Thursday, July 30, 2015

Smile Brilliant review…

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Teeth are a pretty big deal for me.  Especially after all the pain I've gone through for their sake.  Ok, I'll admit it… I used to have a grey tooth, a giant gap between my front teeth, one heck of a wicked overbite, and all sorts of zig-zagged bottom teeth.  I got braces on in 4th grade and off in 6th grade.  I had my teeth shaved down because they were massive.  I got braces back on in high school because my lower teeth refused to stay in place.  And when all of that was done, I wanted them to be sparkly white. 

I've used whitening toothpastes, mouth washes, and quite a lot of Whitestrips, so I was pretty thrilled when I received an email from Smile Brilliant, asking me to try out their whitening system.  I jumped at the chance and am glad that I did!  They have an easy process and were wonderful in working with me even though I am overseas and was traveling around quite a bit!  Here's a quick rundown on the way Smile Brillant works: 

1)  I received a "Tray Creation Kit."  This kit included desensitizing gel, whitening gel, some molds, and pastes to create my molds. 

2) I created my molds.  Sounds scary, but was totally simple.  Just mix one container of base paste and one container of catalyst paste (feels like putty), smush down into the blue molds, place the molds in the mouth, pop them out, let them harden, wash 'em and toss 'em into the pre-paid envelope back to Smile Brilliant to be turned into whitening trays. 

3)  Trays arrive!  Weeeeee!  Since I was putting this post together, I also received my finished molds back.  They look pretty cool and I'm thinking about spray painting them gold and turning them into a fun knick knack for my desk!  I popped my trays in to make sure that they fit and then prepped to whiten.  I really like the trays because they are flexible.  I am (reluctantly) admitting that I still wear a retainer at night and these trays are much more comfortable than the rigidity of the retainer.  They fit so well that you can barely tell they are there.  See? 

4)  To whiten: I added a bit of desensitizing gel and some whitening gel to the inside front of my trays.  Popped them in so that the gel spread out evenly inside the tray.  If you're having a tricky time, they have some great tips to help you make this the best experience possible!   The first time I used these, I got a bit overzealous with the gels and used too much.  In the interest of not swallowing the gel, I just spit the ooze out.  The gel tastes a lot like the way Whitestrips taste, so it's not exactly minty, but it's not sour or gross or anything like that. 

Smile Brilliant recommends leaving trays in from 15 minutes- 3 hours.  They say that leaving them in for 3 hours will speed up the whitening process, but that you should watch out for sensitivity and cut the time down if your teeth feel sensitive to the gel.  My teeth were sensitive right off the bat the first time I used the gel, but after about 3 minutes, the sensitivity wore away.  I left my trays in for 30 minutes each time I've used them.  Here are before and after photos after just 3 different 30-minute applications.  It's a bit tricky to see here, but super up close, in real life, I'm seeing the overall colour of my teeth even out.  Some of the spotty tea/coffee stains are disappearing!  Overall, I'm pleased as punch!  Should you decide that you'd like to give Smile Brilliant a try, use code <thedailysavant> for 5% off your purchase! 



Professional Teeth Whitening

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Eccentricities or disciplines…

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I was thoroughly enjoying the very first article in the current issue of Kinfolk when I came across this quote: “What might seem to be eccentricity is actually fine-tuned discipline.”

I kind of really love that thought.  

Some people seem super crazy.  They do wonky things like wear pink on Wednesdays,  or carrying a lucky penny maybe aren't crazy.  They're just things that people have disciplined themselves to do and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.  

I like to wear palazzo pants and baggy shirts (aka upgraded pajamas) to work on a regular basis.  I feel put together, while still feeling insanely comfy AND I can move around in them if I have to teach a gymnastics or dance class.  It's a win-win-win situation for me, but to others, I probably look like a lazy bag lady.  

I'll just call it "fine-tuned discipline" and leave it at that.  

Do you have any quirks that people think are eccentric, but that you've trained yourself to do? 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Salzburg, strawberries, and sunfleurs, oh my...

This was going to end up as a 3-post series (because we had one incredibly busy day), but I've decided to cram two activities into one post to move things along.  And so, picking up from where I left off yesterday with the Eagle's Nest, we took the bus back down the mountain and headed in to nearby Salzburg.  

Once again, we did just about no planning for this trip.  I just kind of knew that I needed to cross Salzburg off of my travel list and since it was right around the corner, that's what we did.  All I really knew with absolute certainty was that I wanted to see Mozart's birth house and then wander around a bit.  

I tell you, I couldn't have planned it any better if I'd planned it!  We parked on the outskirts of the city;  walked along the river;  crossed over the bridge; wandered to Mozart's birth house; got some gelato; walked through a few fountains; stumbled into the Mirabell gardens, where I swear, it was the heat getting to me, I rode a unicorn; then we ended up in a really super cool hippie market along the river; walked back over the bridge and to the car and called it quits. 

… or so we thought.  

On our way down to Bavaria, we passed a number of either fields where you can pick your own strawberries or just plain old, amazingly adorable stands selling strawberries.  Somewhere along the way, I took it upon myself to yell out, "ERDBEEREN" (German for "strawberries") every time we passed one of these stands.  As we headed back to our B&B, I saw a stand, screamed, "ERDBEEREN" and SB actually decided (after passing up the opportunity numerous times) to pull over so we could go pick some strawberries.  I don't actually like strawberries, but I really enjoy interacting with fruit, so I was pretty stoked.  Apparently, we picked some pretty pathetic berries, because the lady running the stand shook some of the berries she'd picked into our basket as a little freebie.  I call it #fruitpity.

After this misadventure, we hit the road again, but were only in forward motion about about 60 seconds before I hollered, "STOP!  SUNFLEURS!!!"  

Sunflowers are my favourite, and there was a whole giant field of them ripe for the picking.  We didn't have any way to cut them down, so I just gimped through the rows, watched some bees pollinating, and shared my John Lennon sunnies with a few buds, all before discovering that I was absolutely covered in head rash and finally heading back to the hotel for a nice cold shower.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Eagle's Nest…

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This begins a three-post long flow of photos from the busiest day of our most recent worldly wanderings.  The whole point of our long weekend was to get to the Eagle's Nest (a mountaintop retreat, gifted to Hitler for his 50th birthday… how nice) and to Salzburg and  due to our incredible lack of planning and before-hand information-gathering led SB and I do cram both of these things into one day (with a surprise… just wait for it… it was awesome)(No, we didn't get engaged).  

In a perfect world, we would have gotten up early on the morning of our first day, headed over to Konigsee, taken the boat tour and then headed to the Eagle's Nest to see the museum and to go up to the top.  But we didn't do that.  After our boat tour, we arrived to the Eagle's Nest but missed the last bus up to the top and got stuck in the museum (pretty cool… free for military, but the whole thing was in German, so I'd recommend the audio guide.  The bunker system was nice and cool (literally and figuratively) but not as big as some of the other bunker systems we've explored closer to home or at Verdun).  

And so, we ended up cramming many things into one day.  We stayed in a wonderful hotel that did a fabulous job of serving us a gigantic breakfast while chatting, asking us questions about America, and telling us more about Bavaria.  Because of this, we got a bit of a late start, but still made it to the Eagle's Nest in time to catch a bus (Ok, so they really have 7 buses that run on a super tight schedule).  The buses are custom made to handle the curvy trip up the mountain while filling passengers in on the great views we were taking in.  Once at the top of the mountain, we had to check in with the office to select the time we'd like to depart back down the mountain.  

From there, it was a long walk down a nice cool, drippy tunnel to the brass elevator that was specially designed to help Hitler overcome his claustrophobia.  It's tricky to get photos of the inside of the elevator because they seriously pack you in there.  I got a couple of mediocre photos that I didn't want to post here, but if you'd like to see them, leave me a comment and I'll shoot you a link!  The elevator really didn't feel at all like it was moving, but alas, the doors opened and we were suddenly at the top of a mountain.  

While the Kehlstein Haus was used as a retreat in Hitler's day, today, it has been converted into a restaurant with some pretty insane views of the surrounding Alps, Konigsee, and even into a bit of Salzburg.  We walked around (errrr… I hobbled around), climbed up about as high as we could with my flat-bottomed shoes and knee brace (the rocks are super slippery, so if you decide to visit here, seriously, wear hiking boots or shoes with grippy bottoms), and then shared a beer and a schnitzel before zooming back down to the bus and heading into Salzburg.  All in all, I think we spent about 3 hours at the Eagle's Nest, including waiting for buses, waiting for the elevator, and waiting for food and I feel like it was just enough time. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Another day, another wander…

Another day, another wander, and another desperate attempt to hide my fabulous new knee brace, since now I'm not entirely sure that it really will become the next great fashion trend.  

Today, our journey took us out to Konigsee, a natural lake in Germany and just around the corner from Salzburg, Austria.  Once again, aside from being aware that the lake exists and that it was possible to go on a boat tour of the big lake and out to several other smaller lakes, we did no planning.  Just kind of plugged an address into the GPS, headed over, and hopped on a boat.  

I always love a good boat ride, and as we were some of the last people on the boat, we kind of got the leftover seats and had a difficult time taking in the sites on our way out across the lake, but nothing could mess with the epically cool point in the tour when the captain stopped the boat and the guide pulled out a trumpet.  He played an entire German polka song in the middle of the lake one refrain at a time so we could hear the music echo off the mountains.  

If that wasn't amazing enough, when we got off the boat at Salet, there were butterflies everywhere.  Never have I ever seen so many different types of butterflies (or, schmetterlings) in one place.  Not even in a butterfly conservatory!  It was amazing!