Smile Brilliant! Professional Teeth Whitening | Review & Coupon Code!

File Mar 27, 12 04 26 PMRecently, I got the opportunity to try out a very useful product: at-home professional teeth whitening by “Smile Brilliant!” This system lets the customer create custom teeth trays for use with their teeth-whitening gel, using the same system that dentists use, but for much, much less money. The purchase of this product gives you all the tools you need to make your own dental impressions, plus three tubes of Teeth Whitening Gel and three tubes of Desensitizing Gel.

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Pros: This system definitely works, and fast. I noticed a difference after only three gel applications. Secondly, the trays don’t move at all, unlike many OTC whitestrips. You can talk normally, the gel doesn’t leak out, and it feels almost like you have just really smooth teeth. I kept running my tongue over my teeth cause it was just so smooth! Since the trays are made specifically for your teeth, they fit flawlessly. You could probably even wear them at work/school without anyone even noticing.

Using this system also means that you have the trays for life and can stop buying whitestrips and just keep buying Smile Brilliant gel (which I’m sure is part of the business model—guaranteed repeat customers because of the custom dental impressions). But really: it’s a great product to use.


A huge plus for me was the addition of “Desensitizing Gel,” which significantly reduces tooth sensitivity and strengthens your teeth after whitening, which can sometimes soften the tooth. Having this additional way to protect my teeth and ward against sensitivity makes this product unique, and makes me second-guess any system that does not account for tooth damage.

Another plus is how hard the employees care about educating you about the proper process for teeth whitening and what you can expect from the complete process. Many people aren’t aware that there are different natural shades of people’s teeth. Some people’s natural teeth shade is beige, not white. Therefore, a full whitening system won’t turn these people’s teeth white. It’s important to know that, since many assume that their teeth will be blinding white even though that’s not always possible. Continue reading…

Reading the novelizations of Star Wars has made me even more of a nerd…

…and it’s made me think about the limitations of two very different, yet constantly converging, types of media: book and film. Which is better? I have my own opinion (it’s books. It’s always books) but I was surprised by how much my own preference of books over movies was apparent when I read the original Star Wars trilogy for the first time.


I’ve been watching Star Wars since I was in the single digits. I grew up with it, and don’t remember a time when I didn’t love it. As I grew up, I took in the prequel trilogy and noticed its inferiority to the original trilogy, which was heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell’s theory of myth. So Star Wars has been a constant friend. I used to watch it every year when I took finals in high school and college because it provided perfect white noise for studying (I hated studying and Star Wars made me do it). I’m a vehement proponent of the release of the original unedited trilogy on DVD, and the recent transfer of power from George Lucas to Disney made me sigh one huge sigh of relief. I’m a decent-sized fan.

So I don’t know why I waited so long to read them in their novel forms, because reading them has made me love it even more. It has made me connect to the characters more than I have before, more than is possible (for me, perhaps) by watching them onscreen. So much is included in the books that isn’t possible to include in the movie, like the characters’ inner monologues and in-depth narration on the thoughts/feelings/perceptions of the characters. Han, Leia and Luke came vividly to life and added something extremely special to the story: my own interpretation.

This is the power of the written word. For the first time ever, I saw my own Leia. My own Luke and Han, as well. They’ve become both separate from the actors that play them yet they add to the films’ interpretation of them. Here are a couple examples of how an author’s narration can make a character leap off a page more than he/she can from a television screen:

About Leia:

Leia…thought of her experience in the forest earlier—her sense of oneness with the trees, whose outstretched limbs seemed to touch the very stars; the stars, whose light filtered down like cascading magic. She felt the power of the magic within her, and it resonated around the hut, from being to being, flowing through her again, making her stronger, still; until she felt one with these Ewoks, nearly—felt as if she understood them, knew them; conspired with them, in the primary sense of the word: they breathed together.

Han and Leia:

Han and Leia turned to each other full of feeling. All they’d struggled for, all they’d dreamed of—gone, now. Even so, they’d had each other for a short while at least. They’d come together from opposite ends of a wasteland of emotional isolation: Han had never known love, so enamored of himself was he; Leia had never known love, so wrapped up in social upheaval was she, so intent on embracing all of humanity. And somewhere between his glassy infatuation for the one, and her glowing fervor for the all, they’d found a shady place where two could huddle, grow, even feel nourished.

It was like I was seeing the story for the first time, with new eyes.

Now, let me clarify a couple points. This isn’t literature. The first novel, penned by George Lucas himself, is quite poorly written. The second is marginally better, and the third much improved (which I loved, considering my favorite movie is Return of the Jedi—please don’t egg my house, btw), but each one is not meant to be a novel alone, and the writing reflects that. Each one has major flaws as a novel, but as an accompaniment to the films, I’d argue that the novels are indispensable to the Star Wars experience. It’s not simply a conversion of script to prose, even though it’s somewhat straightforward. Rather, it’s a way to reinterpret, reimagine, reinvent your love for the films and make them your own. That’s books for ya. You’re the director. Have fun.

However—I miss that intro. Now THERE’S something a book just can’t duplicate…


I want rainbow hair…

In high school, I would dye little strands of hair pink or blue, or put in little extensions that gave my hair a pop of color and something more interesting than my usual brown. I’ve since fallen out of the habit of adding color to my hair, perhaps thankfully, but I want to bring it back in a big way. I stumbled upon a picture of “rainbow ombre” hair online and seriously fell in love. So I think it’s time for a fun, quasi-permanent hair change that will hopefully look something like this:


I never do anything even remotely interesting to my hair other than pin it back in a clip when it starts to bother me. I hardly do any hairstyles because I’m too lazy and because having my hair down and around my face is low-key and still looks good. So this new change is drastic but it’ll be fun! Afterward, or when the color begins to fade, I might just chop off the ombre and bob my hair, a la Bernice and Kendall Jenner.

What do you guys think?

images from Pinterest

Bookstore Hopping | McNally Jackson Books in New York

It’s been a WHILE since I’ve done these fun little bookstore spotlights, and it’s because I’ve been so busy with all of my three thousand jobs. Recently I had a day off so I hopped a 6 to Manhattan and did some exploring. I’ve been wanting to visit this bookstore, McNally Jackson, for a while, and I took the opportunity. It’s nestled on the corner of Mulberry and Prince Street in Soho/Nolita. The space is quite large inside, decorated cleanly with wood floors, wooden bookcases, meandering aisles, a lower level, and a wide selection that’s very well stocked. Plus: it has a full cafe and seating area with a menu that boasts a variety of coffee drinks, teas, and a good lunch menu. Noise level is perfect. Decor? Excellent. I’d highly recommend this place for two reasons: you’ll find the book you want (and then some) and you’ll have a nice time reading it in the cafe. I know I did.

Inside, the decor is rustic and features something that I absolutely adore: books on a stick. Skewered books hang from the ceiling above the cafe, something I officially disapprove of because books! but in reality it’s really awesome. The wallpaper in the cafe features images of book pages, just in case you forgot this is a real-deal bookstore. What’s also cool about the cafe is that they have banquettes set along the back wall with a retractable deskette that unfolds like a book, to hold your coffee of choice and perhaps a notebook. I went in here with some notes and set my coffee on this little wooden desk, and was at peace.

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I love the selection. They have art, design, architecture, photography, bargain books, an amazing Children’s Section (which too few bookstores have anymore, and which I love perusing), a huge History section, Mythology, and they do something really awesome with their literature: organize it by country. I love that, especially considering I was looking for Gogol and Dostoyevsky and found a neat little bookcase labeled RUSSIAN LITERATURE. Hey thanks, McJ.

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But the coolest bit of this bookstore is the Espresso Book Machine. Espresso. Book. Machine. They have their own freaking printing press, which they call the Espresso Book Machine because it prints books really fast. Get it? Eh? I love it. You can buy blank notebooks that have been freshly pressed and self-published works. Really cool.

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Address: 52 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

Go check it out.


Fashion | Wilderness

Separates. This outfit was almost accidental. The top was previously a dress that I cut in two because the hem was far too long. I asked my mom to hem the bottom of the newly-made “crop top” and then I paired it with this old Tobi skirt I forgot I had. Happy accident. These stockings have been in my wardrobe since 2009, and I think it’s time to retire them. They used to be my favorite. IMG_1038 IMG_1046 IMG_1064 IMG_1109 IMG_1143IMG_1060

DIY crop top previously a dress from, hat thrifted, skirt from Tobi, necklace from Forever 21

Harry Potter Book Lust | I need these very soon…

I’m the girl who went to the Leavesden Studios Harry Potter Studio Tour, the New York Harry Potter Exhibit, a half dozen midnight premieres and book releases, and the Harry Potter theme park the year it opened. It’s safe to say I’m an enthusiastic Harry Potter fan. These two books are a must-have for me: JK Rowling: A Bibliography and Harry Potter: Film Wizardry.


JK Rowling: A Bibliography, is an exhaustively detailed chronicle of everything Jo has ever written, from books to pamphlets to her Sunday supermarket lists. Here’s what it says on the back cover:

This is the definitive bibliography of the writings of J. K. Rowling. In addition to complete bibliographic details of each edition of all her books, pamphlets and original contributions to published works, there is detailed information on the publishing history of her work, including fascinating extracts from correspondence, and information on Rowling at auction. This will be the first source on Rowling consulted by textual scholars, book dealers and collectors, auction houses, critics and researchers. The aim of the book is to record fact and dispel rumour on the fascinating publishing history of the Harry Potter series.

And Jo herself said, “As someone who respects comprehensive research, I am in awe of the level of detail and amount of time Philip Errington has dedicated to this slavishly thorough and somewhat mind-boggling bibliography.”

It may not be a gripping read, but just like any avid and slightly insane collector, I have to own it. The down side? It’s freaking $130. Is it my birthday yet?

The second book on my must-must-buy list is the much more fun and interactive Harry Potter: Film Wizardry, a beautiful glossy book which includes details on the props and production, interviews with the cast, and “removable extras,” i.e. things like Harry’s letter from Hogwarts. Need this.

From the Amazon page:

Harry Potter: Film Wizardry Revised and Expanded gives readers a front row seat to the magical journey that brought J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world to the big screen. Step off Platform Nine and Three Quarters and into the hidden world behind the scenes of the Harry Potter film series as Brian Sibley, author of The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy, The Land of Narnia, and other bestselling behind-the-screen books, makes the magic more real than ever with stunning art, removable extras, a new Harry Potter photo album, and interviews with director David Yates; actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman; and other members of the cast, crew, design and production teams.

Yes, please, all of it. And inside:


The perfect addition to my already overflowing collection of Harry Potter crap. Love it.

last photo links to source, book covers from Goodreads

Spring Style | Neutrals

This seasons I’m really gravitating toward peach, white, nude, taupe, and everything else with only a little smidgen of color, which is a huge departure from my usual jewel-toned closet. I’m also loving these loose yet structured pieces and these mule-ish shoes, which I used to hate. So, hey! Evolution—of style.  ;)

Here’s what’s on my spring shopping list, culled from Choies, Boohoo and Forever 21. Links on my Polyvore.

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What are you into this spring?