Custom Teeth Whitening for my Complicated Smile

DISCLOSURE: I partnered with Smile Brilliant and received a complimentary whitening kit in exchange for this review. As always, my thoughts are my own. Please be sure to enter the giveaway (details at the bottom of this post)! ~halitrax

I have a complicated relationship with my smile. Firstly, because it’s taken some real work to get it as straight and sparkling as it is now. I was that awkward pre-teen with braces, retainer, and -yes- even headgear. Puberty was rough, friends. Toss in a sprinkling of other orthodontia-related issues, extractions, and whatnot, I’ve put in the hard time to straighten out my chompers.

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12 years old with a mouth full of metal.

Secondly, though, is the psychological relationship I have with my smile. My smile is my favourite feature. I love it and I love to share it freely. For years and years, it was my go-to expression (and, honestly, it still is). I have a smile for every emotion; I have a pleasant smile, a friendly smile, an awkward nervous smile, a sad smile, and even a RAGE smile. (My dearest friends can attest to this and have learned to decipher which smiles are which.)

It wasn’t until my 20s when I started to get more protective of my smile, and with whom I would share it. I’ll admit it: I lost some of my happy naivety as I aged. Like so many women, we begin to open our eyes a bit more to social injustices, to recognize how we’re socialized to be pleasant and amenable – to smile and obey and not ask questions. Enter feminism.

I learned, and am continuing to learn, that it’s okay to vocalize my opinions – even when they’re unpopular. I’m allowed to take up space and don’t have to step aside for a man in a “hurry.” I can say “no thank you” without accompanying it with an apology.

Most importantly, I learned that I don’t have to smile and be happy if it’s inauthentic.

My smile is for me.

And you know what? Knowing that makes me a happier person.

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Photo Michelle Doucette Photography.

Now when I share my smile, it’s not out of perceived obligation to be friendly, it’s because I want to and, mostly, I want to share it with everyone. (Feminists are happy, smiley, friendly people too you know!)

Because you’re never fully dressed without a smile…

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When Smile Brilliant approached me to partner for a product trial and giveaway, I was more than excited to embrace the opportunity. I’m so precious about my smile and love knowing that it’s shining bright when I flash my pearly whites.

Of course, after years of dental work the first thing I did before I started the Smile Brilliant kit was talk to my dentist and hygienist. They took a close look at the ingredients in the kit and then gave me the green light to start the whitening process. I was reassured that the Smile Brilliant teeth whitening trays use the exact same ingredients that my dentist would use for a professional whitening – except that Smile Brilliant allows us to whiten from the comfort of our homes and for a fraction of the cost.

The Selfie Smile Scale

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These pictures show how the Smile Brilliant process can have as subtle or as dramatic a change as you would like, depending on how many sessions you choose. From left to right these show my smile before I started to whiten, during the whitening process, and at the end. The picture on the right was taken last week when I was in Manitoba.

My second concern was about my sensitive teeth. Fortunately, Smile Brilliant also has an option just for folks like me, to pair with sensitive teeth!

Check out this video to watch how easy the process is:

So, do you want to try Smile Brilliant out for yourself? 

Click here to enter a DRAW to WIN $139 store credit for Smile Brilliant whitening trays.

The contest will be open until June 7th, 2017 and is open to Canada, USA, UK, and Australia. In the meantime, you can also get 5% off your Smile Brilliant purchase with the coupon code HALITRAX5.

#Smile Fearlessly

Unhelpful Recipes: What the Heck is a Fiddlehead?

This post is part of the ECM Fiddlehead Bloggers Hop! Be sure to check out the other fab posts on Fiddleheads from some other local bloggers.

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Until I moved to Atlantic Canada, I had never heard tell of a Fiddlehead – with the exception, of course, of the genuine article that’s found at the top of a violin. Typical Ontarian, eh? That first spring of my residence in New Brunswick, I began to see them around the Farmer’s Market and at the grocery store. Curious, I began to probe…

For those of you who have also been in the dark on this weird and delicious springtime green, a Fiddlehead is actually a type of fern. They’re only delicious while they’re young and curled so the window of the season is quite short. Sometimes you can spot them in the forest – but definitely wait until you get home to properly clean and cook them before eating.

Personally, I was taught all this great info within seconds of asking “What the heck is a fiddlehead?!” It seems my Maritime friends were eager to share in the secret delicacy. What I didn’t expect was to open up a great debate on the best way to devour these delicious green morsels. I’ve discovered that there are two schools of thought on the matter: Team “Butter is Better” vs Team “Tart and Tangy.”

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Edit: This picture is NOT an example of the genuine fiddleheads that are safe to eat. True fiddleheads are covered in a brown paperlike coating and are never fuzzy even as they grow. Shoutout to reader Rhonda for the wisdom that only a Maritimer would know!

Since, as you well know, I’m not really here to be of any help to any of you in this arena, I’ll just give you the two unhelpful recipes and let you make up your own minds.

Team Butter is Better

  1. Thoroughly rinse and drain fiddleheads. You’ll want to make sure you pull off the brown/white papery sheath to reveal just a fresh, green curl.
  2. Steam in vegetable steamer or over shallow boiling water.
  3. Toss with copious amounts of butter.
  4. Serve.

Team Tart and Tangy

  1. See above.
  2. See above.
  3. Drip on a vinegar of your choice. Personally, I like a nice balsamic but cider vinegar also works well in this context. But I’m not your mother. Use whatever vinegar you want.
  4. Serve.

I have to admit it: Fiddleheads are delicious either way (and many other, more complicated ways) but I’m definitely team Butter is Better. Butter forever! Butter for all! You might even want to add a wee sprinkle of parmesan, if you’re so inclined.

If you don’t like either suggestions, that’s fine too. As I mentioned at the top of this post, I’m participating in the ECM blog hop, providing links to some other amazing local bloggers who will probably have much more detailed and helpful guides on how to prepare these curly tendrils. But we both know that’s not going to happen here on this blog.

Happy fiddleheading!

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The Electric Connections at BConnected

It’s only been one week since the BConnected conference for bloggers and influencers took place in Toronto but I feel like I’ve been fuelled up with enough energy to carry my blogging efforts forward for so much time to come.

My first year (and, unfortunately, last as the conference won’t be hosted again) at BConnected and I was fortunate to attend with my business besties and BlogJam Atlantic Co-Directors, Renee and Kerra. You know we know a thing or two about blogging conferences so I would say the three of us are well positioned to offer a critique. The fact is, it was positively electric – we all agreed.

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Photo credit: http://www.mostafaphotography.net

A First Time for Everything

While I’ve done a few sponsored posts and reviews here on the blog, I’ve never actually done a face-to-face pitch. I can’t say I wasn’t nervous but BConnected had arranged a “Speed Networking” session that had participants bouncing around with sponsors to exchange contact info, give their pitch, and hopefully develop some lucrative or lasting partnerships. I arrived with my secret weapons: a new business card and a new media kit to help me build my case and I left feeling good about the opportunity to share my blogging story.

Connecting Locally

We BlogJammers wanted to hit up Toronto fully representing our Atlantic Canada home base. We were generously provided these adorable tote bags by Made in the Maritimes and outfitted with fantastic shirts from My Home Apparel. How awesome do we look all matchy matchy and ready for some conferencing?

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Photo credit: http://www.mostafaphotography.net

The Blogging Community

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a sense of community is always what I’m striving to discover, achieve, build, or maintain. BConnected did a great job of uniting the community of all us weirdos who just CAN’T GET ENOUGH BLOGGING. Plus, these are the kind of events where no one minds if you have your phone out the whole time or if you need to just take a quick selfie.

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Photo credit: http://www.mostafaphotography.net

Inspired to Action

All the speakers did an excellent job of addressing some of the frequently asked questions and issues that arise in the world of social media and blogging, but I did have a few favourites. In particular, I enjoyed the update from Richard Archambault on Jetpack (because WordPress forever, duh!), the girl power of the dynamic duo that is Wholly Art (wee published authors!), and Erica Ehm (obvi) – in particular because I had nary a hot second to enjoy her session at BlogJam 2016 so it was a nice change of pace to be able to actually stay seated and hear what she had to say.

Overall it was an excellent, dynamic conference and I’ll be working to implement all my newfound knowledge to improve this old chestnut.

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Thanks and congratulations to Lyne and Sandi for a great event! Can’t wait to see you in Halifax this fall!

~Krista @halitrax