Smile Fearlessly with Professional Teeth Whitening at Home

Smile Fearlessly with Professional Teeth Whitening at Home

Long before I was self conscious about my weight, I was self conscious about my smile.  My teeth weren’t as white as they could be, and I had these white spots (from fluorosis) on my two front teeth that were the cause of much embarrassment. I used to cover my mouth when I smiled or talked because I was scared of what other people would think. Now, I can Smile Fearlessly thanks to Smile Brilliant and their Professional Teeth Whitening kits.

Smile Fearlessly with Smile Brilliant a Review by Aduke Schulist

Smile Brilliant Professional Teeth Whitening Kit

Each kit comes with everything you need to get a beautiful smile without ever having to step foot outside.

Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit

Included in the Smile Brilliant kits are two trays with the paste needed to make impressions of your top and bottom teeth. Detailed instructions are provided to help you get the best impression possible. They even include an extra paste in case of a bad impression. Once your impressions are done, simply let them dry overnight and then ship them off in the provided envelope. They go to a lab where your custom dental trays will be made and shipped back to you.

Smile Brilliant Custom Made Dental Whitening TraysThis entire process took about a week. Not only is it quick, it costs about 70% less than the cost of custom dental trays from a dentist. The trays even arrive with a hard shell carrying case.

Once your trays arrive, the whitening can begin!

This was the most complicated part for me. My first application was messy and my gums were sensitive. It took a couple of uses to figure out what was causing my gums to be so sensitive. I wasn’t using a lot of the product, but the tiny amount that was getting on my gums hurt. I realized that my toothbrush bristles were too hard and my aggressive brushing was causing micro-abrasions on my gums, which were then super sensitive during whitening.

I switched to a toothbrush with soft bristles, brushed my teeth a little more gently, and was careful around my gum lines. The change was fabulous. Where before I could tolerate them only up to 45 minutes, I could now tolerate whitening my teeth for longer periods without any problems. Smile Brilliant recommends 45 minutes to 3 hours, but you may need to work your way up to those times.

Smile Brilliant Whitening Gel

When ordering your kit, you can choose between sensitive or non-sensitive. I recommend the sensitive kit option, even if you don’t have sensitive teeth. The sensitive kit comes with desensitizing gel which is used after the whitening process. This desensitizing gel really helped sooth my gums.

Before / After Photos
Smile before Smile Brilliant at Home Professional Teeth Whitening
Smile before beginning Smile Brilliant
Before Smile Brilliant Whitening System
Before using Smile Brilliant
Aduke Schulist Smile Brilliant Results after 1 Session
Smile Brilliant Results after 1 Whitening Session

Isn’t it amazing how much change is present after just ONE session? This stuff really gets in between my teeth – those places that most whitening systems can’t reach. Imagine what the full process is going to do to my teeth. I can’t wait to show you guys the full results.

In the meantime, you can enter to win your own Smile Brilliant kit below. Be sure to check out my social media channels for more:
Facebook: Aduke Schulist
Instagram: @AdukeSchulist
Twitter: @AdukeSchulist

Are you ready to Smile Fearlessly?

Head on over to Smile Brilliant to enter the giveaway. Entries without an email will not be valid as they need an email to contact the winner.

The Smile Brilliant giveaway is for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit. It is open for 1 week and open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.

Alternatively, use code adukeschulist15 when checking out for 15% off your order.

Happy Whitening!

Tooth Whitening Gel

My Christmas Wish List

My Christmas Wish List

I know I’m not the only one counting down the days until Christmas. My kids are for sure. While we know the true reason for Christmas, it’s still fun to think about all the gifts.

I’m a giver and it delights me to give gifts to my children, my friends and family, and anybody else who would accept them. It also delights me to receive gifts, though I don’t really expect any this time of year.

As my kids made their Christmas wish lists, I started thinking about what would be on mine and came up with these items. Some of these are affiliate links.

My Christmas Wish List by Aduke Schulist

Yoga Stuff

I recently started taking Yoga classes as part of my journey to a healthier me. I am loving it. Yoga totally fits my love for gymnastics, but on a grown up level.

Yoga Mat I am taking Yoga classes at the gym and love the mats they have. I do have a Yoga mat at home, but mine is a generic/cheap one and isn’t very grippy. This Yoga mat  is made by the company that the gym uses.

High Waisted Pants I have some exercise capris and workout leggings, but high waisted  seems the way to go. My regular/low waist pants tend to fall down throughout the workout and I hate having to readjust my clothes.

Yoga Bolster I didn’t even know what a Yoga bolster  was until a few sessions into Yoga.. and suddenly I found myself needing one. The bolster really makes getting into and holding some of the poses more comfortable and relaxing.

Yoga Blocks Can’t forget the blocks. I have learned how to use the bolster and blocks together and would love to recreate some of those poses at home.

Health

Garmin Watch Long story short, my heart rate is faster than the average person and spikes pretty high during exercise. I have a Garmin 405CX from my running days. It’s a GPS enabled watch and has a heart rate monitor. I have been using the heart rate monitor to make sure I don’t overdue it when working out but it is somewhat cumbersome. I’d love to get a smaller activity tracking/heart rate monitoring watch  that I could wear all the time.

Contigo Cups I am a big fan of Contigo brand drinking devices, and Kaia is too! He won’t leave my Contigo shaker alone, so I want a new one for myself.

White Bedding

Jersey Sheets I have these Jersey Sheets  in a grey, but I want to switch to all white bedding. Am I crazy? Perhaps. But, I love the look of a white bed and how crisp/clean it makes a room.

Pintuck Comforter …and a pintuck comforter  to go along with the sheets.

I like this set because of the throw pillows it includes. You can never have too many pillows

Misc.

Sunglasses I actually told my kids I was going to give them money and send them into my favorite shop to get sunglasses  and they were going to buy me sunglasses without showing me what they got. It was going to be their Christmas present to me.. They didn’t like that idea.

Burgundy Handbag Not just any handbag, but a burgundy handbag. I normally stick with black, but I am loving burgundy lately.

That’s it! I think this is a pretty basic Christmas wish list. Of course, I’d love some extravagant things like a new lens or laptop, but this is realistically what I would love to get.

What’s on your Christmas wish list?

Adenomyosis, Endometriosis, and Tumors

Warning: Period and Reproductive Health Talk Ahead!

Adenomyosis, Endometriosis, and Tumors

Today’s blog post is all about my reproductive health, so I apologize for those who couldn’t care less. This is going to be long and some parts may also be a little TMI. You have been warned.

Adenomyosis, Endometriosis, and Tumors

Diagnosed with Endometriosis

It all started because of my painful (and heavy) periods. I suppose I didn’t really know mine were heavy, but they lasted longer than most girls and in order not to leak I had to double up on products. I knew that wasn’t normal.

I also knew that I suffered from cramps in a worse way than other girls. I’ve always had a high pain tolerance, but my periods would bring me to my knees. The pain was so bad I would literally vomit. After suffering from a period that lasted over 2 weeks, my mom finally took me to the doctor for some tests.

When I was 15 I was diagnosed with endometriosis as well as PCOS. For those who don’t know, endometriosis is basically where the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows on the outside of the uterus and can cause organs to attach themselves to other organs through bands of tissue called adhesions.

At 17 I had excision surgery to remove endometriosis/adhesions. I can’t remember all the details about where it was and what was adhered to what, but I do remember feeling some relief.

Fertility and PCOS/Endometriosis

While everybody’s story is different, I was told that I would never have biological children, and if I did it would require a lot of fertility treatments.

I believed that…

Kaia - Born after struggle with Endometriosis

until I had my first child, without any sort of treatments.

And then another..

Pregnant with second child - spina bifida

and still another.

Third Child - 26 weeker - Baptist Health Arkansas

My fertility hasn’t been affected to the point of being infertile, but I do struggle with cycle related issues and staying pregnant. I don’t always ovulate. My progesterone isn’t where it should be (resulting in preterm labors). My ovaries form cysts. My hormones are out of whack. And my cycles last much longer than the typical cycle length. I didn’t really suffer from the weight gain or facial hair until these last few years.

About 2 years after my first excision I had my first child unexpectedly and without any fertility treatments. After birth, I still had pain, but it was nothing like before (I kid you not when I say labor and child birth was nothing compared to my periods).

Abdominal Wall Endometrial Tumor

My last child was born via emergency cesarean section. During the c-section they found out that my placenta was not only drying out from my water having been broken for 10 days, but also growing into my uterus (a condition known as placenta accreta) and had to remove a tiny portion of my uterus in order to fix that problem.

These past few years I have been struggling with what was at first diagnosed as an endometrial abdominal wall tumor. This is a somewhat rare tumor (from endometrial tissue) that happens after a c-section.

The worst part for me (besides the obvious pain) was the inability to exercise. I used to be so in shape, but once this tumor started growing, I began bleeding every time I tried to exercise. I ultimately stopped doing the sport I loved the most – running.

See this post on Life As A Convert where I previously discussed my struggles with running and endometriosis

Ultrasounds and Laparoscopic Surgery

Prior to the abdominal wall tumor being diagnosed, I had an ultrasound to see what was going on. The thing about endometriosis is that it doesn’t show up on an ultrasound. In order for it to be diagnosed, you have to go in surgically. So, when my ultrasound came back “normal” but the lump was still there, I knew something was going on.

I made an appointment with my doctor to discuss options. Because I still had hopes of having another child, a hysterectomy was off the table. Instead, he chose to go in laparoscopically and take a look around.

I went in for the results today.

Enlarged Uterus w/ Bladder Attached

It turns out, there wasn’t an abdominal wall endometrial tumor as originally diagnosed, instead my uterus is enlarged and my bladder is attached to my uterus (somewhat common with c-sections). My doctor seems to think if my uterus wasn’t enlarged then my bladder wouldn’t be attached so bad.

There were some mysterious spots on my uterus that the doctor did not seem concerned about as he said it could be scar tissue from previous surgeries, or fibroids on the inside making themselves known. The tumor that was palpable was likely a combination of my enlarged uterus/adenomyosis and fibroids.

There were some spots of endometriosis which were left untouched and a pretty large adhesion to my bowels which he released. He also said that the majority of my endometriosis is on the inside of my uterus (called Adenomyosis). This, along with the fibroids can cause the enlarged uterus.

Because I do not want to be on hormonal therapy (been there, done that, hated it), my options are limited. (Hormonal therapy does not treat the problem, it only masks the symptoms)

What’s The Plan?

For now, I just wait and see if things get worse/show no improvement. Having another child biologically is no longer an option and guts me. But, my uterus wouldn’t be able to handle it.

The only way to fix the problem is to remove my uterus. The extent of the attachment is pretty severe. I can speak with a urologist to see if they think separating the two is doable, but the weakened uterus still poses a threat. And with my history, I don’t think that is a wise option.

While this isn’t the news I wanted to hear, it could have been worse. I get to keep my uterus for at least another year before discussing a hysterectomy. A part of me feels like as long as I can keep it, that there is hope. But perhaps that is just wishful thinking.

Another part of me realizes that in order to be the healthiest me, I need to have a hysterectomy and I’m not ready to accept that.

Do you know anybody who suffers from endometriosis?
For you mamas who had c-sections, did you guys experience any of these complications?

October IPSY Glam Bag Review

October IPSY Glam Bag Review

I have often been guilty of browsing Instagram (social media in general!) and seeing all these beautiful girls with their makeup and hair just so. It always makes me think:

I want to be one of those girls!

The only problem is I don’t know how to do my hair.. or my makeup. Thanks to IPSY and beauty bloggers everywhere, I am learning. I love seeing YouTube videos of beauty bloggers unboxing and trying out their products. It gives me ideas of how to use mine.

I wanted to share with you what I got and give my review as a (non) #beautyblogger.

October IPSY Glam Bag Review by Aduke Schulist

This post contains affiliate links. If you join IPSY using my link, I will be rewarded.

My journey with makeup probably started around the same time as most girls: Middle School.

I remember applying makeup during lunch and break times and sharing things that probably shouldn’t have been shared between my girlfriends.

Fast forward a few years (or more) and I’ve been getting some of my makeup from IPSY. I joined around the end of Spring and have always loved at least a couple things in my bag. My October IPSY blam bag is full of love.

What’s in my October IPSY Glam Bag?

As I mentioned earlier, I joined IPSY around the end of Spring. Every single bag has contained a makeup brush, so I was a little shocked (and maybe even a little saddened?) that I didn’t get one this month.

Contents of October IPSY Glam Bag

What made up for it for me was the mascara. I was just saying that I never got mascara in mine and would like to get some. I also never get face masks and would love to get some of those too!

Tarte Lifted Mascara

If I am wearing makeup, then I am wearing mascara. My makeup tends to revolve around my eyes. I was blessed with long, thick lashes, so I don’t feel a need to wear false lashes, but eyeshadow and mascara is a must.

Tarte Mascara in October IPSY

I prefer mascaras with brushes that help separate my lashes and the brush on this Lifted mascara by Tarte is perfect. Did I mention it’s sweatproof too?

Dirty Little Secret Bronzed Eyeshadow

The great thing about IPSY is you can choose the kind of items you would like to receive and also what colors of those items. When I first joined I thought I would step out of my comfort zone and welcome ALL the colors – like pink and blue eyeshadows – but quickly found out sticking to neutrals is just fine for me.

Dirty Little Secret Eye Shadow in October IPSYThis Bronzed Dirty Little Secret eyeshadow is a gorgeous shade and fits my style. It wears well and doesn’t crease like some eyeshadows do. While I love palettes, I am finding that I love individual eye shadows more. I end up throwing away palettes that have emptied of my favorite shades but have weird colors remaining that I never use.

Marc Anthony Hydrating Hair Oil

Not only is this hydrating coconut oil and shea butter styling oil affordable, it smells amazing. I’m a huge fun of coconut scents that reminds me of Summer and this product has it!

Marc Anthony Hydrating Hair Oil October IPSY

You just apply a few drops to damp or dry hair and style as usual. Totally recommend this!

MDM Flow – Retro Liquid Lipstick

This MDMflow liquid lipstick in the color retro was probably the most disappointing item in my bag. The color is gorgeous, drys well, and wears well, but the scent? It smells terrible! It smells like some harsh chemical that you would use to remove paint.

MDMFlow Lipglos October IPSY

If you can get passed the smell, then this isn’t a bad lip product.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

IPSY has sent me eyeliners in almost every bag so far. Most of them were somewhat disappointing, but this one makes up for them all. This Urban Decay eyeliner in Perversion does not smudge and glides on sooooo smooth.

Urban Decay Eyeliner October IPSY

I’m not even kidding, this stuff stays put.

Overall Thoughts

I would give my October glam bag as a whole 4/5 stars. The smell on that lip product just kills me, but otherwise I love it all. I am finding that the more I get these bags and take the time to review the products on IPSY, the better they are suited for me.

October IPSY Glam Bag Review

If you want to join IPSY you can use my IPSY referral link and start earning points for extra products.

While I am not a beauty blogger, I do want to blog more about some beauty topics. I think that when you feel good about yourself (inside and out) that you are a healthier individual. Over the years I have realized that making myself beautiful helps me feel better about myself. I hope you guys enjoy these posts.

See my last post about my Botox and Juvederm experience here.

Do you get IPSY?
What was your favorite product from October’s glam bag?

My Botox and Juvederm Experience (Before and After)

My Botox and Juvederm Experience (Before and After)

Raise your hand if you have ever looked in the mirror and saw something you didn’t like about your body.

My hand is definitely raised over here.

We live in a culture where we pick apart every little thing about our bodies. I remember from a young age wanting to change certain things about my body. I have wanted a breast reduction, liposuction, and lip fillers. I’ve wanted a butt lift, different eye color, and lately my wrinkles reduced.

Before Juvederm Lip Fillers and Botox
Before Juvederm Lip Fillers and Botox

I’ve always been self conscious about my lips and how small they were, and in the past few years I have noticed visible signs of aging on my face, especially around my eyes.

So last week when I had the opportunity to get Botox and lip fillers (aka Juvederm) I could not make an appointment fast enough. I firmly believe that our mental health helps dictate our physical health and when we are happy with ourselves (inside and out) then we are healthier. I consider this a venture into a healthier me.

Arkansas Family Dental - Little Rock Arkansas

Thanks to Arkansas Family Dental, I was able to get Botox and Juvederm. This post has been sponsored by Arkansas Family Dental. All opinions are my own. 

Botox at the Dentists’ Office

When we think of Botox and Juvederm, the majority of us probably think about plastic surgeons and medical clinics.

Times have changed!

These procedures can now be done in places like your local dentists’ office.

Yes, that’s right.. A dentists’ office!

I went to Arkansas Family Dental for my procedures. (Totally recommend them by the way!)

Arkansas Family Dental Clinic

Botox and Juvederm Event

Arkansas Family Dental was hosting a Botox and Juvederm event and invited a few bloggers to participate. They really know how to please their customers. They served some light snacks and even wine for those who drink.

I didn’t partake of any of the alcohol, but who can resist those brownies?! After sweetening us up with that delicious spread, we were invited back for a consult.

Getting A Consult

Going into the event I was a little hesitant if I was even going to go through with getting any procedures done. I had just found out two days prior that I was going to be having surgery the following week and I didn’t want to do anything to mess that up.

After consulting with Dr. Pollard, I decided to get Botox on my crows feet and lip fillers on my top and bottom lip, but especially my top lip.

Like any good blogger, I took a few selfies before going in. Here is a before picture. You can see how tiny my lips are and even without a full smile I have visible crows feet.

Lips prior to Juvederm Lip Fillers
Lips prior to Juvederm Lip Fillers
Botox

The Botox was done first and it was beyond easy. I would say within 5 minutes I was done with that portion. They had me smile in order to get those wrinkles showing real good and marked my face in 3 different spots. The injections were super quick and I barely felt a thing.

They said it was common to have some bruising afterwards and to be sore, but I didn’t bruise at all or feel any soreness. About two or three days later I noticed tiny scabs where the injections occurred, but other than that I had no negative side effects.

I didn’t realize that it could take up to 2 weeks for the full affects to show, but within a week I had visible results.

Preparing for Botox at Arkansas Family Dental
Preparing for Botox at Arkansas Family Dental
Juvederm

The second part was the lip injections. Apparently there are two ways they can do this.. With, or without a dental numbing. I received a dental numbing prior to getting the Juvederm injections.

Receiving Juvederm at Arkansas Family Dental in Little Rock Arkansas
Receiving Juvederm at Arkansas Family Dental in Little Rock Arkansas

The numbing shots hurt worse than the actual injections, but that is to be expected. I would say the worst part of the entire experience was waiting for the numbness to go away. I felt like I couldn’t eat or drink for hours after the procedure.

Getting Juvederm Lip Fillers
Getting Juvederm Lip Fillers

By the next day all of the numbness and swelling had went down enough for me to see the results and I was well pleased.

I finally have lips, y’all!

Before and After

This is a before and immediately after the injections. It is a very subtle difference, but one I notice a lot!

Lip Fillers Before and After

I’m still a little shocked when I see myself in the mirror and see my new lips. As you can see, my lips are fuller and have less wrinkles.

Lip Fillers Up Close Before and After Juvederm

The Juvederm injections last 6 months or more. After that your lips will just go back to how they were before. If you prefer not to have the Juverderm injections they can do Botox around your lips which will result in a similar effect. The Botox lasts about 3 months.

My only regret is not going bigger! You are cautioned to not make any drastic changes all at once. Going bigger over time results in a more natural look. Overall, I am digging the changes, especially in the lips. I’m not too sure how I feel about the Botox. I don’t love it or hate it. I would definitely do the lip injections again, but kinda iffy on the Botox. I am debating getting Botox around my lips next to see the difference in the two.

I can totally see how procedures like this are addicting. I’ve noticed myself looking in the mirror at other wrinkled areas and wondering how Botox would affect those.

If you want to learn more about Botox or Juvederm fillers you can set up a consultation with Arkansas Family Dental. They have an amazing referral program, so if you let them know I sent you, that would be cool.

Would you ever have Botox?
What do you think about my results?