Saturday, December 10, 2016

How I Keep my Teeth White

*Thank you to Colgate for sponsoring this post

The first thing I notice about someone is not their eyes (nor their outfit haha), but their smile! A person's smile says so much about them, that's why it's important to me to have a bright, white smile (and to keep it that way!). Even if you've had a professional whitening, there are some steps you can take to keep them white. Today I'm sharing some tips for how I keep my teeth white... 

Use a Whitening Product
For the past month I have been testing out the Colgate Optic White Toothbrush + Whitening Pen. The cool thing about this product is that it's a whitening pen and toothbrush all in one (the whitening pen fits into the handle of the toothbrush) - the reason I LOVE this is because you can whiten your teeth in less than two minutes a day. I'm so busy with work/life right now that I don't have time to schedule a professional whitening or even to sit for an hour with teeth whitener on my teeth at home. The whitening pen is brilliant because you apply it to your teeth right after brushing and then go on with your day. Not only does it save me time, but it's also easy and fuss free! 

Chew Sugarless Gum
The physical act of chewing increases the flow of saliva to your mouth - which can actually keep your teeth white. Increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on your teeth. Try chewing a stick of sugarless gum after every meal for whiter, brighter teeth. 

Use a Whitening Toothpaste
Regular, non-whitening toothpastes are designed to remove some surface stains and improve the health of your mouth, while whitening toothpastes typically contain stronger ingredients that remove even more surface stains. 

Use a Straw & Drink Water
A lot of drinks can stain your teeth - coffee, red wine and dark sodas, to name a few. Dentists have said that if the liquid can stain a white cotton T-shirt, then it can stain your teeth! Try drinking these beverages with a straw to avoid staining your front teeth. And when you're done drinking your coffee, drink a glass of water to help rinse away whatever has stuck to your teeth.

FYI, you can buy the Colgate Optic White Toothbrush + Whitening Pen from Target!

Happy Saturday, everyone! xoxo

Friday, December 9, 2016

Baby It's Cold Outside

Sole Society black booties c/o also love THESE from Sole Society
double pom hat // Louis Vuitton neverfull, buy it pre-owned HERE

It has been FREEEZING in North Carolina this week... every time I leave the house I have to have either a hat or gloves (not pictured: huge puffer coat that I wore over this!). I am loving beanies in general but this one with double pom-poms is just too adorable. I think this trend originally started in Europe 'cause I've been seeing all these cute European girls wear them on instagram! I ordered this one off Amazon - just search for "double pom beanie" and a bunch should come up. I also want to point out these black booties from Sole Society. I love the pointed toe because they make your legs look sooo long!

What do you guys have planned for this weekend?! I am a little stressed because I said "yes" to too many things so every second of my weekend is PACKED. But it's all fun stuff :) 


Thursday, December 8, 2016

15+ Winter Outfit Ideas

Happy Thursday, friends! Today I thought I'd do a major Instagram roundup since I haven't in a while... if you have a question about sizing or any of the items I'm wearing, let me know in the comments! 

cross back sweater (sold out), very similar HERE // black leggings // black wedge boots (on sale!)

faux leather leggings // similar black booties HERE and HERE

Vince Camuto booties, similar HERE // Louis Vuitton Neverfull, get it pre-owned HERE

black pants (on sale!!) // similar black booties HERE and HERE

light blue beanie // bell sleeve sweater // Louis Vuitton Neverfull, get it pre-owned HERE

ASOS coat (sold out), similar HERE and HERE // similar beanie

Stuart Weitzman highland boots, high quality dupes HERE & HERE 

As you can see, I'm loving booties, boots, scarves and beanies - anything to keep me a little warmer (yet still fashionable) in the freezing weather. I am also really really loving white pants! I think I've only worn "regular" jeans twice in the past month - who am I??! ;)

Let me know if you have questions!


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My Winter Night-Time Routine (+ Skincare!)

I thought it would be fun and different to share my night-time routine in today's blog post! I don't know why but I always love learning about other people's morning and night routines. I find a lot of comfort in routines, and a relaxing night routine can calm you right before bed and help you sleep a lot better at night. I've always been an extreme night owl, staying up into the wee hours of the morning to get my homework done, answer emails or write blog posts. However for the past year I've really been working hard to change this! Now 9 o'clock rolls around and I'm yawning and ready for bed. Anyway, let's get started!

The first thing I do when I start winding down for bed is make a hot cup of tea. This is so wonderful in the Winter months because it warms you from inside out! Right now I'm really loving this organic Chamomile with Lavender tea - there's no caffeine in it, so you don't have to worry abut it keeping you up at night, plus it tastes amazing and has a very calming effect. (I buy mine at my local Harris Teeter!)

Next step: changing into my pajamas! I love these reindeer slippers for my feet, and whatever pajamas I have on, I always wear this super fuzzy robe on top (it's the one I always wear on snapchat :) I also really love wearing fuzzy socks at night... I always kick them off in the middle of the night, but my feet get cold easily and it feels good to wear them when I get in bed. I blogged about these before and recommend them - they really feel like butter on your feet!

After I'm all cozied up in my pajamas, fuzzy socks and robe, it's time for skincare. I didn't used to be big on skincare, but the older I get the more I realize what a difference it can make in your skin and how you age. Twice I week I use my Clarisonic Mia to wash my face, which is truly phenomenal at taking off makeup and cleaning your skin. I've noticed a big difference in pore size since I started using it... not only are my pores smaller but my skin feel a hundred times softer. The great thing about this product is that it cleans so deeply that whatever moisturizers or serums you apply afterward really soak into your face, so you get their full benefits. (Side note: the one I have is smaller than the normal one and easier to travel with - it would also make a great Christmas gift). I follow up with THIS moisturizer afterward - if you have dry skin in the Winter, this product is a game changer. It's really lightweight, contains no harsh chemicals but also hydrates better than any moisturizer I've ever used. 

On the other nights that I don't use my Clarisonic Mia, I stick to this oil cleanser and this moisturizer. I started using this duo back in the spring and have since re-ordered them three or four times (you can read all about how these products changed my life in this blog post). This combination just works really well for my skin and keeps my face both clear of acne and hydrated. 

Once per week I also like using a mask, whether it's a hydrating sheet mask or one specifically targeted to a skin issue. Whenever I'm having a breakout (during that time of the month) I have found that this clearing mask works AMAZINGLY well. It was clinically developed to fight breakouts and black and white heads and really works. I sometimes use it as a spot treatment if I don't want to treat my whole face, and I always follow it up with this moisturizer afterward.

After skincare, I'll take my contacts out, floss, brush my teeth and then get into bed. I keep Dior's creme de rose lip balm on my nightstand and slather my lips with it before bed. I hate hate hate waking up in the middle of the night with chapped lips, so this is a lifesaver! The reason I like the Dior one so much is because of the scent - it's a wonderful, calming smell and very relaxing when you are curled up in bed. For the next 10 to 15 minutes I usually read a book - I try not to use my phone before bed, but I do read books on my phone. My compromise is turning my phone to airplane mode so that I won't be tempted to check social media, and then turn the book to "night mode" so it's a black screen with white writing. A brightly lit screen can stimulate your brain and make you stay awake longer! (By the way, the book I'm reading right now is SO GOOD it might be even better than the ones in my last book review! Let me know if you want another!)

And finally, my last step before I fall asleep is turning on my essential oil diffuser. I buy all my essential oils from Whole Foods instead of ordering them online, but Amazon does carry this brand. My favorite for bedtime is "Peaceful Sleep" which contains orange, tangerine, lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang, and sandalwood oil. I also mix this with pure lavender oil because I love lavender! I put 10 drops of each into the essential oil diffuser and turn it on right before I fall asleep. It's not an overpowering or overwhelming scent at all, it's so calming and really does help me fall asleep and have a more peaceful sleep. 

Your turn! I'd love to hear something in your night-time routine that helps calm or soothe you. Let me know in the comments :)


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Sweater I Wear Over & Over...

Stuart Weitzman highland boots, high quality dupes HERE & HERE 
Rayban aviator sunglasses // Chanel lipstick #145

Sooo if you follow me on instagram you may have noticed that I can't stop wearing this off shoulder sweater! It's incredibly comfortable and I just adore the chunky knit texture. I've worn it with both over-the-knee boots and booties... it looks cute with either! It also comes in navy, which I'm tempted to order also, haha. Also - I'm sorry for wearing white pants so much lately! I got REALLY tired of wearing my regular jeans so these are a nice alternative and they brighten up a typical dreary winter outfit.

By the way... a new episode of "up and vanished" came out last night *heart eye emoji* I know what I"m doing first thing this morning! If you missed it last week I shared that "up and vanished" is my new favorite podcast. :)



Monday, December 5, 2016

Three Easy Winter Meals (Boyfriend-Approved!)

Three easy winter meals
waterfall knit sweater // white tank // white pants

There's something so wonderful and comforting about a warm, healthy dinner in the winter when it's freezing cold outside. For the past couple of months I've been trying to cook dinner (almost) every weeknight, and in the process I've discovered some really amazing, healthy recipes. There have been some recipes we've fallen in love with (and some we haven't), but today I thought I'd share mine and my boyfriend's top three meals. My boyfriend Chris is a typical guy and loves any recipe with lots of meat and lots of flavor - so all three of these have his stamp of approval. And the best part is - all three are very easy to make and very healthy!

Let's get started...

Skinny Baked Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas - so easy and incredibly flavorful

The first recipe is mine and Chris's favorite of all time.  The thing that makes this meal so easy is that you basically put all of the ingredients on a sheet pan (even the raw chicken) and it all bakes together.   I cook everything on aluminum foil so I don't even dirty the pan. The chicken is SO FLAVORFUL I can't even put it into words! It hardly needs any toppings. We both add Greek yogurt to ours, but you don't even need cheese - they're so flavorful on their own. This recipe makes enough for two people, so if you're cooking for an entire family you'll want to double the recipe. Chris asks me to make this almost every single week - it's his favorite!

Skinny Baked Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas via The Cookie Rookie
- 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
- 3/4 cup diced roma tomatoes (or 1/2 can drained diced tomatoes)
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
- 2 large bell peppers (you can use green, red, yellow, or all three)
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (plus extra for topping)
- 1 (1 oz) packet Fajita seasoning
- 4 medium tortillas 

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over a pan or 9x13 baking dish
2. Mix together the tomatoes, onion, and peppers and place on the pan
3. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, fajita seasoning and chopped cilantro. Toss in the chicken and stir until fully coated.
4. Place the coated chicken into the baking dish with the vegetables. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked fully and vegetables are fork tender.
5. With about 8 minute left, wrap the tortillas in foil and place them in the oven to warm them.
6. Serve with warmed tortillas, greek yogurt and cilantro. (You can also add shredded cheese but we think they are flavorful enough on their own!)

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili - perfect for a winter night and makes lots of leftovers!

This next recipe is another Winter favorite - slow cooker turkey chili! I like using turkey because it's a little leaner and healthier - and Chris can't taste the difference at all (the first time I made this for him, I didn't tell him it was turkey and he never knew!). You can literally throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and then forget about it all day - and then at dinnertime, voila! It's ready. I love making this on cold or rainy days because it's extra comforting and delicious. AND it makes tons of leftovers! I freeze half the leftovers and put the rest in the fridge for lunches.

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili via Allrecipes

- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 (10.75) can low sodium tomato soup
- 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis
- 2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Pain Greek yogurt (for topping)
- Shredded Cheddar cheese (for topping)

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place the turkey in the skillet and cook until evenly brown; drain.
2. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray and mix in turkey, tomato soup, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans and onion. Season with chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper and salt.
3. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. 
4. Top with Greek yogurt and shredded cheese. Enjoy!

Slow cooker fajita & quinoa soup

This next one I discovered through my mom. She made it for dinner a few weeks ago when I was visiting Charlotte, and I knew I had to make it for me and Chris! This recipe is another slow cooker one, you put all the ingredients in and then let it simmer all day. It's incredibly healthy and filling, and also reheats really well for leftovers. It has 10 grams of fiber and 29 grams of protein per serving - that's incredible. The only "complaint" that both Chris and I had was that we thought it could use a few more spices, even some jalapeƱos (both Chris and I like spicy foods). I'm putting the original recipe down below, so feel free to experiment by adding more spices or some diced jalapeƱos on top.

Slow Cooker Fajita & Quinoa Soup via Eat Yourself Skinny

- 1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 3 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (4.5 oz) can green chiles
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1.5 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Cilantro, chopped (for topping)
- Avocado, sliced (for topping)
- Shredded cheese (for topping)

1. In a 6-quart slow cooker, place raw chicken breasts at the bottom of the dish and add the rest of the ingredients on top. Cover and place on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
2. Remove chicken and shred with two forks, then add back to slow cooker. Season with additional salt and seasonings if needed.
3. Spoon soup into bowls and top with favorite toppings. Enjoy!

If you have any other easy dinner meals for Winter, let me know in the comments! :)