At-Home Teeth Whitening: Does it Work?

Increase Your Attractiveness…by smiling more :0)


Ever feel like not smiling? I use the “try not to smile” game with my kids if they’re in a funk, takes about five seconds to achievement. The simple act of transforming the face from a scowl to a grin lifts the spirit and scientifically impacts the body in several positive ways. A healthy smile lowers the heart rate, calms the nervous system, decreases overall stress levels, and promotes happy thoughts…who doesn’t want joyful headspace?

Take a look in the mirror. You’re darn cute. Are you better looking when you smile? Most people will say absolutely! I believe a happy person is the most beautiful kind. So, the question is…HOW to smile more?

Coffee, red wine, and blueberries pose the biggest threat to my bright smile. Giving them up is NOT an option, of course.

When I was young, my mom would occasionally have us brush with baking soda (not tasty). A dash of peroxide also worked for an occasional brighten up, but as I learned more about the condition referred to as Black Hairy Tongue (BHT) {yes, really!}, a filiform papilla elongate with discoloration that can be caused by oxidizing mouthwashes, yikes, I decided against that home remedy and turned to the professionals. Here’s what I’ve learned about teeth whitening:

Whitening with Smile Brilliant

2018-04-14 15.00.00-1

Shipped to My Doorstep!

Custom-Fitted Trays …AT HOME
(impressions mailed to the lab)

Plenty of Whitening Syringes

BEST PART: Desensitizing Gel


Orthodontist Whitening
Trip to the Orthodontist
Long Wait to Make Impressions
Another trip to Orthodontist to Receive Trays
$$$ Per Syringeof Whitening Get
LOTS of Lingering Sensitivity

Both methods resulted in pearly whites! However, Smile Brilliantwas MUCH more convenient and cost a LOT less. Smile Brilliant’s Sensitivity Gel eliminated my sensitivity immediately, and I could use a small amount at any time I felt discomfort. I had plenty of supplies, so as I continued to recover my bright smile, I was also able to eliminate discomfort. Life changing. {coffee & wine threat removed!}

Smile Brilliant $$
Orthodontist $$$$

20% off coupon code: wineglasslipper20
Giveaway link:

Smile Fearlessly!
Tooth Whitening Gel


TEAMWORK, The Big Picture


With CENSEO’s recent growth, our team has been focusing on the importance of working together effectively. After researching our options, we decided to make a trip over the Pali to Honolulu for a Wine & Design company outing. An evening of pupus and paint was exactly what we needed for company bonding and social time outside of the workplace.

Wine & Design’s corporate painting party package is a bit different than the traditional paint night, which was a big part of the entertainment!

*Spoiler Alert…

Only one member of our team knew that our canvases would be placed together to make giant painting of the Mokes (because someone had to select our design). All other team members had only a piece of the puzzle to paint from. Some puzzle pieces were simple, while others were more complex with pieces of the islands or plumerias in the scene. It was mysterious and felt a little intimidating for those who were expecting a normal night of painting instruction.

After painting our single canvases for only a few minutes, we were asked to stop and move to someone else’s easel. It felt strange, painting on someone else’s work, but after a few rotations we started to realize that the overall result was quite beneficial. The look and feel of each canvas was coming together. In the end, we lined up all six canvases on the table and corrected our mistakes. A couple of paintings (the more intricate ones) still needed finishing details, so we were able to choose our top talent to help out with the tricky parts.

Our team agreed that this was probably the most enjoyable and educational team building activity we had participated in AND we now have a beautiful mural in our office space. I think we’re all pretty proud of our accomplishment!


Art Breaker
The icebreaker, or “artbreaker”, was our initial warm-up. We divided into two teams and drew secret assignments out of a jar. The jar was full of communication blockers and disabilities. Some of us could not talk or use our hands, others had to be bossy or defiant. It was tricky to understand some of the roles, such as the person doing exactly the opposite of what was directed. It led to some major difficulties in painting the assigned scene, and there wasn’t time for any one member to finish the painting on their own. Our teams did a decent job, considering, and laughing at the silly, out-of-character behaviors was most of the fun!


Corporate Painting
Not knowing what the finished art was going to look like was a great mystery. It forced everyone to follow the guidelines for their own canvas closely. When our own canvas became someone else’s canvas too, it shed new light on the process. As we continued to work on others’ paintings, we realized the many techniques and skills that were coming together. The final product was impressive, and the time spent on finishing details pulled everything together. I think we were all impressed at how far we had come in just a short amount of time. The instructor explained the teamwork skills we were developing and made observations of our specific team’s ability to work together. Her hilarious sense of humor and wit assured that we were all laughing the entire time.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park: It doesn’t get more Colorado than this!



Voted one of USA Today’s 10 Best Caves, Glenwood Caverns is a must for your family summer fun list. Three cave tours offer varying levels of difficulty to suit the whole family! I have a little dare devil, so this year, we opted for the Wild Cave Tour (10-year age requirement AND we finally made the cut). What is it!? Only the most extreme caving expedition a kiddo is permitted on, an adventure for the true thrill seeker.

Then and now

Then & Now (2011/2017)

Make the Most of Your Day Quick Tips…

  • Arrive early, when the gondola opens, to avoid long lines.
  • Claim a small $.50 locker before they fill.
  • Get in line for the bigger, more popular rides first.
  • Break early for lunch to beat the rush.
  • Don’t let the kids get caught in the speleobox. (Especially right before your 4-D movie begins!)

It’s hard to avoid – the one thing that happens and risks ruining the day for everyone. We generally count on Noelle to keep us on our toes: Water World wardrobe malfunction, lost races to the bathroom, and the time she didn’t get out of the elevator! But, this trip, it was me.

Theme Park Fail

I consider myself daring, for a mom. So, maybe it was first ride shock, or maybe just the fact that the ride swings OUT OVER THE CLIFF’S EDGE! But, I saw my life flash before my eyes…over-and-over again. Faint or scream, I made the obvious choice. A lot. With a scratchy voice and trembling hands, I exited the swing of terror, a theme park walk of shame, through the line of sweet little girls waiting to get on. Wide eyed, they kindly asked if I was going to be alright. I may still have the occasional nightmare, but hey, check that one off my list.


Park Favs

Tho I struggled with the Giant Canyon Swing, the kids LOVED it! They rode several times, throwing their hands in the air or striking nonchalant poses. I may have felt theme park envy.

The Alpine coaster was another top-pick. Scary enough to cling to the breaks but enjoyable enough for mom to survive. I’m sure the views are fantastic, but I’ll admit, my eyes were steady on the tracks and my heart was still jumpy.

The coming soon fav-to-be: Haunted Mine Drop. Opens THIS SUMMER!

Adventure of a Lifetime :: Our Wild Cave Tour was something spectacular. Stacked up against all the other amazing options, it was still unanimously #1 with my bunch. The 2-hour, underground crawl through spaces as small as 18 inches left us exhausted, in the very best way. It was a perfect grand finale for an unforgettable day.



Summer Camp Survival Gear


Save 25% on Label Daddy labels! Exclusive laminated coating gives labels an extra layer of protection and is a must-have for summer camp (if you want belongings finding their way back home). Clothing, sports equipment, electronics, and other personal belongings…hey, put one on your kiddo! My kids always get returned.

Label Daddy labels keep belongings from getting lost or mixed up with others. These labels are great for adults too! — Put them on your sunglass/eyeglass case, phone, camera, sports equipment, tablet, e-reader, hats, clothing, and more. Ok, that might be pushing it, but you get the idea.

These labels are super durable peel-and-stick washable labels — they’re washer/dryer safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe and UV resistant. Label Daddy labels are also fun and attractive. You design your own labels! Pick from tons of colors, sizes and logos, including MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos, and more. These labels are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide.

Save 25% on your entire Label Daddy order – this is the best discount available anywhere. Use code USFAMILY25 at checkout.

If this feels like a pitch, it is. However, I do LOVE and use these little labels (maybe too many places). I asked my teen if he was too old for them (his keep disappearing) and he still can’t break my heart, lol!

Move Over Easter Bunny

Each spring we watch, with bittersweet endearment, as the piles of velvety powder slowly melt away from the slopes, and patches of green grass appear. What can make this changing of seasons a little sweeter? The Easter Bunny, of course…or, if you’re spending your days at Copper Mountain Resort, The Rainbow Fish Character!

And he’s making quite the splash at Copper Mountain.
Following breakfast: the World’s Largest Easter Egg Hunt!!

Rainbow Fish Photo Op!


Photo with a Rainbow Fish? Now this is Easter.

Easter Breakfast with the Rainbow Fish Character
Copper Mountain, Upper Conference Center – Kokopelli’s Trail
Family Breakfast
$25 Adults $21 Kids (ages 4-9)

Summit Sunrise Breakfast Buffet: fresh melons, pineapple, and seasonal berries. Assortment of fruit, yogurts, farm fresh scrambled eggs, Applewood smoked bacon & country style sausage links. Skillet style breakfast potatoes, waffle station, fruit preserves, and more!

Photo opp with Rainbow Fish (don’t forget your cameras), coloring station and souvenir gift for each child.

Great way to start your day before hopping along to the World’s Largest Easter Egg Hunt with 65,000 eggs in Center Village. (FREE)


A limited number of tickets are available. Early ticket purchase is suggested.

Mile High Farms Family Fun, from the Horse’s Mouth


A weekend escape to Mile High Farms was the perfect fall family tradition activity, particularly with the lovely weather we’ve been so lucky to have this year. Mile High Farms is located east of Denver, which was a new adventure for our family. It was great to experience the scenery and countryside as we meandered out that way.

The main draw for us: the corn maze! It took longer than we had hoped (because we’d like to skip right to expert), but hey, that’s all part of the fun, right?

Being that this was our first visit to Mile High Family Farms, everything was new and exciting to us. Ambiance and props had been created with much creativity, and entertainment lurked around every corner. The western family farm appeal was impressively genuine.


Wide open spaces offered plenty of romping room, and although everything was new to us, we made sure to check out the newest features to the farm.

NEW features we explored:
Horse-drawn wagon rides
Second corn pit
Hula-hoop station (to burn off some sugar)
Mini hay bale maze (we were much quicker solving this one, lol!)

From the horse’s mouth…Mile High Farms is an excellent addition to the fall family fun bucket list!


Summer Camp Drop-In

Lifeguard Camp Hawaii

Summertime is anything but boring for our bunch (a nicer way of describing somewhat-organized chaos). Between the parties, BBQs, events, and gallivanting outdoors in the sunshiny days and cool nights, we have ordinary responsibilities. Bummer. And, while everyone faces the challenge of balancing fun and work, we have the additional challenge of navigating a schedule that’s rather out of the ordinary.

Summer camp, drop-in style…saves the day!

It’s the best solution I’ve found to manage our lives, which range from Colorado to Hawaii, 9 to 13 years, adventurous to super chillax; and we have to find a way to please everyone, of course (and I’m not claiming success to that one quite yet).

Our 2016 lineup has included some pretty notable adventures. AND we’re not done! Some of our favs thus far:


Sam is the owner and main tour guide of the camp. He has experience working with children, a degree form CU, and is fully trained as a lifeguard – all of which helped me feel comfortable right away. Sam combines education with adventure to create a fun atmosphere for the kids that parents can truly appreciate.


This program is FREE on island! The program is sponsored by the North Shore Lifeguard Association and is taught by certified lifeguards. It’s intense and requires dedication, so it’s certainly not for everyone. My son, being more familiar with the Colorado scene, was certainly intimidated and will hopefully forgive his mom someday for strongly suggesting his involvement with the training (which could come in very handy someday!).


I thought it would be a fabulous idea to introduce my youngest to her peer group culture on  Oahu. The camp is very reasonably priced and full of local culture. Noelle had the opportunity to sing songs she had never heard of, talk about places that are a mystery to her, and she even mispronounced musubi – which left the other children in hysterics. Oh, and she’s still amazed that the kids hadn’t a clue what kickball was.


This overnight adventure was included in the Kama’aina Kids daycamp package. We didn’t know this until attending camp (information can be increasingly difficult to obtain in Hawaii), but we were thrilled and Noelle had a North Shore adventure she’ll never forget! Beach fun, crabbing, low ropes, climbing wall, archery, camp fire time, and tie dye were just a few of the many experiences.

When life demands mundane and necessary responsibilities, make drop-in summer camp your solution!

New: Hex Your Memories!

hex metal print

AdoramaPix helps people turn their digital photographs from abstract computer files into beautiful keepsakes designed to last a lifetime. Their contemporary metal prints capture memories in rich color and vibrant detail. Because your images are infused right into the metal, and not painted on the surface, their metal prints are extremely durable. Not only will your metal image be water and weather proof, but scratch resistant as well. You can even clean it with glass cleaner. Your memories deserve to live in true, archival luxury with AdoramaPix metal prints.

You can find all the fun gift ideas HERE

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