Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ten Tips for a Spectacular Smile

Smiles. They have gotten me in trouble, and helped me out of hot water. They have started a conversation, and ended an argument. They have been captured for eternity, and shared in secret. They are free, but have the power to make you feel like a million bucks.

I have always been a little shy about my smile. My two front teeth overlap a bit, and I (believe it or not) am not a fan of having my photo taken. But I still love to smile.

I recently found a new dentist in my town, Dr. Alia. I have the worst track record with dentists and before I met her was fairly terrified of going. I am SO THRILLED to have found Dr. Alia, and even more excited that she set up what I would call a dental boutique (because it is absolutely charming) right in my home town of Wilmette. I received my first cleaning a couple of weeks ago, and it was more like chatting with a favorite girlfriend than traditional dental despair. My kids will be going there next, and they can't wait! Here they are at the grand opening, posing for the newspaper photographer :)

Photo: Jill Dunbar/ Winnetka Current
Here are some shots I took of her office...Netflix, noise-cancelling earphones, pink furry pillows, a chandelier, a delicious candle burning and a dentist with serious style? Welcome to the next generation of dentist offices!

I asked Dr. Alia to give me some great tips on getting the most out of your smile from a dentist's perspective, and I then gave my top smile tips from a beauty blogger's perspective.

From a Dentist's Perspective...
  • Studies have shown that it is most effective to brush your teeth when you first wake up, before consuming coffee, or eating anything.  That way the fluoride can be absorbed by your teeth and you get the maximum strength available from the fluoride toothpaste. 
  • Drinking soda or tea or coffee through a straw definitely helps eliminate stain on your teeth.  I usually tell patients to do this after they have had a tooth whitening, so that they maximize the benefits and see the best whitest results.
  • I think the best way to minimize tooth stain is to brush your teeth with water after you have had some tea, coffee or soda. What people don't realize is tea stains your teeth even more than coffee.  
  • See if Invisalign is for you. Invisalign can inform us if you are good candidate by sending them models and pictures of your teeth, and estimate of how long the treatment would be. 
  • Seek treatment if you are clenching or grinding teeth at night. If you wake up with sore muscles in your jaw line area, this might be a sign.  People have even complained of headaches, or pain upon opening their mouths.  People also notice a clicking or popping noise in their TMJ area.
  • There really isn't a bigger benefit to whitening at home or in the office in terms of professional whitening. We use the same percentage carbamide peroxide in the office or with the take home whitening kit. 
  • As for over the counter whitening products, studies show Crest White Strips are the most effective.
 From a Beauty Blogger's Perspective...
  • Wear blue-based red lipstick. Orangey-red lipsticks can actually make your teeth look yellow, but blue-based lipsticks like MAC's Ruby Woo can cancel out the yellow and bring out the white.
  •  Don't open ANYthing with your teeth. I have a habit of using my teeth to pry open bobby pins. This can cause chips- specific packages of Conair Bobby Pins come with an opener attached to the package.
  • Can't whiten in reality? Whiten virtually. If you see a photo of yourself that you adore, except for your yellow teeth, change them! Use an app like Facetune ($3.99 iOS/Google Play) that allows you to digitally whiten your teeth like a pro.
I hope Dr. Alia and I helped you smile today! Since I know you are ready to finally have a fabulous dental experience and be pampered (yes, pampering can happen at the dentist), here is her info! BONUS- she accepts ALL major PPO plans and submits on your behalf to the insurance company.

Enamel & Root Dentistry
711 11th Street
Wilmette, IL

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Autumn's #1 Accessory

Accessories are the frosting on the fashion cake. They can transform a bland outfit into something beautiful, a simple shift into something stunning.

I am all about thinking outside the traditional accessory box. I love autumn's accessory trends- the skinny scarf, draped just so around the neck so it can blow in the breeze. Chokers ranging from velvet to leather cord to ribbon evoking iconic 90s style. Multifinger rings doing the reverse brass knuckle thing (in my mind).

My bet? These accessories will be on the chopping block by spring. That choker can transform into a wrap bracelet. The skinny scarf becomes a belt or can be woven through a chain purse strap. Why not grab an accessory that will stand the test of time, and you can wear it every day?

I'm talking about glasses!

Some of the most chic women on the planet regularly pop on a pair of glasses. Jenna Lyons, the creative director and president of J. Crew, has made her spectacular specs a part of her standout look. How about Tina Fey? This queen of comedy accessorizes with glasses. Jennifer Aniston, Justin Timberlake, Jay Z and Mindy Kaling are others who regularly rock them.

I recently received the opportunity to pick my favorite pair of glasses from, and had an absolute field day trying on different shapes with their virtual mirror.  I screen shots and sent the mock ups to one of my friends for advice. I wanted to grab more than one pair just for fun- and at frames starting at $19.20 including lenses, I could! Glasses can truly transform your look- from bold to brainy, sexy to sassy, you can change up your style in a second. offers frames at up to 70% retail price, and their selection is SO much better than you could ever get in a store. With free shipping and free returns, it is a risk-free purchase.

Are you the indecisive type who just CAN'T figure out what shape to buy?
Here are some typical face shapes and glass shapes that work well with them:

Round- rectangular frames sharpen your curved features
Square- round, thinner frames soften your sharper features
Triangle- balance out a wider jaw with detail on the top of the frame (Browline, Cat Eye)
Heart- medium size frames work well, not too square, not too round...Wayframe works well
Oval- most versatile face shape; go bold like Butterfly or Oversized

Here is what I chose- a cat eye shape with a tortoise frame, the Amelia E. Cressida. My face shape is oval, and with my pale skin and blue eyes I didn't want to go too bold with the color so the brown in the tortoise blends well.

If you are looking to change up your style this fall, grab an accessory that enhances your features. GlassesUSA has a massive selection at incredibly affordable prices with free shipping. Mix it up!

Disclosure: I was provided with a pair of free prescription glasses in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, as always.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Style. If there is anything I am obsessed with, it is style. One of my things that gets me out of bed in the morning (besides my fave Trader Joe's Vanilla Coffee) is figuring out what to wear. Honestly. I try on about 3-4 outfits every morning and usually end up wearing whatever I was mid-try-on when it is time to go (which is why I might be wearing a full length gown to preschool drop-off, FYI).

And my friends? Most are equally obsessed with style and it shows. We text back and forth endlessly about shoes, bags, trends, celebs, you name it.

One friend that has a particularly amazing sense of style is Souk. In fact, she is a stylist...go figure! She owns and operates styled. by souk, the high end styling service that caters to city gals AND guys who want to up the ante in the style world. EVERY time I see her she pulls something unexpected yet chic together.

Photo: styled. by souk
In fact, she styled me for a Rent the Runway photo shoot, and it was like a party in the most glamorous closet in existence with a BFF since I had carte blanche of the inventory and we both love to laugh. PS- Souk not only styled me but was the photographer as well. Jill of all trades, for sure!

Souk has an amazing background- she was part of the NYC fashion scene as well as working with a local Chicago designer. She has been featured on WCIU, WGN TV, FOX 32, and CS MODERN LUXURY, and has produced and directed numerous fashion shows. To see her in action is like a little buzzy, busy bee who just kicks so much ass!

I am honored to serve on the Host Committee for her 2nd annual fashion show, THE STYLE SESSION. This is Chicago's hottest Fall Fashion Event. Missed NYFW? You are in luck- this is much more intimate and informative. Souk will even be providing style tips during the show- sharing the secrets of how she works it. Local community influencers will be strutting their stuff down the runway, DJ Lani Love (voted Best DJ by Chicago Magazine 2 years in a row) will be spinning beats, and Jodi Glickman of Great on the Job will emcee the show. Of course there will be scrumptious snacks and superior sips to enjoy as you socialize at Chez Event Space on Thursday October 13th.

If this wasn't enough to save your seat, a portion of the proceeds benefit Step Up- an organization that inspires professional women to inspire teen girls through after-school and mentorship programs. 98% of all Step Up seniors graduated high school in 2015 – compared to a national average of 73%. This amazing program's celeb support team reads like an A-list party invite: from Kaley Cuoco to Anne Hathaway, Christina Hendricks to Eva Longoria, so many movers and shakers know how incredible this charity is.

Want to join me? Tickets are $100 in advance, $125 at the door. This is a MUST see event, and the perfect night out in the city for fellow fashion lovers! Grab your tickets here, and I will see you at the show!