to go ahead and buy now? Use the code ouiwegirl for 10% off. 

 

In the meantime, scroll through to see a few other products I'm loving!

xoxo,

Andi

This post was compensated in partnership with FiftyTwo45 in exchange for my honest review and feedback. As always, I'll only accept compensation from brands I feel truly stellar about. 

Probiotics: A Spring Celebration Recipe

Spring Celebration Vintage.jpg

Good morning and happy March!

First! It's the day after Mardi Gras. And in days of past that would mean I'd be going on a serious cleanse or detox plan to combat all of the sugar fueled foods and drinks I'd consumed over the past several weeks.

This year, however, is different. I've been at our home in Nashville quite a bit, and traveling still too. 

In Nashville the weather is still fluxing between grey cold winter vibes and hints of sunshine on occasion, and even last week in Los Angeles temperatures were cooler than I've ever experienced there. Soon, however, Spring will be here. And for a sunshine loving girl, it couldn't come soon enough. (YAY!) After days of travel and a pretty serious halt in my usual self care routine I'm committed to re-upping my health game this week. 

Sugar filled foods, blasting heat, moisture sucking air travel... I've had a case of it all.

(Must I remind you of that king cake that's been on repeat at my house. Le sigh!).

If you're in the same boat and feeling like your skin is showing it, I find the fastest way to recover that healthy glow is by working nutrient rich, probiotic filled foods and drinks into the daily routine. You'd have to truly be living under a rock to have not heard of the benefits of probiotics to your over all well-being. Probiotics are the "good" kind of bacteria that help maintain total body wellness - however while you might know that probiotics keep the gut healthy they're also effective in improving our skin health. (HANDS UP!)

Oui We x Jimani Collections 5.jpg

I honestly hear girlfriends of mine talking regularly about the topical products they're using to care for their skin. In the meantime, the wellness world is sharing more and more about the importance of what you eat and drink in regards to how your skin looks. I'm a serious advocate for considering what you're ingesting (green smoothie obsession over here) when it comes to your outer glow. However, if you're out on the road like I am so often, and skipping a day of smoothies here and there, my recommendation is to consume lots of leafy greens (challenge yourself to adding kale to every meal, and minimally order a salad when all else fails) and add probiotic rich foods to that.

Here's a list of 5 probiotic rich foods that are easy to find anywhere:

  • Yogurt
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Miso Soup
  • Pickles
  • Tempeh

Each of these foods are quick menu additions and things that, as a traveler, I can get anywhere.

Want to know a little more about how it works?

A way probiotics support skin health is by aiding our natural moisture levels through the production of hyaluronic acid. HA is a "natural substance our body produces and is a major contributor to the elasticity, tightness, and strength of our skin."

According to Dr. Roshini Raj of Mind Body Green "probiotics strengthen our skin so that it can act as a physical barrier to the negative effects of winter by keeping out pathogens, bad bacteria, pollution, and other toxins."

I definitely need all of that. Count me in.

And, because, hey, I am from New Orleans and even though Mardi Gras is over we still have the oncoming Spring days to celebrate (and c'mon! cocktails are a serious part of my culture) I've got a fun little probiotic cocktail recipe for you too!

Pomegranate Blueberry Probiotic Mimosas

Add the bubbles to a large pitcher first, and then top with the OJ and stir. From there, add the berries, pomegranate and orange slices. Mix in the ACV, squeeze a bit of lemon and garnish each drink with a dash of cayenne. If you're not an OJ lover you can sub in Indian River Select Brand Prohealthy Blend Grapefruit Juice.

The ACV increases nutrient absorption, reduces water retention and has antioxidant properties. 

The Indian River juices (both are available in 1 liter bottles at Harris Teeter) are non GMO and have GanedenBC30® Probiotic. I'm also stocking the 59oz grapefruit and 1 liter OJ on my brunch bar for this recipe this coming weekend (good to have extra for those that want several rounds of mimosas)!

I hope these beauty tips have been helpful to you guys. I'm seriously committed to living my healthiest life, while having a bit of fun along the way! Btw - send your ideas my way. I love hearing from you.

Here's a few probiotic skin care products I'm testing out too. 

Enjoy the coming Spring days you guys. I'll see you outside!

Wanderfully yours,

Andi

This post is in partnership with Indian River Select Brand. As always, creative direction and content is my own. 

Feeling

It's Saturday morning and I'm feeling. 

Truly, I was thinking, how do I open this little post? I woke up early, the sun is shining, I blended up a green smoothie and sat down to think. 

I used to write about feeling a lot. Well in some regard. Often it was more under the guise of creative writing, a strange poetic self expression, but truly, that's how I got all the stuff out of my head. 

All Illustrations: Kathrin Honesta

All Illustrations: Kathrin Honesta

A few years ago I wrote a little piece about New Year's reflections. I noted my intention to:

Reflect deeply * Create resolve * Be resolute

I continued:  

"All of those things seem like great starts to me, however "reflecting" is really my term for a momentary breakdown. And for the most part I don't think a little breakdown is a bad thing. When those breakdowns show up for me the fastest way to move past them is to take that same part of my brain that's making me feel a little crazy and engage it in something beautiful."

Since then I've expanded on that strategy. 

Backing up: I attended a series of workshops last year - the content was specific to creating your own future... how to live an extraordinary life... things of that sort of subject matter. It was a bit out there. However, it took. In that, I made a conscious decision to avoid placing blame... to stay out of word battles, to understand the stories we tell ourselves, and to take personal responsibility and move along.

Illustration: Kathrin Honesta

Illustration: Kathrin Honesta

Those workshops changed my brain. Why am I sharing this? In the state of the world right now we're all being slammed. There's no getting around it. 

And, sometimes it feels literally so...

 with messages and blasts that perhaps are intended to tumble into the abyss but instead land on us, it can be extraordinarily painful.

My Grandfather (in an email to me yesterday put it this way):

The phases we recently heard “America First” or “Lock Her Up” repeated do not reveal the personal concerns of the shouter. It also gives the utterer group (crowd/mob) protection. An open discussion within a closed group in most instances is a learning opportunity. You can ask why they feel that way. Often times that moves them from the three or four word political slogans to how they personally are concerned. They may disclose why they are afraid of impending change.  

I'd written to him to ask his advice. It was sparked from the same situation that many of us are likely experiencing. It was this: 

(and I'll preface - I am not someone that likes to get into controversial conversations on the internet... definitely not on Facebook, nor on Twitter or Instagram either. Those of you guys that have been in this space with me for a while likely know that about me.)

Lately, I've shared some things, with an intention of keeping the messages love filled... for example, I shared a piece on how to help the Native Americans out at Standing Rock, and I shared how to dial a senator if you're upset about a Presidential appointee...

And even in those cases - there's a few folks that come out of the woodwork to digital media "yell". 

You know it: lots of "!!!" or maybe it's a "???" and all caps - they're demanding that you listen to them.

The thing that happened felt strange. I didn't realize I was asking for an internet argument. We're all seeing this happen over and over again right? Two of my closest people have decided to delete Facebook because of it. 

I have a family member that distanced themselves from me years and years ago. It hurt tremendously then, however I became stronger for it. A few holiday seasons ago we reconnected for the first time in 5 + years and it's been a slow walk back to a relationship.

However, lately, she's engaging with me on the internet. And it's not what she's saying that hurts, it's what she's not saying. It's the fact that she's not interested in other parts of my life... my work, my friends, my dreams and goals ... I'm not even sure she knows what I do for a living or that I moved 6 months ago... she's never met my partner of 2 years... So whyyyyy in the world does she care to talk to me about this stuff? That's what feels bad.

I invited her to an "off line" conversation (as I often do)... She still wasn't interested in sharing our lives, just in making sure I understand her views. Alas. 

Here's a quote from John Wooden: "surround yourself with smart people who'll argue with you."  I've been thinking about this a bit differently: how about surrounding yourself with great reads from the minds of people that did just that type of arguing but in a respectful way. Or, have a dinner party with folks of a variety of mindsets with active conversation that is born from a commitment of care for those within the conversation. 

I share all of that with you guys because it's on us to create those conversations and connections that boost our empathy and personal well-being. 

Illustration: Kathrin Honesta

Illustration: Kathrin Honesta

I also share it as a reminder - let's be mindful in our communication. We're all feeling what's happening in the world, and for most of us it feels awful. However, yelling into the internet ether likely won't create compassion.

Btw - I included this post in the "Beauty" column of Oui We because, truly, if we aren't feeling our best, and aren't taking good care of each other, we can't be our most beautiful selves. 

Ok, moving along. I've got book edits to attend to, and Ben and I are going for a jog (a new thing we're doing, cheer me on pleeaaasssseeee.)

Let me know what you think about all of this. How are you coping? Who's inspiring you to keep your sanity in check? 

Much love you guys. 

As always...

Wanderfully yours,

Andi

opening photo by Ben Alleman, shot in 35mm

p.s. all Illustrations featured are the work of artist Kathrin Honesta. More of her work is here