At-Home Teeth Whitening Kit : For the On The Go Lifestyle

I’m in the beginning of my career and still adjusting to being a full time adult, working 8-10 hour days in the office. Working in the entertainment industry can be exhausting but I wouldn’t trade it for a thing. I am basically  fueled off of coffee now – it has become a necessity to get through the day/week. As much as I love coffee, one thing that I knew I would eventually have to worry about were coffee stains, who doesn’t love that… I knew I wanted to try and start preventing stains before they started but I didn’t know exactly how.

As easy as it would be to go get my teeth whitened professionally, that was just not something that I could afford financially or could dedicate an hour and a half to 2 hours for the procedure time. I knew I could turn to teeth whitening strips, but that was never something that worked for me or that I saw results from. Needless to say, when Smile Brilliant reached out to me to collaborate in a partnership, I was thrilled! It is never too early to start your teeth whitening journey, and I felt like Smile Brilliant truly contacted me at the right moment. I had heard of Smile Brilliant before, through some of my blogger friends and heard many good things about it, but I needed to do my research and see if they fit my lifestyle.

About Smile Brilliant

Here are the things I learned about Smile Brilliant just by looking at their website:

  • Smile Brilliant is based in the United States
  • They are an At-Home Teeth Whitening kit company
  • The Smile Brilliant team is made up of dental professionals with 30+ years of teeth whitening experience
  • Their teeth whitening trays are custom and fitted for each individual person – both for your bottom and top teeth
  • They are Vegan and Cruelty free

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Creating the Impressions

Once I accepted the partnership with Smile Brilliant, I received my at home kit to mold my custom teeth whitening trays – this process was a little difficult for me because I am such an over thinker and somehow ended up doing it wrong my first try. I had to get more of the base and catalyst in order to do my impressions over again. The second time was a lot easier and my impressions were less droopy. Once I sent in my impressions, it took about a week in a half to receive my custom fitted trays.

Whitening Process

The whitening part was of course, the part I looked forward to the most and honestly was the easiest part of this whole process. When I had gotten my teeth whitened before at my previous job at skincare studio, I experienced a lot of sensitivity and discomfort, even with the sensitive specific formula. Needless to say, I was a little bit nervous about how my teeth would react to Smile Brilliants formula.

The teeth whitening preparation process was so fast and effortless, once you coated the trays with the whitening gel you just had to put the trays on your teeth and it was smooth sailing from there. The whitening trays were so comfortable and fit my teeth/mouth so well, that I forgot I even had them in my mouth. I noticed a little bit of discomfort after the first time I whitened, but after that initial one, the rest of them were a breeze. I started off with short whitening sessions, just 45 minutes each. Once I got comfortable with whitening, I would leave the trays in for about 2 hours. That may soundlike a long time but when you are able to do other things while whitening, like read or doing stuff around the house, the time goes by so fast!

I loved that I was I was able to whiten on my own time! As I mentioned, I work in the entertainment industry so my schedule is pretty hectic and non traditional. That is probably my favorite thing about whitening with Smile Brilliant – it is convenient and effortless!
The whitening kit came with 4 syringes of the whitening gel and 4 syringes of the desensitizing gel. I was able to get about 5 uses from one syringe of both whitening gel and desensitizing gel for both my top and bottom teeth.

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Results

I saw results right away! I was so surprised and impressed by this product and formula. Each time I whitened, the whiter my teeth got, visibly white after each session. That is what made me want to keep continuing whitening because I was excited to see how much whiter my teeth would get after every session. Even though my whitening trial is over with Smile Brilliant, I know I will continue to use the whitening syringes often because I know for a fact I’m going to continue to drink coffee and need to keep trying to prevent those coffee stains.

Guess what?! Now one of you get to try Smile Brilliant too! All you have to do is click this link to enter my giveaway, and if you absolutely can’t wait to purchase then use this code to get 15% off the entire store using this code, “itsxoxoloriallison15”. I definitely recommend Smile Brilliant’s whitening process for a busy on the go lifestyle, but I truly feel like it would fit everyone’s lifestyle!

Please let me know if you have any questions from me about Smile Brilliant or my experience! As always, you can follow along with me on my Instagram.

Xoxo, Lori Allison

Brunch with Lori – Ocho

Havana, oh na-na! 🎢 That is the song that was going through my head today when I visited Ocho.

Happy Sunday Brunch Lovers! Today I finally had the pleasure of visiting Ocho, a little restaurant in Hotel Havana located in downtown San Antonio and along the Riverwalk. If you’ve never heard of this restaurant, I’m pretty positive that you have seen pictures taken here. The blue hues and glass conservatory are iconic and make for such great photos and a Spanish ambiance. (Fun Fact: Did you know Kendra Scott took her catalog pictures here for her Summer ’18 collection here? Check it out here.)

Visiting Ocho and Hotel Havana as a whole truly make you forget that you are even in San Antonio, it feels like you have traveled outside of Texas and gone somewhere of Latin decent, which I feel is one of the things that truly makes this place unique.

Ocho serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and late night snacks. You can enjoy their brunch menu Saturday and Sunday from 10pm-2pm. Another really great thing they offer, is being able to book a reservation online through Open Table directly throughΒ this link. I definitely recommend making a reservation if there are going to be more than 2 people in your party, that way their staff is ready for you and has your table set. My best friend Tessa joined me for brunch and we were definitely not disappointed.

Menu:

Now for the yummy stuff, their menu! Ocho offers dishes of Cuban, Mexican, and Texan influence, they provide their own delicious twist on traditional brunch dishes.

Being that their were so many delicious options to chose from, I had a tough time deciding what to order. I was in between ordering the Fideo Loco and the Bolillo French Toast, both of these are some of my favorite dishes! I decided to order the Fideo Loco because I feel that Fideo is not a common brunch item on menus (I definitely plan on going back to try their French Toast). Tessa ordered the Cuban Hash and Eggs, which looked amazing! Both of our dishes were so tasty and filling.

The Fiedo included – 2 Poached Eggs, Sopa de Fideo, Pinto Beans, Chorizo, Bacon, ChicharrΓ³n Crumble, Pico de Gallo, Cilantro, Queso Fresco, Chile Toreado, Fresh Griddled Tortillas.
I was so happy with my decision to get the Fideo and loved that they included in there, I have a thing for poached eggs in my food. I truly feel like the eggs added a different but tasteful flavor to the typical Fideo Loco many are used to.

The Cuban Hash and Eggs included – 2 Fried Eggs, Cuban Style Pulled Pork, Roasted Potato, Sweet Pepper Sofrito, Diced Ham, Dijon Aioli, Swiss Cheese, Diced EscabΓ¨ch.

Β Ocho is located at a hotel, so there is a designated parking area for hotel guests – the parking lot is a little but narrow (don’t say I didn’t warn you, thank god for backup cameras) but if that parking lot fills up, you can also find parallel parking along the sidewalk behind the hotel. For those who don’t know or are visiting, Sundays are a great day to visit downtown San Antonio because parking along the street is free all day, so you will not have to pay the meters.

Although it was my first time at Hotel Havana and Ocho, it will definitely not be my last. I plan on going back to try more items from their brunch menu, but also plan on trying some of their dinner menu as well. I recommend this place 100% if you are looking to brunch with your friends/family and are wanting brunch but with a Latin twist. Ocho also offers a Happy Hour from 3pm-6pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday and all day on Thursday.

Outfit Details:

Today was a warm and sunny day here in San Antonio, so it was only right to show some leg and bring out this romper. Since I knew Ocho provided some Latin vibes, I was inspired by the red dress woman πŸ’ƒπŸ» emoji and decided to wear one of my favorite rompers from Forever 21. I love this romper because it is so complimenting with the ruffles along the shorts and the sleeves. I feel like everyone needs a great red piece in their wardrobe to feel like a “spicy mami, hot tamale”. I paired this romper with some of my favorite wedges from Sam Edelman and a simple but necessary Debra choker from Kendra Scott.

Disclaimer: I promise you, I steamed this romper before putting it on, but magically on the drive over to the restaurant I wrinkled it up by sitting downπŸ˜…

Thank you for reading this post and following along with me on my brunch journey! Remember to follow me on Instagram and I will see you next time for brunch!

Xoxo, Lori Allison<3

Brunch with Lori – Nola Brunch & Beignets

Happy Sunday ladies & gents!

I am a huge lover of brunch and discovering new restaurants and eateries in my city and new cities I travel to. I wanted to share my love of food and brunch by introducing a new blog post to my blog – Brunch with Lori. In these posts I will be sharing a new & loved brunch places that I visit during my free time.

Today I visited the cutest little brunch spot off of N St. Mary’s Street and King’s Court Street in San Antonio called Nola Brunch & Beignets. I haven’t been to New Orleans yet, but I have heard that this place’s great food is inspired by New Orleans. They brunch Tuesday-Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm.

Nola’s ambiance is very friendly and inviting with it being located in a cozy remodeled house. Since it is located in a busy strip of San Antonio, it is difficult to find parking since it is in the middle of a neighborhood, however you should be able to find parking alongside the sidewalks in front of the houses/buildings. Right when you walk in, you are greeted by the hostess who will check you on their reservation list and register you by phone number. You can either sit out in front of the restaurant and socialize with your friends/family or enjoy the different bars along the St. Mary’s Strip while you wait.

The menu is filled with traditional brunch/breakfast dishes but with their own New Orleans twist. Some items that caught my eye were the Bread Pudding French Toast, the Banana Foster Buttermilk Pancakes, the Creole Fried Steak, and the Chicken & Beignets. I decided to order the Chicken & Beignets because I like a balance between sweet and savory and I must say I was not disappointed!

The plate came with 4 chicken tender pieces and two Beignets – since I had never tried beignets before the waiter gave me one regular beignet and one seasonal beignet, which was a beignet filled with churro syrup. Omg it was delicious! I loved both beignets because they weren’t too sweet and definitely balanced out my plate for sweet part of the sweet & savory I wanted.

My boyfriend decided to get the Cajun Boudin Chilaquiles – those were amazing as well! The usually just come as a small plate, but our waiter was able to upgrade it to a larger plate for him. These were not your traditional chilaquiles, as you can tell but they looked and tasted incredible!

Nolas colorful walls and open lighting made this restaurant so inviting.

I also love how they removed the glass from the windows to make the second room less secluded and love the plants hanging from the top of the window frames.

Top picture: Cajun Boudin Chilaquiles
Bottom picture: Chicken & Beignets

Nola, the restaurant was everything I imagined, it made me so excited/eager to go to the real New Orleans and eat their food!

The food was so unique and delicious, the location was in a great trendy area of San Antonio, and the staff was so great and friendly and offering their recommendations. I definitely want to come back here so I can try the other items on my list and next time, I will be sure to bring my own mimosas to enjoy with the amazing food.

I definitely recommend San Antonio visitors and locals to try this place for brunch – trust me, your tastebuds will not be disappointed!

Thank you for reading this post, I can’t wait for y’all to follow the rest of my brunch journey! Remember to follow me on Instagram and I will see you next time!

Xoxo, Lori Allison πŸ’“

The Art of Ice Cream Experience

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! ~ Okay that was super cheesy, but I’ll tell you what wasn’t – my experience at The Art of Ice Cream in Austin, Texas.

The Art of Ice Cream is an instagramable playground filled with rooms themed of all things – you guessed it – Ice Cream. Who doesn’t love that?

I had seen advertisements for this place on Instagram and knew I needed to make a trip there the next time I was in Austin, and I do not regret it!

There were backdrops for banana splits, popsicle paradise, a milkshake wall, and so much more.

I had been to a place similar to this here, in San Antonio but I must say the people who run The Art of Ice Cream really know what their visitors want. The workers were so interactive with us by being our photographers as well as suggesting different fun ways we could take our pictures/ boomerangs and different poses we could do – which is literally a MUST because you got to take good content for the gram!

The Art of Ice Cream consisted of three large rooms with different backdrops on pretty much every wall. Once you buy your tickets ($25/ each for adults) and select your reservation time you get the tickets downloaded onto your phone and then just show up! They do things in 15 minute intervals and they put you in with your reservation group to go through the experience together. Luckily mine was a small group of people probably because I went in the evening time on a Sunday – Talk about Sunday Funday!

I was blown away because right when you enter the building you are greeted with a popsicle and then the fun begins! You’re allowed to spend 15 minutes in a room at a time, with your group. I was a little worried that our group members would get in the way of our shots and photobomb us but that was not the case at all, the rooms were big enough and there are multiple back drops that keep everyone busy that everyone just went around taking turns with the different backdrops at a time.

ALL the items in the rooms are interactive meaning you can touch the art, move it around, and use it as props. I took so many boomerangs that I wish I could include in this post!

The timings of the rooms are: 15 minutes, 15 minutes, and then 20 minute and the workers aren’t very pushy about when your time is up either. In the third room you have more time because that is the last room in the experience but also… DRUMROLL.. you get more ice cream! You can choose what flavor ice cream you want and they give you a small cup with whatever flavor you choose! You can interact and get to know your group members or just finish taking pictures, eat your ice cream, and leave.

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I was a little discouraged when I saw the price of each ticket to visit this exhibit but I honestly had so much fun here and honestly felt like a little kid again, I definitely recommend people go here! You 100% get your moneys worth out of this visit! – Not just because of the really fun/ cool pictures you get to it but also because it truly is, an experience! I can’t tell you how surprised I still am that they even thought of giving us ice cream to make the experience that much better and unique! I am so happy I found out about them and also so happy they decided to make our capital in Texas as a spot to visit! Be sure to reserve your visit before they leave Austin, the exhibit is only in Austin for a limited time!

Outfit Inspo:
I wanted to go with a very simple outfit because I knew, from looking at pictures that the experience was very colorful and I didn’t want to wear anything that clashed with the backdrops and walls.

Outfit details: Jumper – Charlotte Russe, Shoes – BP, Necklace & Earrings- Kendra Scott, Watch – JORD Watches.

Thanks for reading! Keep up with me by following my Instagram @ xoxoloriallison.

Xoxo, Lori Allison