Pacifica Beauty Vegan Skincare and Makeup Review

Hello lovelies! Today I wanted to share with you my thoughts on a big Pacifica haul I got a couple of weeks ago!

Does this ever happen to you where all of a sudden you run out of all of your beauty products all at once? Yeah, I had a minor freak-out moment when I hit the bottom of my Sunday Riley Enzyme Water Cream and my Fresh Soy-Face Cleanser in the same day! Yikes!

Anyways, a re-stock was desperately needed and I also wanted to dive into some more budget-friendly drugstore items. Thus Pacifica was discovered!

You can find Pacifica at Target, Ulta, or on their website and let me tell you I have fallen in love with this brand! They are a 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and natural brand and they describe themselves as “…the most innovative, creative natural beauty brand on the market with a full range of cosmetics, perfumes and skin care. Brook has elevated natural beauty with her unwillingness to accept substandard performance in natural products and has made it her personal mission to uplevel the perception of natural beauty products.”

Their products are super affordable, the packaging is unbelievably fun and cheerful, and the efficacy of the products is I would say at the level of high-end brands. (This post is not sponsored by the way, I purchased all the items myself and I’m not being compensated for my opinions.)

So here is what I purchased:

  • Kale Detox Deep Cleaning Face Wash
  • Quinoa Sensitive Super Gentle Face Wash
  • Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream
  • Pore Refine Deep Detox Mask
  • Solar Complete Color Mineral Palette
  • Stunning Brows Eyebrow Gloss and Set
  • Well Conditioned One Step-Gentle Cleanser & Conditioner
  • Tahitian Gardenia Body Butter


Needless to say I was VERY excited when this giant box of goodies came in the mail!

But enough chit-chat let’s get to why you’re here and talk about how great (or not so great) these products are!

Kale Detox Deep Cleaning Face Wash ($10):

I have been using this face wash every night with my Clarisonic and let me tell you it gets you CLEAN. It foams up really nicely and you feel like your face gets a deep clean without being stripped of all moisture by the time you’re done. It is fortified with kale, seaweed, mangosteen, and coconut water so you feel like you’re actually doing your skin some good while you’re cleansing! I will definitely be repurchasing this one!


Quinoa Sensitive Super Gentle Face Wash ($10):

This has replaced my Fresh Soy Face Cleanser in the mornings and I have to say it works just as well if not better! This one is fortified with quinoa, calendula, and aloe and foams up really nicely. I notice that my skin is calm, smooth, and balanced after I use it and it is a perfect step to prep your skin for skincare and makeup. The fragrance is also very light and pleasant for first thing in the morning!


Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream ($15):

I have to admit, I am absolutely in LOVE with the Sunday Riley Enzyme Water Cream, but at $65 a jar it is a luxury I can’t always justify. This cream by Pacifica though, is a very close dupe. It is deeply moisturizing with hyaluronic acid and coconut but is very light and absorbs quickly so there is no residue left on your skin. It has been perfect at balancing out my combination skin. The only thing this cream doesn’t do that Sunday Riley does is brighten and exfoliate with the enzymes. But hey at a quarter of the price I’ll take it!


Pore Refine Deep Detox Mask ($18):

I expected this mask to be a clay mask when I purchased it but it is actually a peel! It uses a cocktail of konjac root, strawberry, cactus, and tomato to mattify your skin while deeply cleansing your pores and smoothing any texture. I’ve been using this mask 3 times a week and I have noticed a tremendous difference in the size of my pores and the uneven texture I have on my cheeks! It is great for keeping those little blackheads at bay and I feel like it tightens my skin.


Solar Complete Color Mineral Palette ($32): 

So this guy was an impulse buy as I certainly do not need another palette, but the colors in this set are gorgeous and I wanted to test out some of Pacifica’s makeup products. I will start off by saying that the eyeshadows in this palette are awesome! They are super smooth, easy to blend, and highly pigmented, I would highly recommend. The blush and bronzer are not quite the right shades for my skin tone, so I was a little disappointed that the palette only comes in one shade. Now, the highlighters. The colors are beautiful, but the formula is absolutely awful. I was giddy with excitement as I swiped my finger over the highlighter and applied it to my cheekbones, but then I literally said out loud, “where’s the color?”.  They are not pigmented at all even if you layer! I was so disappointed because you get 3 colors of highlight and all of them were unusable. Now I am a person that loves an intense glowing highlight, so if you’re looking for the subtlest of glows I would say that you might be able to get these highlighters to work for you, I personally would never use them though. Overall I would say avoid this palette and buy the eyeshadows separately and save your money.


Stunning Brows Eyebrow Gloss and Set ($14):

I’ve been obsessed with Glossier’s Boy Brow and this is a perfect alternate for it! For about the same price you get twice as much product, and the product gives you bold beautiful brows in 30 seconds or less. The wand is super easy to use and big so that you can quickly fill in your brows. And the formula is great in that it doesn’t flake, dry out, or smudge once it’s dry! I would absolutely recommend!


Well Conditioned One Step Gentle Cleanser & Conditioner ($16):

I’ve been co-washing my hair for about 6 months and I’m never looking back. My hair is super thick and dry and co-washing has made my strands so much happier. This co-wash smells like passionfruit (YUM!) and gets my hair super clean and super moisturized in 5 minutes! I absolutely love this product and will be repurchasing.


Tahitian Gardenia Body Butter ($15):

I received this as a free sample with my order but I will be purchasing a full size when I run out! The fragrance on this body butter is divine. It’s floral without smelling like your grandma’s house and it’s sweet without making you want to vomit, it’s the perfect happy medium. The formula is wonderfully hydrating without leaving you feeling greasy and like you can’t turn a door knob afterwards. 5 stars on this one!


And there you have it! I hope you found this post helpful if you were on the fence about any of these products or that it inspired you to try out natural and cruelty-free skincare! I’ve also reviewed Herbivore Botanicals and some LUSH products, both of which are natural and cruelty-free as well! ❤

Thanks for stopping by and let me know in the comments if you have tried any of these or if you have any other skincare buys that you love and can’t live without!




Oil Pulling and Why I Love It


So by now I’m sure you’ve heard of the new trendy detox technique: oil-pulling.

What is it exactly?

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil for 20 minutes, on an empty stomach, in order to improve oral and overall health.

Basically, the act of swishing the oil is thought to draw out toxins and remove harmful bacteria that collects in your mouth.

Benefits include:

  • Whiter teeth
  • Fresher breath
  • Strengthens teeth and gums
  • Cures headaches
  • General detox
  • Overall improved oral health
  • It is also said to be helpful for people with depression and insomnia

I am obsessed. I mean come on, what’s not to love right?!

Okay okay, most people who try it say that the hardest parts are getting used to the texture of the oil and swishing for the FULL 20 minutes. But from my personal experience, it’s TOTES worth it. And here’s why I think so:

  1. My teeth were noticeably whiter within a few days!!! I’ve tried all the toothpastes and whitening trays and I have to say this was just as effective if not MORE so. PLUS it’s totally natural without any yucky chemicals.
  2. My gums have been slowly receding for a couple of years now, but since I have started oil-pulling they have actually grown back a considerable amount! And I hadn’t changed anything else in my daily routine so it MUST have been the magic of oil-pulling.
  3. It clears any grogginess I have in the morning. If I ever wake up feeling less than bright-eyed, I make sure to oil-pull because as soon as I’m done I feel focused and ready to go!
  4. Less breakouts. Now I can’t know for sure if I can give oil-pulling full credit for this one, but I have noticed fewer breakouts around my chin. Which typically is a sign of hormonal imbalance. So perhaps the reduction of toxins has helped balance my insides! Regardless, it equals less zits which equals a happy Andy!
  5. It’s like a built-in lip balm! I always manage to get oil on my lips as I do my 20 minutes which acts like a lovely natural lip balm! Which means less lip balm throughout the day! Bonus!

So there’s my personal testimony. I’ve been oil-pulling for about 4 months now and all I can say is that I am addicted. I have not experienced any negative reactions or side-effects and I must say that when I miss a day I can really feel the difference! You should definitely give it a try!

Here’s a how-to guide for all you newbies. 😉

  1. Choose your oil. I use an organic and raw coconut oil. It’s cost-efficient, the taste is pleasant, plus it has anti-bacterial properties! An added bonus to the detox you’re about to embark on. You could alternatively use just about any oil you’d like such as olive, hemp, or pumpkin. Just make sure it’s organic!
  2. In the morning* when you wake up, rinse your mouth out and drink a glass of water. Now take 1 tablespoon of oil and begin to gently swish it around, making sure the oil gets to all parts of the mouth. Set your timer.
  3. After 20 minutes is up, spit the oil out into the trash. (Don’t spit into the sink as the oil could harden and clog up your drains! No bueno.)
  4. Rinse your mouth out with water and go about your morning!

*If you choose to do your oil-pulling at a different time of day just make sure that you have not had food within the last 2 hours!

There you have it! Easy-peasy!

Now if you’re like me, you probably don’t have 20 extra minutes every morning. I fit this into my schedule by plucking my eyebrows, shaving, picking out an outfit, checking e-mail, or by making my breakfast while I swish. That way I am still being productive while I reap the benefits of this wonderful practice.

What oils do you use for your oil-pulling practice? And what benefits have you experienced? I would love to hear all your success stories in the comments below! 🙂

Lush Caca-Rouge Henna Review

So….I’ve become a ginger.

Okay okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I now have a red tint to my hair!

I’ve been wanting to change up my hair for a while now. I had been toying around with the idea of bleaching it or getting it chemically straightened but both of those treatments would have literally killed my hair. Like I would now be bald if I had tried to get my hair to be anywhere close to the blonde that I adore so much. *yikes*

And of course both of those methods require a lot of intensive chemicals that I would rather not put so close to my brain.

So I did some research on natural hair dye methods and I read a lot of positive reviews on Lush’s henna hair dye. It’s all natural and really inexpensive compared to going into the salon and getting your hair colored!

I went into the Lush on Oxford Circus (holy crap this place has THREE stories filled with amazing goodies; it took every ounce of willpower not to go on a spree) and talked to a sales assistant about which color I should go with. Since my hair is so dark to begin with she recommended I go with the Rouge to get the most dramatic difference. Marron is another reddish option but is more brown with a subtle hint of red.

I was sold! I walked out with a brick of Caca Rouge, and a couple of other goodies I couldn’t resist! (P.S. the henna bricks smell AMAZING. I was smelling my purchase all the way home!)

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Lush Henna
  • Rubber glovers (the cashier at Lush gave me a pair with my purchase)
  • Coconut oil
  • Boiling water
  • Glass bowl
  • Small pot that your glass bowl will fit into
  • Mixing spoon (I used a plastic fork)
  • Old shirt you don’t mind getting ruined
  • Lots and lots of newspaper to cover the floor

This is my hair when I started:

Now here’s how to apply the henna:

  1. Start with clean, completely dry hair, and put on your old shirt.
  2. Boil some water in your pot.
  3. Chop your henna into chunks while your water boils (I used 2 squares from the block) and place into your glass bowl.
  4. Once your water is boiling pour over the henna so that it covers it completely. Let stand for a couple minutes.
  5. Mix the henna until you get a smooth, thick hot chocolate consistency, gradually adding more water as needed. Be careful not to make it too thin or else you will need to add more henna.
  6. Once your henna is smooth, make sure there is about 2 inches of hot water in your pot and place your bowl into the pot (this is to keep the henna nice and hot while you apply; the hotter the henna the better the color will turn out!).
  7. Now get your coconut oil and apply it along your hairline, ears, and back of your neck to prevent the henna from staining your skin.
  8. Get your gloves on and begin applying the henna to your hair starting from the back and working your way forward.
  9. This will get very messy, chunks will fall off your hair and onto the floor, just keep smoothing the henna on starting from the roots and working it into the ends.
  10. If you have really short hair anywhere like I do on the sides, don’t bother trying to dye that part cause it won’t really show up.
  11. Once you’ve completely covered your hair either saran wrap your head or put on a tight shower cap you don’t mind throwing away.
  12. Leave the henna on anywhere from 1-6 hours, blowdrying your head every 30 minutes or so to keep the mixture warm on your head.
  13. Get in the shower and rinse rinse rinse! I only had to shampoo once to get it all out of my hair.
  14. Admire your new hair color!

looks gross right?

right out of the shower

ta-da! 24 hours later

The color will develop over the next 24 hours. I definitely noticed a significant difference the next day!

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with how well the color showed up on my dark hair. I wasn’t expecting as much of a difference as it made! It also made my hair uber soft due to the cocoa butter used in the formula!


  • inexpensive
  • natural
  • works well
  • conditions hair


  • messy
  • a little difficult to apply

Have you ever used henna hair dyes before? How did it work for you?

Hope this review helped you! xoxo

Note: I’m going on my honeymoon for the next two weeks so I’ll be MIA until then! Bye bye London, hello Mediterranean! Xoxo

DIY Glamglow Mask


So I’ve heard a million raving reviews for this $70 a jar mud mask by Glamglow. You can read some of them here. It claims to literally suck out the impurities from your pores to leave your skin gorgeously clear and clean. I have always struggled with having ENORMOUS pores on my nose, like seriously you could see them from outer space. However, I don’t know about you but I refuse to pay more than $5 for MUD. So naturally this was a challange for the DIYer in me. And of course I was able to do it for a fraction of the cost, as you do. 😉

The main ingredients listed for the mask were kaolin clay, eucalyptus, salycilic acid, aloe vera, peppermint oil, chamomile, and calendula extract. Along with a whole lot of other perfume and chemicals I can’t pronounce.

Sounds easy enough though right?!

I have also been reading a lot about how amazing activated charcoal is. This stuff can hold 500x its mass inside its little crevices! So I knew I was going to have to include this bad boy as an added boost to the recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Plastic or glass mixing bowl. (DO NOT use metal as it deactivates the bentonite clay)
  • Rubber whisk or mixing spoon.
  • Small glass jar. I reused an old salsa jar from Marks & Spencers (shout out to them for making the labels so easy to remove!)
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw organic coconut oil (add more if you have particularly dry skin)
  • 1 tablepoon aloe vera juice or gel
  • 1/2 cup of strongly steeped chamomile tea (you can subsitute any herbal tea you’d like i.e. rose, lavender, or green tea for added antioxidants)
  • 1/4 cup of bentonite clay (I found mine on Amazon) Be sure not to handle with metal!
  • 8 capsules of activated charcoal (available at most health food stores)
  • Eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemon essential oils.


  1. Make your tea and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Melt your coconut oil in a small pot over low heat. Remove from heat once fully melted.
  3. Mix the coconut oil, aloe, bentonite clay, and activated charcoal in your mixing bowl. Simply cut the capsules of charcoal or twist and pull to get the contents out. Mix until combined well.
  4. Now add your essential oils. I used about 8 drops of eucalyptus, 5 of peppermint, and 4 of lemon. Feel free to adjust to your liking.
  5. Now slowly add your tea in small increments and mix until you reach a nice smooth consistency. It should be a little thicker than cake batter. Mmmm, cake.
  6. Transfer to your jar and you’re ready to go!

The water in the recipe reduces the shelf-life of the mask so store in the fridge if you’re not going to use it that often.  Otherwise just store in a cool and dark place.

To use the mask simply apply evenly all over your face or over trouble areas (avoid the eye area) and let it dry, about 15 minutes. There is a lovely little tingling sensation the longer it sits!

Now the activated charcoal is a bit stubborn and doesn’t like to wipe off  super easily. Rinse off as much as you can with warm water and then wash your face with a cleanser. I used Lush’s Ultrabland and it worked beautifully (plus it gave my skin a moisture boost as this mask can be a tad drying). Wipe off any traces with a cotton pad and say hello to clean smooth skin and smaller pores!

The clay and charcoal decongest clogged pores and suck out impurities to help keep your skin clear of any breakouts and keep those pesky blackheads at bay. I really have to say I am in love with this mask and I love that I get the luxurious experience of the pricey Glamglow version without the pricetag! Plus none of the nasty chemicals! It’s a win-win!

Try using this mask 2x a week or as a spot treatment and see your pores dissapear!


Herbivore Botanicals Blue Clay Soap and Lapis Facial Oil Review

So if you haven’t heard of the cult beauty brand from Seattle, Washington then please do yourself a favor and go stalk their website here.  (It’ll be love at first sight, I promise.)

Herbivore Botanicals hand-makes all of their products and everything is 100% natural and free of any artificial dyes, preservatives, fragrances, and anything synthetic. What’s not to love?! Nothing excites me more than finding a company that makes products that are functional, beautiful, AND sustainable; they’ve hit the trifecta.

Herbivore started as an Etsy shop and now they’ve grown so much that they’ve partnered with Urban Outfitters to start offering exclusive products! Just what we needed, ANOTHER reason to stop by Urban Outfitters “just to look.”

So let me give you a little background info on my face. I have combination Irish and Japanese skin. That means I have large pores, an oily t-zone, and the strange ability to still be dry and flaky while slick like a slip ‘n slide. It’s been a pretty rough ride ever since puberty.

I had previously been using Lush’s 9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion and their Enzymion Facial Lotion with alright results. You can find a more detailed review of my experience with these products here.

This review is after 2 weeks of use, 2x a day.

I’ll begin with the Blue Clay Bar Soap ($12):


I. AM. IN. LOVE. It’s made up of saponified oils which gives you a great lather and 2 clays to get you a really deep clean. Oh and it also COMPLETELY purifies your face, as in I had a full face of make-up on and it removed every trace of it. Incredible. I’ve also found that it has made my skin texture ultra smooth and it is performing a disappearing act on my pores! Seriously, I’ve tried items like Clinique’s Pore Refining Correcting Serum and this soap has done a 10x better job than that stuff ever did! And at $12 it’s a STEAL. This bar is going to last at least 2 months if not longer!

The only issue I’ve had so far is that is has made my nose and the area around my mouth a little dry/flaky. I’m accounting this to my skin adjusting to the new regimen, and it’s nothing that a little extra moisturizer or exfoliation hasn’t fixed. Herbivore also makes this soap in a Bamboo Charcoal (super deep clean) and also a Pink Clay (more moisturizing) version.

Now for the Lapis Facial Oil ($72):



Let me start with the packaging is ULTRA LUXE. The bottle is nice and heavy and the dropper allows you to get as much oil as you need without contaminating the rest of the product. And, the gorgeous blue color from the Blue Yarrow and Blue Tansy make this a product I want to display front and center in my bathroom.

Using a facial oil when you already have oily skin seems counterintuitive, but I have officially become a convert. This stuff is not greasy in the slightest and absorbs really quickly. It calms any redness I may have from picking my face (I know it’s a bad habit but I think I can safely say that this is a guilty pleasure for most of us) and I have had far fewer breakouts since beginning this regimen. Any zits that I do get now are really short lived and heal super quickly. BONUS: it has smoothed out my complexion and the fine lines on my forehead and my neck have been noticeably reduced!

I really love that with the dropper you can adjust how much oil you use. I use about 8-10 drops for my entire face and neck and again this bottle is going to last a long time! It is a bit pricier at $72 a bottle, but I’m justifying the splurge with how inexpensive the cleanser is and how long these products are going to last!

There you have it! Two products that I may ACTUALLY stick to for the long-run! (That’s saying a lot for a product junkie like me.) After seeing results like this after just 2 weeks I can’t wait to see how it transforms my skin in another month!

I hope you found this review helpful and let me know how you like their products if you give them a try! xoxo

(This is NOT a sponsored post.)

Lush Review: 9 to 5, Ultrabland, and Enzymion

If you have ever been into a Lush boutique you KNOW how addictive their products are. I absolutely adore that they stand for no animal testing, all of their packaging is recycled or non-existent, and most of their products are vegan!

Some of my favorites are: Rose Queen bath bomb, Mint-Julips lip scrub, Sunnyside bubble bar, and the Charity Pot lotion.

Bonus tip: if you bring back 5 clean black tubs (they’re clearly marked which ones qualify) you get a free face mask of your choice!

I had always loved their body products, so I figured why not try out their facial skincare!

I’ll start with the Ultrabland Cleanser ($30):



This stuff is RICH. It’s a super thick formula that you massage onto dry skin and then wipe off with a washcloth or cotton pad. It was a serious adjustment getting used to the indulgent nature of this product. I will say that it was a lifesaver during the harsh winter here in London; it gave my skin a protective barrier that locked in moisture like a pro. It also didn’t make me break out or make my oily zones any worse.

It removes makeup fairly well and I would highly recommend for people with really dry skin in need of replenishment.

Pros: moisturizing, calming, indulgent, 1 tub lasts about a month.

Cons: a bit heavy, doesn’t give you a “clean feeling”

9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion ($22):



After using the Ultrabland cleanser I wanted to try something lighter as the weather got warmer in London. The 9 to 5 cleanser uses the same method of cleansing by massaging it into dry skin and then removing with a cotton pad. This formula is much lighter and almost disappears into your skin after you massage it. The fragrance is lovely and light and again it didn’t seem to make me break out but still gave my skin a bit of hydration.

However it DOES NOT remove makeup very well i.e. I had to cleanse 2x and then swipe my face with witch hazel before it got everything off.

Pros: light, hydrating, good fragrance.

Cons: doesn’t remove makeup well.

Enzymion Moisturizer ($40):



This was one of my favorite facial products from Lush. It is light but still gives my skin a ton of moisture without feeling heavy. It  did a great job of healing any zits that would pop up and I did feel like it brightened my complexion. I also loved that it included ingredients like fresh lemon and papaya juice, tangerine oil, and cocoa butter.

My only qualms with this bad boy is that my face did get pretty slick by mid-day and the tiny tub doesn’t last very long if you use it twice a day. At $40 a tub that adds up pretty fast.

Pros: light, moisturizing, clears complexion.

Cons: mid-day grease, expensive, doesn’t last long.

There you have it! I hope you found these reviews helpful in your quest for your perfect skincare routine.

What Lush products are your must-haves?


(This is NOT a sponsored post and I received no compensation from Lush.)

DIY Lavender-Mint Deodorant

Hello lovely people!

Today I have this awesome and super simple DIY for all you people out there trying to cut out chemicals from your daily beauty routine and for those of us who simply can’t afford to spend $10 every time you need deodorant. SERIOUSLY. What’s up with natural deodorant being so freaking expensive?!

While I was in London a few months ago I was looking around Whole Foods for a new deodorant. Now I sweat A LOT due to the nature of my work so I need something that actually WORKS. I decided to splurge (10 pounds, which is practically $17!!!!) and bought the honey and milk Lavera spray deodorant.

This stuff smells awesome and it actually makes putting on deodorant kinda fun, but unfortunately it was not the most effective product I’ve ever used. If you don’t do much physical activity during the day, it would probably work just fine for you.

But the take away from this trial and error was that I discovered I much prefer spray deodorant to a roll-on, and also John-John would kill me if I kept spending $17 on deodorant ;). So I decided to make my own version so that I could customize my scent, save a ton of moolah, AND still have a luxurious experience with something as mundane as covering up body-odor.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. 1/2 cup Witch Hazel
2. 1/4 cup Aloe Vera Gel (or juice)
3. 1 teaspoon Baking Soda (or more if you want it to be stronger)
4. Essential Oils of your choice (I used Lavender, Peppermint, and Eucalyptus)
5. Spray Bottle (bonus: I re-purposed the old Lavera bottle. At least that softens the blow of the price tag a bit.)


1. Combine the witch hazel, aloe vera, and baking soda in a cup with a spout for easy pouring later (you could alternatively use a bowl and a funnel).
2. Add around 5 drops of each essential oil to your mixture and adjust to your preference. (I find the Eucalyptus is what makes the fragrance really fresh.)
3. Pour into your bottle and DONE!

Seriously I don’t think it gets any easier than this.

And not to mention that all these ingredients are totes natural, good for you, and pretty household standard. The witch hazel is anti-bacterial which will help keep odor causing bacteria at bay, the aloe will soothe your underarms as it’s an anti-inflammatory, the baking soda neutralizes odors, and the essential oils also combat bacteria and make you smell oh-so-nice. Plus the spray aspect gives a wonderful cooling sensation on those hot hot days.

All together this product cost less than 5 bucks! What a steal!

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Note: This is NOT an antiperspirant. I am a firm believer that our bodies know how to take care of themselves and I am not about to get in the way of a process that cleanses and detoxifies our bodies.

UPDATE: Today I put this deodorant to the ultimate test. I went for a 2 mile run in 95 degree weather (call me crazy) and then did a full ab workout with lots of pushups and some weight lifting. I was completely drenched by the end and guess what? I was B.O. free! This stuff is serious business and I am SO happy with how effective it is!

Invisalign: 9 Tips and Tricks for Success!

Growing up I never had braces, or much dental work to be entirely honest. I think I may have gone in for a cleaning maybe 5 times in my entire life. I know, kinda gross right? The times I did go I always LOVED it though! And to this day I get a small thrill from sitting in that big comfy chair awaiting some tools being prodded around in my mouth. I know I know I’m one of THOSE sick people that loves the dentist.

However I have been blessed with pretty awesome sturdy teeth (thanks Mom!) and have only had 1 teeny tiny cavity. Which I got filled at a natural homeopathic dentist who did it WITHOUT using those horrific mercury filllings. Seriously, if you have mercury fillings go get them taken out and replaced IMMEDIATELY! They’re leeching toxic mercury into your system slowly but surely. Not to scare you or anything…

Anywho, my teeth were honestly one of the things I was always most self-conscious about due to their un-straightness. (Is un-straightness even a word? Oh well, it is now!) And we could never afford braces as I was growing up so I simply just learned to deal with it and accept it all the way through high school and partially through college.

Then one magical day I found a Groupon (that magical online place you can basically find anything discounted) for HALF OFF Invisalign treatment! That brought the price-tag down from $7000 to $3500! What a steal so I BEGGED my parents to get it for me as an early birthday gift until they caved.

The Groupon was for Smiles by Design in Carmel Mountain, CA with Dr. Daniel Javaheri. I googled his practice and read every review I could find on him. He passed my online stalking test so I decided he would be great. Now this is not a promotion for him, however, he gave me one of the BEST services I have ever received from a medical/dental professional. He always had a smile on his face and always made sure to remind me that he was there to help me reach my goals, whatever those were; if I was happy, he was happy.

I ended up going through 2 rounds of treatments, and here is how it went down (you’ll find my tips and tricks at the bottom of this post):

Treatment 1: 24 trays, a new set of trays every 2 weeks, about 1 year.

When I got my first trays it was the WEIRDEST sensation having plastic over your teeth all of the time. It also caused me to have a lisp for about a week while I got used to speaking with them in. John-John thought this was hilarious at the time, anything for a good laugh I guess. The only downside was that my gums and the inside of my lips got really irritated and a little cut up from the trays so it was a bit painful to brush and eat for a while until the inside of my mouth got used to the constant contact. Other than that they were totally invisible and I couldn’t have been happier!

Until I got my second round of trays. This time the doctor had to add these little white-buttons in order to give the trays leverage to move my teeth faster. I thought ‘okay this will be fine you still won’t be able to tell I have invisible braces.’ Unfortunately he had to put 2 huge ones on one of my front teeth and a myriad of others all throughout my mouth. I was a little devestated at how odd they looked and it made it much more obvious that I had braces. It took me a while to get used to the buttons, but after a while I started to notice them less and people only saw them if they were really close to me.

After I had finished all of the trays my teeth were still not 100% straight, but dramatically better than from where I had started. The doctor said that the retainer would continue to straighten my teeth and that it would most likely finish the job (PS the retainer was not included in the Groupon and I had to pay an extra $500 for it. Still a great deal I think compared to paying the full price for the whole treatment). So I wore my retainer religiously for a few months, and in my opinion they didn’t change much more. Also the retainer is an even thicker plastic than the normal trays! I thought my gums and lips got cut up before, that was childs play in comparison to the cuts I got from these bad boys! So I went back to the doctor and told him I wasn’t satisfied with the results and he said “no problem let’s get you started on a refinement series!” AT NO ADDITIONAL COST! I was floored; he wasn’t kidding around when he said that he was there to get me the smile I had always wanted.

Treatment 2: Refinement Series, 12 trays, about 6 months.

I had to have some more buttons put on, this time they were much less noticeable than the first round and they really didn’t bother me much after having had the other ones for a full year.

I went through the treatment and when I hit my 10th tray I was about to move to London with my hubby and I needed to get my retainer ASAP and be done with my treatment, after all Dr. Javaheri wouldn’t be able to help me an ocean away. My teeth were nearly 100% straight, but not quite. However I came to the conclusion that having a slightly off smile gave me character and that I was confident enough in my teeth to not feel self-conscious about them any longer. So I asked the doctor to take off my buttons and he had a retainer made for me in a matter of hours. I mean he was incredible and was genuinely happy that I was happy with the results.

Here are some tips and tricks I learned from my experience:

  1. Find a Groupon or some sort of discount. But make sure your dentist is reputable and check their reviews online before commiting!
  2. If your gums and inner lips get irritated from the trays, try swishing your mouth with a tablespoon of coconut oil every morning for 20 minutes (with the trays out of course). This will help the cuts heal more quickly plus the coconut oil is anti-bacterial and soothing.
  3. BRUSH YOUR TRAYS TWICE A DAY! Trust me, those things will get NASTY. Get a toothbrush with really long bristles that will reach deep down into all the nooks and crannies of your trays.
  4. Don’t waste your money on those effervescent denture cleaners. They won’t clean your trays like a solid brushing will.
  5. The doctor will tell you not to eat or drink anything with your trays in. While I agree with the eating part of it, you can totally drink smoothies and coffee with them in. Just make sure the coffee isn’t boiling and you should be good to go! I’ve even eaten bananas and  ice cream with them on and it’s been a-ok!
  6. Always carry your tray case with you. Seriously, the last thing you want to do is lose a set of trays! You have to pay for a new set and wait for them to be made, this sets you back $100 and sets your completion date back too. Carrying your case with you will ensure that when you do to take them out to eat that you don’t lose them in a napkin (I have done this far too many times and have even had to ask my waiter to bring my plate back to retreive the trays I had hidden in my napkin). Whoops!
  7. Wear them AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. The more you wear them, the better they will move your teeth. It’s that simple. The recommendation is 22 hours a day. However, I had a few nights (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) where I left them out for 4 hours or more so that I could eat, drink, and relax without worrying about taking my trays out every 5 minutes. And to be honest I don’t think it set me back at all. They will hurt really badly when you put them back in at the end of the night but it is was well worth it to have freedom for a night
  8. At the beginning you will be super self-conscious about taking your trays out in public. You have to make a really awkward face in order to get your fingernails in the right place to pop them out and it can be a little embarassing. You’ll soon get over this and become a ninja who can take out his/her trays in a matter of seconds without anyone noticing.
  9. Stick with it because the end results will so be worth it! ❤

Have any of you had success stories with Invisalign? Any horror stories? Share them in the comments below!

My 10 Favorite Ways to Use Coconut Oil

So I know this post is a little late on the coconut oil bandwagon, however I have been amazed to run into people who still haven’t discovered the incredible versatility and health benefits of this wonder oil!

As soon as I experienced all the benefits first-hand I immediately become the coconut oil ambassador of the world and have been spewing facts left and right, like how it’s high in lauric acid and how it has anti-bacterial properties and how it is the ruler of the beauty DIY world.

So I thought I would share with you my top 10 favorite ways to use coconut oil!

(Be sure to purchase organic, virgin, cold pressed oil for the highest quality!)

  1. Cooking
    • Coconut oil has a much higher burning point than other oils such as olive or grapeseed, making it a more effective choice when making stir frys and such. Plus it adds the slightest coconut flavor to your foods which makes things oh so delicious! (An amazing replacement for butter as you still get that satiating feeling without the dairy!)
  2. Butter Replacement in Baking
    • You can replace butter with coconut oil in just about any recipe with a 1:1 ratio to make your baked goods so much healthier and nice and moist (I know I know it’s a gross word but I think it’s acceptable when in reference to yummy baked goods!). This way you are getting all the heart friendly unsaturated fats and lauric acid coconut oil has to offer while slashing the not so heart healthy butter!
  3. Sunburn Relief
    • I swear by this remedy whenever I’ve had a little too much fun in the sun: shower with lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser, followed by a rub down of apple cider vinegar on a cotton pad, moisturize with aloe vera gel, and then seal in the moisture and replenish the lipids in your skin with a layer of coconut oil. Your sunburn will vanish by morning! The coconut oil is particularly soothing and is really restorative for the skin!
  4. Oil Pulling
    • This is a great treatment for your oral health if you have bad breath, receding gums, or just as a way to pull out toxins from your body! It’s also been known to cure headaches and help people with depression. It even whitens your teeth as an added bonus! Just take a heaping tablespoon of oil and swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes first thing in the morning or on an empty stomach. Make your breakfast or go about getting ready for your day and then when you’re done spit it out in the trash (not the sink!) and rinse your mouth out with some warm water. You can read more about oil-pulling here.
  5. DIY Toothpaste
    • Mix together some coconut oil, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, liquid stevia, and peppermint oil and you’ve got yourself some toothpaste that’s free from any icky chemicals and leaves your mouth super fresh and clean!
  6. DIY Face/Body Scrub
    • Simply mix together some brown sugar and melted coconut oil together to have yourself a delicious scrub that will purge your skin of any dead skin cells and leaving you fully moisturized and smooth! (you can add essential oils for a boost)
  7. Personal Lubricant
    • So….I’m going there. But most of us do the “deed” and have you ever read the back of a lube bottle?! It’s a bit horrifying to be putting so many chemicals up in your lady/man bits. Switch out that yucky lube with some coconut oil for your play time! (Health PSA: Coconut oil DOES NOT work with latex condoms.)
  8. Rashes/Bug Bites
    • Coconut oil is anti-bacterial which makes it a wonder for healing things such as pimples, bug bites, rashes, or any sort of fungal skin condition. Just slather it on straight from the bottle!
  9. Smoothie Booster
    • Adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to your smoothie gives it a healthy fat boost, making you feel more satiated! Plus it has been shown that eating a tablespoon of coconut oil a day actually helps keep your stomach flatter! Eating fat DOES NOT mean you will get fat people. Just make sure you’re eating healthy ones!
  10. Hair Mask
    • Heat up about 1/4 cup of coconut oil until melted and warmed through and apply to dry hair. Focus on massaging the scalp and roots and then work your way through your strands and focus on the ends. Leave on for 15-30 minutes and shampoo/condition to reveal incredibly smooth and shiny hair!

So there you have it! 10 ways to use coconut oil in your everyday life. Hopefully some of these will help you make a step towards leading a healthier and happier life!

Post in the comments below your favorite ways to use coconut oil!