Tuesday, November 24

SmileBrilliant Review {pre-whitening}

So here's something I've never written about on perfectly Priya before: being insecure about my teeth! While it would be nice to look like Gigi Hadid, I am, for the most part, comfortable with being me. That being said, though almost all my siblings had braces at some point, my parents don't love me enough my teeth were always "good enough" to not be in dire need. So I never got 'em, the result being a really crowded mouth, that could also benefit from some whitening.

When SmileBrilliant reached out to me recently about trying their at home whitening system, I happily agreed, because who doesn't want whiter teeth?? I've only experiemented with teeth whitening very minimally (I mean like, Target brand white strips in college that did nothing) so I was very curious to see how the overall process and result worked out.

SmileBrilliant employs a method of whitening only available previously in the dentist's office (for $500+) In comparison, a SmileBrilliant kit starts at $120, and offers 7-14 applications (depending on how long you leave your trays on!)

The process begins with creating your own custom trays. SmileBrilliant provides the supplies, you simply create a mold, and mail it back. I had no idea what I was doing, but found the process to be well-explained and relatively simple.

Shortly after I recieved my kit in the mail: trays, whitening gel, and sensitivity gel (more on that below.)

So far, I have done four treatments, mostly in the evenings, while I do stuff around the house. You can leave the trays on as long as you want, though they recommend starting at about 15 minutes and going up from there. So far, I've still only gone up to about 30 minutes- but I've had positive results, without any issues, so I anticipate my next sessions to be significantly longer.

My biggest hesitation in whitening was a couple areas of sensitivity (in addition to crowded teeth, I have exposed roots on molars on both sides- a really winning combo.) The great thing is that SmileBrilliant supplies desensitizing gel that you use after whitening, for this specific reason. After application, you don't rinse or wipe it off, so it keeps working...forever? That's the kind of desenstizing help I need with my teeth! I really haven't noticed discomfort on my sensitive areas after four treatments.

I am really pleased that even after the first two treatments I've noticed a difference in my smile! I plan to do a more comprehensive review (with pros & cons, and a decision if I would actually buy this myself) when I finish the process completely, with a stunning before and after photo (the best part of anything.) But here's my before photo, at least!
Thanks to SmileBrilliant for providing me with a whitening kit to review! All opinions are my own.

If you've had an experience with at home (or otherwise) teeth whitening, I would love to hear about! 
Especially if you've tried SmileBrilliant before, tips & tricks appreciated!

Check out more SmileBrilliant reviews here,
and a video about how the SmileBrilliant process works here.
How Much Is Teeth Whitening

Monday, November 23

ipsy vs. Birchbox, October

Hip-hip-hooray, it's beauty day!

*This series originally started as I was trying to pick between the two subscription services. Right now, as long as I'm using up what I get, I don't plan to cancel either. And in the process, I'm trying out loads of new products, that I normally wouldn't!*

Check out the whole series right here:
September // August // July // June // May // April // March // February // January // December // November

So here's my glam haul from October:
Birchbox (left to right)
Avenè mask- Not my favorite, as far as face masks go. I like masks that harden or have some texture to them; this felt like lotion that disappeared without a noticeable difference. 
12 Benefits Hair Treatment- Guys, I actually blow-dried and styled my hair (and therefore sampled this product correctly!) I was nervous upon application, because it made my wet hair feel mega greasy; however, I'm pleased to report that after I straightened it, I could absolutely feel a glossy difference I like that this product is called "12 Benefit" - it covers all good hair things, and can be used as a multi-purpose aide. Will definitely use this again!
Eyeko mascara- ALWAYS a standout to receive in a sub, because whose makeup routine doesn't include mascara? This didn't necessarily wow me, but works just fine. 
 Yogini by Harvey Prince-  I may be the only one who enjoys perfume samples- they are too perfect for stashing anywhere for when you may need a pick-me-up (like after the gym!) I'm a fan of Harvey Princes scents, and even purchased Hello after sampling it. This one smells fresher and cleaner in comparison (Hello is a little more sweet- I like them both!)
Smashbox primer- This stuff has been described to me as "liquid gold" by beauty friends alike. So I tried it again, even though I recieved it a few months ago and didn't love it. I used it for Andrea's wedding. I didn't like the texture, and found that it applied/rubbed off almost like dead skin (I know that's gross, sorry, I don't know how else to describe that!) I want to love it! But I don't. Someone send help! Am I using it wrong?

*Favorite of the month!* I have to give it to the mascara, just because I really needed it, it works well, and I've been using it daily. Close runner-up is the hair stuff (and definitely wins in the "most surprising" category!)

It’s not that I don’t love pink or supporting breast cancer- it’s just that compared to amazing boxes past, this one is just whatever.
ipsy (left to right)
Beauty Without Cruelty lotion- A good sized lotion that’s not too greasy; and I actually enjoy that it’s unscented. I stuck this in my car and put it on during my drive to work every morning, #winterskin.
theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Liquid Lipstick- I’m always excited to get a theBalm product; the shades, products, and branding/packaging are always spot on! This is a pink matte lipgloss/stick. The color is great, and the matte effect is cool, but if ANYONE knows how to keep matte lip stuff from getting weird after a re-apply, please share!
Touch in Sol Gel Brow Pencil in Mink Wink-  I was so ready to slam this product after trying it once, but I gave it another go. Cons- because it’s “gel”, it’s more glossy and less pigmented than a normal pencil. It also wear down SO FAST (I’m talking re-sharpening between brows.) Pros- my brows actually look more natural with this (also has to do with the shade) and it lasts longer than my normal routine! Also the spoolie is great bonus. My brows be unruly.
MicaBeauty Cream Eyeshadow in Bronze- A pretty shade, for sure, but it may be too orange-y. I generally like powdered shadow over crème, in terms of application, staying power, everything really.
Nourish Organic Argan Face Serum- My nighttime beauty routine pretty much solely consists of applying a serum before bed (after washing or whatever.) This was hard to put on, I worried about getting oil all over my pillowcases, hair, etc, and I woke up feeling oily. NOT cute. I like the principle of what they’re trying to do here, but I don’t think I’ll use this again. 

*Favorite of the month* My second trial of the gel brow pen makes it the best product my ipsy harvested in October! Eyebrows are the only thing that matter to me (in life, basically) and trying out a new product made me question the ‘brow groove I’ve been in lately. I’m now totally open to switching to a gel pencil (instead of the normal pencil + powder combo I’ve been using this year.)

Gold- so hot right now! This bag is super cute and on-trend, my only feedback being that I wish both sides were gold (the backside is patent leather, why?)

And the winner is...ipsy- for the simple reason that it had more products that I am interested in, and can use on a more regular basis (lip, shadow, brow.) 

This month marks one full year of this series! I gave up on actually trying to cancel one of the two subscription services months ago, but it has been interesting and helpful for me to keep track of what I've received. In case you're interested, the victories totaled by month are: ipsy- seven, Birchbox- six. So, ipsy barely edging out Birchbox for the win (though, it was very close and it's pretty irrelevant.) 

I've decided to retire this series for now, after a year of comparing & contrasting. What I would like to keep doing is a "spotlight" on anything I receive and LOVE. Mostly in the hope that this encourages me to keep using everything! Another thing I'd like to keep doing monthly:

The round-up of products I've loved and (likely!) lost:
- already seeing the bottom of this NYX eyeshadow palette. It's been a go-to since I got it! 
- This NYX balm lives in my pencil tin at work, and is the perfect subtle color on the go! 
- I've worn this Liptini lipstick several times, even choosing it for Andrea's wedding. If that doesn't make it an MVP, I don't know what would! 
- Just threw this Klorane dry shampoo away after finishing it up. Perfect for traveling, loved trying a tinted version. 

And that's it, for now! Thanks for following along with my ipsy vs. Birchbox series. How'd you do with your subscription services this month? Anyone try one of my products with a different result?

If you are interested in signing up for ipsy OR Birchbox (or both ;) for $10/month, you can find my referral links here: ipsy // Birchbox. View this entire series here

Wednesday, November 18

Layered Weekend

| sweater: gift (Canada) | dress: gift (ASOS) | socks: Target | boots: Frye via Amazon |

HI! These are the first moments I've had this week (Wednesday morning) to get this post together (Monday's outfit + last weekend's update.) So I guess things have been pretty busy around here. How's everyone doing out in the blogosphere and otherwise? Big plans for next week??

I wore this outfit Monday to work, and then to a surprise party for Chony, who turned 11. She got a bunch of makeup-type stuff and was gleeful about it- remember being that way when you were 11?

I know I just wore this dress and said it was the last time for the season. Then I remembered I've been wanting to wear it with a sweater, "jumper-style." I know I've seen a look like this on a blog or somewhere and loved it. Normally, I would say the dress & sweater are too close but not exact in color, but I dunno, aren't colorblocked neutrals in or something? I liked it. But now I've really put this dress away with my Summer clothes, so now I promise you won't see it until next year!
Quick pic of my dapper photographer, who put together a pretty nice looking outfit for himself <3

And now for some shenanigans from last weekend (hopefully these are still relevant!)IMG_6143
 Friday: dinner & dancing in 12 South with Lauren + Kyle, our cute friends IMG_6154 
Saturday: "puppet shows", Fraggle Rock, & general hangs with MC + L, (could you die at how cute??)IMG_6163 
Sunday: Katie & Matt got engaged! CONGRATS you two!! I completely set them up at this wedding.

That sums up things for now, and I would love to blog again soon. But no promises. 

Monday, November 9

Blanket Statements.

| scarf: Old Navy | dress: Old Navy | belt: from this dress | socks: gift (Madewell) | clogs: Old Navy |

I'll do my best to keep this post from becoming a novel. 

Notes on this outfit: A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about how, ironically, I struggle to style the basic knit dresses I have in my closet. This is another one of those Old Navy gems that doesn't take much to be perfect. I think I've decided MY foolproof formula for a simple dress is a combination of all my favorite accessories. 

I wore this outfit last week, but I'm also wearing this scarf today! I saw a co-worker of mine recently wearing a big scarf like this, "shawl style." Like carrying a throw blanket around in the office. I'm into it! We launched our holiday party at the office today, and we're going with a plaid motif- perfect! 

I can't believe this is the first time I'm wearing my clogs with socks on the blog. Basically since Katie gifted me these last year, I've been pairing the two together. These socks + clogs just FEELS right! Also, what didn't make this post: the test photo of Hunter laughing at me, to my face, as he noticed I was wearing socks with clogs. 

I've been alternating between dark red & dark purple nail polish for the last couple months. The polish I'm wearing above is the Pacifica "7 Free" Polish in Bianca. I think I got this in my first ipsy ever? Really great nail polish in the most perfect dark red. Highly recommend! 

A few other blanket statements about my life right now:

- last week was THE CRAZIEST work week of my life, & I loved it! Still working my patootie off, that's why I've been AWOL.
- I don't even remember how to wear blanket scarves anymore.
- Our company holiday party is one month from TOMORROW. 
- I was so so lazy this weekend after last week. I'm the kind of person who gets anxious relaxing, but it was good.
- I also got my first gel manicure and massage this weekend (thanks, Huntee! It was my birthday present.) 
- If you need me tonight, I'll be cleaning my apartment. 

And really the last thing (promise!) I finally got my Poshmark account up and going. Thirteen items and counting, and I'll be adding as soon as I take some pictures. Check out my closet

Tuesday, November 3

Weekend Update: #ethanlovesandrea Wedding!


Well I'm still feeling warm fuzzies (not to mention, recovering) from Ethan and Andrea's wedding over the weekend! The festivities set the bar HIGH for probably the most fun wedding I've ever been to. Which we KNEW was going to happen, since we celebrate with Andrea's fantastic family (and many family-like-friends) on the reg. I was SORE on Sunday from dancing from approximately 9pm-1am, and no I'm not joking. 

I also got to witness and be a part of my first Catholic wedding ceremony. It was beautiful- and not as hard to follow as I thought it might be. 

Being in a wedding with Huntee was just as much fun as advertised. Not that I haven't enjoyed meeting & getting paired with different guys throughout the year, but walking down the aisle with Huntee just felt RIGHT ;) plus, my dancing partner was always right there (and tearing UP the floor to his favorite Latin hits. I wish you guys could have seen him.) 

I hope these selfies etc. will suffice for now, and I definitely hope to share the legit photographs later! The top middle photo is not the best, but I just wanted to share that Kelley (MY Kelley!), plus another friend from work, Helana, did the hair and make-up for the wedding! They did a stellar job, and how fun is that??

Ethan & Andrea- we LOVE you guys! Thanks for inviting Hunter & I to be a part of your big day. We'll be waiting at your apartment when you get back from your honeymoon (am I joking? Maybe!)

And with that- I am hanging up my bridesmaid's hat, for now anyway. 

                                                                                                                       in case you're curious: Amanda // Jenae // Jacqui

Monday, November 2

Monthly Goals, October

Spent the weekend whipping through these Tennessee backroads and I did not mind! 

Hi! October felt two seconds long. Like I mentioned last week, I recently got pulled into a bunch of new stuff at work (coinciding with my two year anniversary at Emma! woo-hoo!) which has been busy busy and exciting. Otherwise this past month I had my usual- guests in town, wedding festivities, and a pretty decent showing at my monthly goals for the year.

Hunter and I took a super quick weekend trip to the 30A area of Florida. I have no live music to account for - maybe the first time all year! My sister Galina came to visit me for a week. My one word motto for the month was confident, I couldn't have planned that better with Demi Lovato's jazzy new single making its' debut! My main angle here was to enjoy being myself (and not be skittish), more about that here. I'll give myself a B- for actually making it happen, but still, it was a good reminder. I re-listened to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because it's that good. I can't say it's a happy or uplifting read, but the story will totally grip you- you MUST read it if you haven't! And finally, I wrote two letters this month and have three more on the docket to go out soon!

Nicole at writes like a girl is hosting a montly link-up for goals! I'm so glad somebody finally did this- I love this aspect of blogging, and getting to share keeps me even more motivated and accountable. Be sure and check out the link-up, and cheer us on, if you like! 

And I think this is a great time to share my one word motto for November: patience. Have I really, truly not used it yet for this year?? Probably because I know just how challenging it will be, you see, patience is my own personal vice. But I already had a couple opportunities to put this into action! I am seriously shocked I haven't picked this word yet. Anyway. Wish me luck.

check out all my monthly goal updates here!

Wednesday, October 28

Game On.

| jacket: Gap | tee: UO via Shelby | jeans: Old Navy | flats: Old Navy | 

Game on. A good motto for life, an excellent motto for this week!

Last night, as I stopped in a frenzied costume store to gather the last two pieces for my costume tonight, I realized: things don't slow down at this time of year. They only speed up! Every year, it seems like after Halloween hits, it's full speed ahead 'til January after New Years. So I guess what I'm trying to say (most of all, to myself, because I am perpetually looking forward) is: the best and craziest part of the year is afoot, 2016 is almost over. GAME ON. 

I also realized [disclaimer: as much as I love hanging with my fam and the luxury of going home for Thanksgiving] I am relieved to not be traveling to California for Thanksgiving this year. I made so many trips home this year that I'm not feeling homesick quite yet, I have some big travel planned for Christmas, and it's kinda relaxing to know I'll have a few days off here in town. 

Tonight I'll be playing school nurse in our volunteer haunted house. I spent my weekend in an stale smelling gym ripping old sheets and spraying blood capsules everywhere, and I am so pleased with how things turned out! I have a theatrical soul that will always love costumes, lights, special effects, etc. I'll try really hard to get some pictures to share with you guys.

Notes on this outfit: I've never mentioned on perfectlyP that I love and collect pins! I like picking them up, pretty much everywhere I go, and then pinning them everywhere. I actually found this one in my office a couple weeks ago. When my co-workers return from conferences, you can expect to stumble upon a table full of the swag they've collected. I believe that's where this came from, though I can't be sure :)

Hunter told me this was a deviant of my usual style, and like something I should wear to a concert. I don't disagree- though I can never get enough of bright color combos and sweet prints, like every girl, sometimes I want to wear ripped black jeans and my faithful jean jacket. And that's the cool thing about fashion- you can do whatever you want. 

Oh- and this sweet necklace I've been rocking lately was my bridesmaids gift from Jacqui! I've barely taken it off since her wedding. That's how you know you've given a great bridesmaid gift.

P.S. I wore this originally when Galina was in town, for dinner and drinks at Hunter's new place. The bride-and-groom-to-be also stopped by! But I also wore this same thing yesterday- just with a different tee and shoes. A favorited formula, for sureeee. Have a great rest of your Hallo-week!