say cheese: teeth whitening review
As a vintage lover, of course, I love wearing red lipstick. However, often times I find myself shying away from it because I feel like it makes my teeth look yellow. So when Smile Brilliant reached out to see if I'd like to collaborate, I decided to give it a try.
I've used whitening products in the past (Crest White Strips to be exact), and they definitely worked, but I always experienced really bad sensitivity with them. Even when I cut the whitening time and frequency in half, my teeth were still extremely sensitive. Smile Brilliant offers a more customized whitening plan, so if you are prone to sensitivity you can avoid it.
The recommended whitening time for Smile Brilliant is 45 min-3 hours, every day or every other day. Again, because my sensitivity was so bad in the past, I tread very lightly when I first started. I was doing 45 minutes but only about once or twice a week. Once my teeth felt okay, I stepped up my frequency to every other day and also kept them on for longer (usually about 1 1/2-2 hours). The Smile Brilliant Kit also comes with desensitizing gel you can use after you whiten. Once I increased the time and frequency I was whitening I did experience some minor teeth sensitivity, but the gel definitely helped to alleviate that.
Overall, I would recommend Smile Brilliant, especially if you are prone to sensitivity like me. One negative of using the kit over the strips is it is a much longer process. Before you can get started, Smile Brilliant sends you everything you need to make a mold of your teeth, then you send it back to them once it's complete. I actually messed up one of my molds the first time, so this lengthened the process as well. Once your molds are made, then they send your custom-fitted trays back to you, along with the whitening and desensitizing gels. That said, I'd definitely recommend planning ahead if you're interested in getting whiter teeth for a specific occasion.
I will be giving away a $149 credit to Smile Brilliant for one of my followers to try out a whitening kit. Click this link to enter the giveaway:
You can also take 15% off with my code darlingindots15.
Dress: Vintage; Shoes: Eastland Shoes; Watch: MVMT; Ring: Little Stone Sky
Location: Schnackenberg's (Hoboken, NJ)
Rum based drinks are my favorite, and there's nothing I love more than transporting myself to a tropical oasis in the middle of a hot NYC summer. So I decided to do a round up of my favorite retro inspired tiki bars in NYC.
Mother of Pearl
95 Avenue A (East Village)
Mother of Pearl is the bar pictured in this blog post. Funny story, I actually intended on taking photos of this outfit in another bar. However, after a few minutes of starting to take photos, the manager got an attitude with me and kicked me out. Oh well, their loss because now they’re not getting a mention in this post. I think the decor at Mother of Pearl ended up complimenting my outfit just as well!
Anyway, the decor and drinks are both amazing here! Whenever I come, I always get the Vanilla Coke Float, and it is delicious. The waitress I had was also super sweet and accommodating while I was taking pictures in between sips of my drink. I’d definitely recommend checking this place out!
400 W 42nd Street (Midtown West)
This bar just recently opened, and I checked it out for the first time a few weeks ago. I loved it! The bar is located inside The Pod Hotel, so head up to the rooftop once you enter the hotel lobby. We sat inside, and I was surprised by how spacious it was. We came on a Thursday around 730 pm, aka prime drinking time in NYC and got seated right away. I got the Damned To The Depths drink and it even came adorned with a little treasure chest on top.
The Happiest Hour
121 W 10th Street (West Village)
I love the decor here! For their cocktails, I also like how they give you the option to choose which type of liquor you want. I usually get the What The Doctor Ordered with rum. One negative of this place, it has always been very crowded whenever I’ve been here. If you’d like a quieter, more intimate option, check out their speak easy called Slowly Shirley, which is located just downstairs from The Happiest Hour.
357 W 44th (Midtown West)
It can be impossible to find a bar that’s NOT a bro infested, Irish pub in Midtown. But Reunion is definitely a breath of fresh air. They also have solid happy hour specials. While the rest of my suggestions on this list are better for an artfully crafted cocktail, I’d recommend this place for casual and cheap after work drinks.
23 Lexington Avenue (Flatiron)
Ok, so I haven’t been to this location yet, but I have been to the Miami location and loved it! I know a few people who have been to the NYC location, and they said it was “meh”, but to be fair, this location is very new, so I’m hoping they will improve once they’ve been in the space a bit longer. This Broken Shaker is a rooftop bar, located in the Freehand Hotel, so you know your drink will at least come with an amazing view of the city.
Dress: c/o Karina Dresses
Sunglasses: Vintage; Bow: Claire’s; Bangle: Old; Shoes: Utopiat
Bag: c/o Sun Jellies
Stopping by with a quick blog post to show off this outfit, featuring this graphic tee I recently received. I wore this shirt on Friday the 13th which happened a few weeks ago. I'm a little bit superstitious, so I was hoping the black cat with the word "lucky" on its collar on my shirt would counteract any bad luck that day.
If you'd like to shop my t-shirt, you can find it here:
T-shirt: c/o Mama Feels Good
Skirt: Smak Parlour, Shoes: Hello Holiday; Sunglasses: Vintage; Bangle: old; Headscarf: handmade
Location: Hoboken, NJ
This past Sunday, I took a day trip to Asbury Park, NJ. This was my first time visiting, and I’m not sure what took me so long to check it out! It’s only about an hour and a half from NYC. We took the NJ Transit train from Secaucus, NJ (one stop before NY Penn Station). It was raining in the morning before we left, but we crossed our fingers the weather would clear up and we headed down the shore.
When we first arrived, it was still raining, so we headed over to the Convention Center to check out the Summer Bazaar, a craft fair type of market that was happening that day. To be honest, we were pretty disappointed by this fair, because it was much smaller than we expected. They also advertised that there would be vintage vendors there, and there was literally only one booth carrying vintage.
After the bazaar, it was still misting outside, so we headed to the Silverball Museum Arcade, a supercool arcade filled with retro games. They have everything from pinball, to skeeball, to video games. You pay before you enter, and the price depends on the amount of time you want to stay. There are options from a half hour up to a day pass. Once you’re inside, you can play as many games as you’d like. We stayed for an hour, which was the perfect amount of time for me because there were tons of kids and it was very loud (probably since everyone was trying to escape the rain).
After the arcade, the rain finally cleared, so we grabbed a quick lunch, then headed off the boardwalk to the Main Street to vintage shop. Unfortunately, I underestimated how good these vintage stores would be, and we only had about an hour to spend in them before they closed at 5pm. All of the stores had amazing selections at very affordable prices.
The first store we checked out was Backward Glances, where I bought a super cool 70’s printed shirt for $15. This store is primarily women’s and men’s clothing and accessories. Next we stopped into Flux Modern. This store was mostly furniture and home decor, so I didn’t buy anything here, but they still had lots of amazing items. Then we headed to Antique Emporium. I could have stayed in this store for two hours easily. It is huge, and they had everything from clothes, accessories, records, magazines, furniture, home decor, literally anything you could think of. Unfortunately we only had about 15 minutes to browse (and the guy working there kept following me around the store telling me they were closing, which was a bit of a turn off). Since I felt pressured to look quickly, I didn’t end up buying anything here either. Lastly, we checked out the record store called Hold Fast. They had an amazing selection for super affordable prices. I ended up getting an Elvis record for $5.
After shopping, we headed back to the boardwalk. We grabbed some ice cream at Coney Waffle (we each got a waffle and ice cream). Then we decided to play some mini golf at Asbury 18 Mini Golf. Finally, we grabbed a quick cocktail before heading back to the train. Overall, I had an amazing day, and I definitely plan on coming back again. I’d definitely recommend a day trip to anyone living around the NJ/NYC area if you haven’t been yet!
If you'd like to shop my top, you can find it here:
Top: c/o Dolly and Dotty
Shorts: vintage; Sneakers: H&M; Sunglasses: Hello Holiday; Headband: American Apparel
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
I'm back with another post about Red Dolly Swimwear! I've said it before in previous blog posts, but in high school I used to feel very self conscious in bathing suits. I am top heavy, so I hated feeling like I had to constantly adjust myself or that my bathing suit wasn't supportive enough. I also consider my stomach to be a "problem area" for me. As a teenager, I never had a stomach that was flat as a board. And considering I share the same mentality as Carrie Bradshaw that shopping is my cardio, you better believe I don't have abs now. So this bathing suit is basically the answer to my prayers. The top is supportive enough and the high waisted bottoms allow me to feel comfortable wearing a two piece. With thong bikinis becoming the norm, I like being able to share swimwear brands that make conservative but cute styles.
If you'd like to shop this suit, you can find it here:
Bathing Suit: c/o Red Dolly Swimwear
Sunglasses: Vintage; Bangle: Old
Location: Manasota Key, Florida
Last Saturday, my friend Desirae and I shot these photos at Beauty Bar, one of my absolute favorite bars here in NYC. I know I've mentioned Beauty Bar in a previous blog post about my favorite retro inspired bars, but I feel like I needed to dedicate a full post to this place. Beauty Bar was one of the first bars I discovered when I moved here five years ago. It looks like an old school salon, complete with the hair dryer chairs and everything. You can even get your nails done here! They offer a $10 manicure and martini deal (but you can get any drink, doesn't have to be a martini). On the weekends, they have a DJ spinning hits from the 60's, 70's and 80's in the back room. I have actually broken a sweat here because the music is always so good. If you're visiting NYC, I definitely recommend checking this place out!
This shoot was kind of a full circle moment for Desirae and I. We initially met through Instagram, then last July while Desirae was here for work, we met IRL for the first time. One of the first things we did was go to Beauty Bar. I had a feeling it would be right up Desirae's alley, since she is also a retro girl at heart. Now a year later, Desirae has officially just moved to New York. I think it's funny our first shoot together here in NYC ended up being in the first place we met a year ago. Instagram definitely has it's ups and downs, but one thing you can't deny is it's amazing ability to connect people who might not have otherwise crossed paths in real life.
Dress: vintage; Bow: Claire's; Watch: MVMT; Saddle Shoes: Eastland Shoes
Location: Beauty Bar (Manhattan, NYC)
After counting, I've worn this skirt 16 times on my Instagram in the last 3 years. Especially in the age of social media where everything is documented, our society frowns upon "outfit repeating". I on the other hand, don't mind wearing the same items over and over again. Ever since high school, I've tried to adopt to the "European" sensibility when it comes to wardrobe and value quality over quantity. I'd rather own 5 dresses that I love, fit me well and I feel comfortable in, rather than 25 dresses I feel lackluster about. I think the rise of social media has increased our urge to buy. Everyday we are bombarded with bloggers telling us to "swipe up" to shop their latest purchases. In my opinion, one of the negatives of blogging is that it creates excess waste and encourages consumerism. To try and combat wastefulness, I actually like rewearing items on my blog and Instagram. Here are some tips for how to rewear your favorite items:
create a theme:
I often find myself pairing this skirt with a graphic tee. Since graphic tees always have a specific saying or illustration on them, I try to use this as inspiration for the theme for the rest of my outfit. In this case, I styled my look based off of this retro graphic on this Poetic Betty tee. I knew I wanted to wear some kind of scarf around my neck, it seemed reminiscent of a glamorous 1950’s woman driving around in a convertible, just like the one in the graphic. Then I added the pink sunglasses to match the polka dot scarf. Finally, I completed the look with saddle shoes, my signature beehive and vintage camera.
when it comes to outfit photos, let the location be the focal point:
Usually when people go on vacation, they feel like they need to buy a whole new wardrobe, especially because they know they’ll be taking lots of photos. While I agree that it is definitely nice to have one or two new pieces for a trip, I also like to pack tired and true favorites. Wearing a safe bet on a vacation guarantees comfort. There’s nothing worse than trying on something new while on a trip and realizing it doesn’t fit right, doesn’t look good, etc. Also, while on vacation, any photo you take will likely be in a new and interesting location. Anyone looking at the photo will likely be focusing on where you are, and less on what you are wearing.
remind yourself that no one remembers your wardrobe as well as you:
I’m sure we’ve all experienced this feeling…you’re on your way to meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while and you suddenly panic that you might have worn the exact same thing the last time you saw them. I do this a lot, but then I try and remember what the person I’m meeting was wearing the last time I saw them. Usually I can’t remember. Then I remind myself, if I can’t remember what they wore, than they most likely don’t remember what I wore either.
What are your thoughts on being an “outfit repeater”? Do you like rewearing your favorite pieces?
If you’d like to shop my shirt, you can find it here:
PS it comes in pink too!
T Shirt: c/o Poetic Betty
Skirt: Madewell; Saddle Shoes: Eastland Shoe; Scarf: Target; Sunglasses: East Village Vintage Collective
Location: Red Hook, Brooklyn