Smile Brilliant Review and Giveaway

As most people know, I like coffee.  As in I drink it almost every day. As much as I wish coffee didn’t stain your teeth, it does. 

Recently, I had the chance to try Smile Brilliant. Smile Brilliant is an easy to use, smooth, custom fitted whitening system.  

Spoiler: They work well as my parents asked if I stopped drinking coffee and I have received multiple compliments on my teeth.

A bit different review than running shoes, or fitness products, but Smile Brilliant was kind enough to send me a complimentary system and who doesn’t want whiter teeth?

What is Smile Brilliant?

A professional, custom whitening treatment that you can use in your own home.  Prior to Smile Brilliant being on the market, a custom fitted tray system was only available at the dentist office.  At the dentist office, these systems can cost upwards of 500-1000 dollars.

How does Smile Brilliant Work?

To get a custom fit, Smile Brilliant sends you a kit that includes: Base and Catalyst Paste to make your impressions. 

Followed by all of the equipment you need to make it.  It reminds me of going to the orthodontist and getting your lifelong retainer.  After following the directions, it molds to your teeth, and you send it back so they can make your customized mold.

First, you mix the pastes together and then press them into the plastic trays. Like when you got a retainer made (if you did), you place them in your mouth, bite down for 2+ minutes and then remove.

You will make your own impressions, but if LOLZ can do it, believe me, it’s fairly simple.  Smile Brilliant also gives you an extra mix in case you mess up.smile brilliant teeth whitening

Then you just have to mail them back in the prepaid mailer and Smile Brilliant will create your molds and send them back to you.  For me, it took less than 2 weeks for my custom molds and get started.

Realistically it’s all about Results:

First and essential, the custom molds fit my teeth perfectly. I kept them in without noticing, and they didn’t fall out or irritate my mouth. I also didn’t feel as though I was forcing them to stay in or it was a burden to do.  Like anyone, I want whiter teeth, but I don’t want to feel hassled while doing so!  This was never an issue.

I’ve tried a few whitening systems where I felt like I was focused on keeping them in and was aware of the trays in my mouth. Smile Brilliant recommends keeping the trays in for a couple of hours, and I was able to do that with no issues.  Typically, I put them in in the evenings when I was relaxing.

smile brilliant teeth whitening

After using the whitening gel.  They also include a “desensitizing gel” to use for about 15 after your sessions.  The first few sessions, I definitely felt as though I needed it, but afterward, I did not.  While I still used it, I didn’t feel as though my teeth or gums were more sensitive to using the system!

Did I notice a change?  You Bet!  I had several people, including relatives, ask if I had stopped drinking coffee or gotten something done with my teeth.  I’m happy with my results, and it’s a system I will continue to use.  You are able to continue buying more gel when needed!

Posting extremely close up photos of my teeth is not what I dream of, but it does show results.

Smile Brilliant

If you are looking for something easy and simple to enhance your teeth, I would recommend Smile Brilliant.

Smile Brilliant sent the kit to use, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Plus, the photos are untouched, and results speak for themselves.

Deals and a Giveaway: 

I have a 10% coupon code for you: Fueledbylolz10

You can enter the Giveaway to win your own Smile Brilliant kit here
It’s open for 1 week and will end on Friday, November 17th.

Questions for you:
Have you ever used a Teeth Whitening System? 
Are you a coffee or tea drinker?


//www.smilebrilliant.com/widget-article/fueledbylolz

Runners World Festivities Recap

The Runners World Festival is one of my favorite weekends of the year.  I was lucky enough to participate in both 2015 and 2016 too.  Every year as I leave, I drive up the steep hill out of Bethlehem thinking: “Could this have been any more fun?” and it’s surprised me each time.

The short version recap is: I had, even more, fun in 2017, how that is possible, I’m not sure.

I was able to participate again as an influencer.  As an influencer, we arrived in Bethlehem the Thursday before, and receive a tour of Runners World and dinner with the editors.

The Runner’s World Organic Café has delicious food and to be honest if I worked there, I don’t know if I would ever come home with a paycheck because I would eat there all of the time.

Runners World Festival

We made salad bowls with grilled chicken, green goddess dressing, and roasted vegetables.

Friday was jam-packed, and we were out of the hotel at 6:45 am.  Typically, I’m running at home by then.  We did a shakeout run with a good friend Suzanne and Ryan Hall.  It was about 30 minutes, relaxed and I didn’t even bring a watch.  We stopped and took a photo with the sun.

Runners World Festival

Photo Credit Marty D.

After that, we met at the Steelstacks and the Altra founder: Golden Harper gave us a briefing on how Altra came to be.  He described creating the first Altra shoes in his toaster oven and how the term “zero drop” came about.  It’s a fascinating seminar, and if you ever get the chance to hear from him personally, I highly recommend it.

Runners World Festival Altra Clinic

As someone who works in a running store, I nerd out to it anyway, but Altra shoes are unique in many different ways.  They are foot shaped and allow the toes to spread out as feet naturally do and are balanced front to back with the same amount of cushion in the front of the shoe as well as the back.  You can read my recent review of the Altra Escalante here.

After that, Golden gave us a clinic on form and running more efficiently.  It’s always a useful clinic and a few of his tips such as a higher arm swing has helped me throughout racing.

After that, we had lunch and listened to the Mayor Running, himself, Bart Yasso discussed his new book Race Everything.

Bart is retiring after 30 years, and it is always such a treat to have him talk to us and listen to his stories.  He gave a powerful speech about various times he has connected with people and it made me tear up.  You never know how you are influencing someone.

Finally, we checked out the expo and picked up our bibs.  I always appreciate the unique and smaller companies at Runners World.  This year anyone doing the hat trick 5k/10k/13.1 received a hat, and anyone doing the Grand Slam 3.8 trail race/5k/10k/13.1 received a nice backpack.

Influencers were also given a tote bag filled with goodies such as socks and fun gear.  They even gave us a free one to give to readers.  All you have to do is comment with someone that has influenced or inspired you and why.  Winner will be chosen over the weekend and announced Monday.

After that, we prepared for the weekend of races. I left Friday feeling inspired by meeting so many different bloggers and Runners World Editors.

I’ll recap both the 5k and the 13.1 in the following days.

Wedding Updates: I have a Planner

As promised I will do a few more wedding posts.  In all honesty, although Tim and I have been engaged for nearly 2 months, we barely have anything set in stone.

We have a lot of ideas and appointments but nothing is exact at this point.  Both of us are laid back and we don’t want to feel rushed planning a wedding.  Plus I (personally) think part of the fun of being engaged is actually being engaged and planning the wedding.  Not rushing, stressing and trying to get it all done in one night.  If you finished planning a wedding in a month, then you have a few more to do nothing.

We plan to get married sometime April 2015.

While I haven’t found a venue I love yet, we have found a wedding planner (person) that we do.  Hopefully between her and an actual book we will be good to go.

When I worked in Oswego, I used an Erin Condren Design planner to keep track of appointments, work and running.  It was perfect for doing that.  When we got engaged, the one thing I did want to do was order a planner to keep on track.

I was ecstatic to work with Erin Condren and they provided me a $50 coupon code to buy a wedding planner.  (my planner ended up costing 65 with shipping so I payed 15).erincondrenweddingplanner4

After receiving the planner, I immediately noticed a 10 off coupon (good because I’ll need a life planner when they come out in June), as well as sample stickers and some great quote stickers.  All of which I like a lot.

erincondrenweddingplanner5

There are a few things I look for in any planner:

  1. A monthly calendar (more important then weekly for me, I like to see long term and things as a whole)
  2. Space for a lot of notes and writing
  3. A spiral binding
  4. Thick paper because I write in pen

Again these are things I like…maybe you don’t.

Here is the question I received when I had the life planner from coworkers:

Is it worth the price?

So much space for note taking.

So much space for note taking.

For an Erin Condren planner with shipping, it will be about 50-65 dollars.  Honestly, it is worth the price.  The planner has everything you need and it built for function.  I got so much use out of my life planner that I won’t go back to a target planner.   I have a feeling the Wedding planner will be the same way but I’ll let you know after I’m married (that is a scary thought).

A to do list.  I need that.

A to do list. I need that.

I don’t review a lot of products on my blog and I don’t review any products that I don’t feel strongly about.  I feel strongly that Erin Condren planners are worth their price tag.

That being said they have also offered me a 50 dollar coupon code for you. 

Because my blog is not self hosted I’ll have to do the commenting version of entering the contest. 

Here are all the ways to enter (please leave a comment saying you did so.  If you already follow me or Erin Condren just leave a comment for each entry):

  1. Leave a comment saying how you keep organized.
  2. Like LOLZ page on facebook.
  3. Follow Erin Condren on twitter and like on facebook
  4. Follow LOLZ on twitter.
  5. Share on any social media platform (you can tweet, share on facebook, or whatever just please comment you did so.  You can do this however may times you want).  You could get 10000 entries if you are that into sharing contests.

A random winner will be chosen and announced on June 6th.

 

I bought my original life planner for 65.  I received a coupon code for 50 dollars for a wedding planner.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Lake Effect Series Final Wrap Up

I am sad this is the last post regarding the Lake Effect Series.  I have had nothing but a great time fundraising and spreading awareness for Eating Disorders.  The support I received from friends and family as well as strangers has been overwhelming.  I will truly never forget this experience.

Before the race Ophelia’s Place shared that this race contributes 10% of their annual budget.  Every single dollar and donation truly does make a difference.  It is so hard for me to believe that together we raised 2500 dollars. There were over 70 donors.  Wow! 

Left to right: Heather, Laura, me, Brittany

Left to right: Heather, Laura, me, Brittany

 

If you haven’t already please go read some or all of the incredible stories.  These stories are truly amazing and show the incredible courage and bravery of the authors.  They will always remain on my blog under the “reads” section.

After adding everyone into the giveaway (donors, story sharers and those who shared the link to the giveaway or stories) I came up with 3653 entries to the giveaway!  I drew the numbers from random.org and ended up with these.

The race director and I

The race director and I

Without further ado here are the winners and thank you again.

KIND BARS: 2912 The Writer of the post “Binge Eating”(anonymous)

Pocket Fuel and Energy Bits 2355 Package 1: Jacqueline Klayman

Pocket Fuel and Energy Bits 1037 Package 2: Mike Post

Lindsay’s Healthy Bites: 962 Alex at Runwithin

Allie’s Hearty Handful Granola:  1202 Ashley Fincher

**Please email me and I will connect you as appropriate.

———-

Summary:

This whole experience was eye opening for me. It truly made me realize that we do possess the ability to make a change or a difference.  Every dollar donated, whether it was 1 dollar or 100 added up to 2500 dollars.  I can honestly say this was one of my biggest accomplishments in my life. I truly cannot thank the support of family, friends, readers and anonymous donors.  It was a great experience for me and I am truly glad that I ran this race.  To answer your question: I do plan to run the Lake Effect Half Marathon every year I am close enough to Upstate NY.

lakeffectwin

No questions today.  I just want to express how truly grateful I am for all the support from every single person. 

Lake Effect Series: I’m Healthy Now

Note from Hollie: Today is the day that I run the Lake Effect Half Marathon.  It is hard to believe this is the result of three months of fundraising and eating disorder awareness.  We did it though.  We raised over 2500 dollars and we raised even more awareness about eating disorders.  Thank you everyone for your support.  It’s not too late to donate or enter the giveaway.  I will be doing a final post sometime this week to recap the campaign as a whole, announce giveaway winners and provide a final closure.  It has truly been an incredible experience and I never would have dreamed we would have raised 2500 dollars together. 

The final story is the most emotional and the most graphic.  Thank you for sharing.

———–

When Hollie asked me to share my eating disorder story, I jumped at the chance. Of course I’d help. After all, having a distorted relationship with my body and with food is all in the past. I’m healthy now. I’ve moved on. I’m recovered. Sometimes it’s hard to put yourself into the mindset of someone who has an eating disorder, even if that someone was just you at a younger age. Luckily, I happened to have kept an online diary during some of my darker years, and the entriesserve as a constant reminder of what that life was like, and how miserable it was. Some of the entries are truly heart breaking, and are hard to read, but I’ve included a few passages to paint a better picture of just how distorted your head can get when you’re suffering from an eating disorder.

Like so many others, my issues with food evolved over many, many years. At age 8, I determined that my thighs were too fat, and by age 10 I was trying out my first fad diet (Cabbage Soup). I’ll never forget going to McDonald’s with my friend’s family and passing on French fries. I felt triumphant; as if I belonged to a special society of people who were too good to put such trash in their bodies.

“I like going to bed with my stomach empty. Makes me feel…less like a failure”

During my adolescent years, I slowly started on the downward spiral towards food obsession. I went on numerous fad diets, counted calories and fat grams, skipped meals, went on fasts and eventually even tried to make myself throw up. At first I considered vomiting only as a last resort. Something I’d do in “emergency” situations where I had eaten something unplanned and “bad.” Most days I’d restrict my calories to practically nothing, only to binge on whatever I could find once I got home from school. Then, as I could feel my stomach churn at the presence of food, I’d rush to the bathroom in a panic, intent on removing as much of the offending substance as I could. But I hated puking. It was logistically difficult to manage while living with parents and it was just plain gross. There is nothing glamorous about vomit. I kept hoping that if I could just get a control on my diet, then I wouldn’t need to throw up anymore. If I could just get my weight low enough, then I wouldn’t need to diet at all. But the weight didn’t drop off like I wanted to, and instead, primarily due to my horrific eating habits, it increased.

“I want to see skin hanging off my bones. It’ll make me feel like my skin is more like a large sack and I can hide in it” 

My downward spiral continued into my first year of college. Surrounded by thin, beautiful, attractive classmates, I became painfully aware of everything that I was not. My body image plummeted, and I found myself increasingly turning to food to numb how I lonely and depressed I felt. I’d go to the dining hall and pack a to-go carton FULL of food. Starches were my favorites. Garlic bread, pizza, cookies, hot dogs, cakes, bagels. Not to mention drink containers filled with frozen yogurt and soft-serve ice cream. I’d sit in my dorm room alone and eat and eat and eat until my stomach literally couldn’t distend any further. Then I’d head to the bathroom where I’d wait until I knew I was alone and I’d vomit everything out. Over time I learned which foods came up the easiest, and which ones were difficult. I learned how to be quick and how to be quiet. I concealed my secret very well, but to my despair, my weight refused to drop, and instead, continued to increased.

“I feel like I’m falling apart. I’ve really come to detest what I’ve turned into. Physically, I’m really gross. I can’t even describe it. AHH! I can’t handle myself anymore! It’s like I’m teetering on the edge of this huge cliff. If I let myself go then I’ll plummet back into the world of extreme depression and unattractiveness. If I can manage to get myself on stable grounds then I’ll be okay but I’m just sort of handing there, my fingers grasping at the rim. But they’re losing their grip and I see it all just slipping away. My face.My hair.My ideal body.My grades.My friends.My future. I don’t know what to do. It’s like I’m too far gone. It’s too bad they can’t put me into solitary confinement for a month so that I can just slowly wither up and die. Or at least get thin.”

A couple of months into my sophomore year, I hit a breaking point. I couldn’t say exactly what changed, but something inside me snapped. I stopped eating.  I lost all focus on school or relationships and instead became entirely fixated on my weight. I weighed myself almost hourly, making sure that I didn’t magically gain a pound when I wasn’t looking. I hardly ate anything and what I did eat I immediately threw up. My hands couldn’t stop feelingmy hips, stomach, thighs, and collarbones, searching out for areas that felt thinner or bonier. I’d try on and retry on clothes to see if they fit any looser than the day before.

“I hate the way I can’t think about food normally. I hate how I can’t stand the way it feels inside me. I hate the way my mood is so dependent on those three digits the scale reads. I hate how throwing up doesn’t seem like a bad idea to me. But I couldn’t imagine living any other way. This way of thinking is too infused with my way of thinking. So throwing up food isn’t particularly good to a number of my body systems, but it gives me some sort of mental comfort, like some sort of accomplishment. Sick? Yes. But I can’t stop. If I did what would I do?”

By that spring, I had lost about 30lbs over the course of 3-4months. I was feeling good and in control. I just wanted to lose a little bit more.If I could just lose a little more, then I could give myself permission to be happy, because only then would I be worthy enough.But while my weight was still well within the normal range, the weight loss began to attract attention. My parents became suspicious and shortly thereafter figured out what was going on. I would like to say this was the point at which I finally got help, finally started getting better, but that was still a long ways off. Instead, I was forced to see a social worker and then a therapist. I know my parents were only doing what they thought was best, but I was not in the right mindset to receive help, and instead I resented them for it, and quit going shortly after only a couple of sessions.

“I have so much emotion stored up in me and I HATE having it come out. Crying is weak and therefore I am weak. I detest weak people. I want to be strong and resilient and independent and not need anybody but I’m nothing like that. But food helps me pretend. It gives me a focus. By constantly focusing on weight and good I can take my mind off everything else that I hate about myself. Because if my weight was perfect, then I’d have to find some other part of me that wasn’t and try to fix that too. Because there has to be a reason I’m so messed up. There has to be something wrong with me. But I can only fix one problem at a time because otherwise I’ll get so depressed and frustrated I’ll just give up and succumb to the sadness.”

Over the next year and half, I continued to struggle with my eating. I frequently found myself in debt after spending entire paychecks on food that would be gone in a night. I isolated myself from friends and avoided social situations, but I also became increasingly frustrated and angry with my situation. I hated that I had become so controlled by food, and gradually I tried to release myself from its grasp, which was of course easier said than done. I’d start off Monday promising myself I’d eat healthy and nutritious and in moderation, but by Friday I’d be consuming an extra-large pizza by myself. It seemed hopeless. I was hopeless.

“I’m sick of this. I’m sick of binging. I’m sick of throwing money in the toilet. I’m sick of wondering when I’ll get my next “fix”. What it will be, when and where I’ll do it. I’m like a drug addict.”

However, I did make tiny steps towards progress. With graduation looming, and threats from parents, I finally decided to commit to getting better. I bought myself a book on recovering from bulimia as well as a few books on intuitive eating. Despite appearances, I was still a somewhat rational person and knew that I needed some nutrition. So I started there. In between my massive binge/purge sessions I’d force myself to have an apple, or maybe some carrots, and let that sit in my stomach, repeating to myself over and over that while uncomfortable, the nutrients were necessary. Using the books as a reference, I relearned how to eat and how to recognize fullness. Once my eating had somewhat stabilized, the real work began. My eating disorder was an excuse for me to ignore some very painful emotions that I had hidden from myself. For years I had believed myself to be unworthy and incapable of so much. Identifying and confronting those beliefs as false has taken years.

“I’m slipping. I can feel my thoughts changing. I’ve been trying to stay so positive and so on top of things but it’s getting too overwhelming. I don’t know if I’m doing things right. It’s like standing on a point and being told by a million different people that in order to reach your goal you should go this way or that way or no this way over here. So you pick one, hoping it will lead you in the right direction, but now you’re feeling even farther away than you started and you being to think you chose the wrong path so you start to doubt everything you’re doing and try to backtrack or maybe hop on another path. But how far do you try out one path before you give up? How long do you go without your goal in sight before you try a different strategy?”

My recovery from an eating disorder, like my descent into it, was a gradual process. I still have days when my demons rear their ugly heads, attempting to lure me back into the darkness. Luckily, I’m stronger now than I once was, and I know how to face them. I still occasionally worry about weight, but I try not to let those worries consume me and my former obsession with food has even evolved into a loveof all things cooking and baking. I guess that a silver lining?

A big thank you to Hollie for letting me share my story with you all. Hopefully you gained a better perspective of what it’s like to be in the mind of someone with an eating disorder. If you have, or are currently suffering from, an eating disorder or eating disordered thoughts, my heart goes out to you. You are worth so much more.

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