Tips for Whitening Teeth and Nails

how-to-whiten-teeth-nailsWhat are the best products and practices for whitening nails and teeth? Reader L wonders…

I’m an elementary school principal. I love your blog! I would love a post about teeth whitening products and nails. I work with staff, families, district personnel, and community people/businesses. I feel that the first thing they notice when talking with me, is teeth and nails. I would love ideas for quick and inexpensive ideas. Thanks!

Interesting.  I’m really curious to hear what readers say here!

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Beauty Wednesday: Moisturizers for Dry Winter Skin

Burt's Bees Radiance Night CreamI thought my dry skin last year was pregnancy-related, but I’m finding that I really do need extra moisture on my face. I haven’t yet taken the plunge on something serious like La Mer in part because I really like my affordable Burt’s Bee’s option. It’s 99% natural, moisturizes with “Royal Jelly,” which Amazon describes as thus: “Fed to the queen bee, Royal Jelly contains 8 essential amino acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, D & E along with Niacin and Folic Acid. It is the reason she lives 40 times longer and is 50% bigger than worker bees.” Alrighty then! A 2-oz. jar of Burt’s Bees Radiance Night Cream with Royal Jelly is $14.59 (and even less with a Subscribe and Save order).

Ladies, what are your favorite products for dry winter skin?

Psst: see my other maternity skincare picks.

(L-3)

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The Next Step: Services

upgrading-personal-servicesWhat are the best ways to upgrade personal services such as massages, food delivery, personal training, and more? More importantly, where is the middle ground between DIYing it and, for example, hiring a personal chef? How can you outsource and save time in some areas of your life so that you can focus on spending your time (and money) on the things you enjoy the most?

We’ve already talked about a bunch of stuff in our Next Step series: how to step up your workwear, upgrade your handbags, graduate from IKEA furniture, and buy better shoes — but something else that I thought might be interesting to talk about is services. I came up with a few ideas for areas such as massage, food, exercise, hair/beauty, and home decor/organization — what other services do you think are upgradeable? What other “middle ground” approaches do you know of?

Note: These generally go in order of money required for each level (i.e., Level 1 can be done with little to no money), but obviously other factors come into play here such as time, energy, and desire. Of course, if you’re really into a certain category, you may want to do ALL the levels, all the time (money permitting); you may also want to pursue it further as a hobby or even a future career. Where possible I’ve tried to include thoughts for that as well.

These were my ideas for each category:

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Beauty Wednesday: Laser Hair Removal

Laser Hair Removal Experiences | CorporetteLaser hair removal | CorporetteI’ve shared my experiences with laser hair removal — let’s hear from you guys! Those of you who had your hair removed more recently than I did, what was the experience like? How much did you pay? Has anyone tried the newer devices for removing hair at home? Reader C wonders:

I would love to see an updated blog about laser hair removal. I’ve had my underarms and bikini done with great success at a salon, and am now considering lower legs.

I’ve received two quotes from different sales: one for $1600 (8 sessions with a Lightsheer diode laser) where she notes her machine costs more than $100k and is top quality and another for $500 (3 sessions with an IPL machine – Ultra VPL) where she thinks three would get me far into the process.

I could buy a Tria Laser system for $500 and do any/all surfaces myself at home… if, of course, I get results. Has anyone had good/bad experience with the Tria? It seems to be the most popular at-home system, but I’m open to other recommendations too.

Great question, C. For my $.02, I’m THRILLED I had my underarms and lower legs done about six or seven years ago at Beam Laser Spa in NYC — even though I’ve missed laser hair removal touchups over the years because I’ve been nursing or pregnant, my lower legs and underarms are pretty much a non-issue for me in terms of maintenance. As I mentioned in my original post, though, in a very un-Kat-like move I did zero research on the procedure, the laser spa, the equipment, etc. (I decided to buy a package on a whim after a beauty blogger I read recommended Beam and noted that they were having a sale.) So for those of you who DID do research and make more educated decisions, what did you discover and decide — and how did that work out?

(Pictured: Happy legs, originally uploaded to Flickr by Shawn Rossi.)

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Cosmetic Surgery and the Office

breast reduction coworkers.indexedHow do you deal with cosmetic surgery (breast reduction, breast enlargement, nose jobs, etc) at the office?  What do you tell coworkers? Reader D wonders…

I have a question about dealing with a very sensitive issue at work. I will be having breast reduction surgery at the end of the summer and don’t know how to deal with questions from my coworkers. I will be out of the office for a week and will look noticeably different when I return. The surgery itself doesn’t concern me, I’m actually very excited about it, but the thought of answering all those prying questions, or just dealing with people’s observations, is making me very anxious. I would love to hear people’s thoughts on this one.

Congrats on your upcoming surgery, D — may it be everything you want it to be, both in terms of pain reduction, lifestyle, and appearance.  As a fellow, ahem, curvy girl myself, I feel your pain.  I’m curious to hear what readers say about this one, but a few thoughts:

  • Grow a thick skin regarding your coworkers.  (Put another way: F’em.)   [Read more…]

How to Schedule Appointments When You’re Very Busy

how to make appointmentsHow do you stay on top of hair cuts and other personal care appointments when you’re a busy professional? Reader S, who is about to start as a summer associate, wonders…

I’m in law school, about to start as a summer associate at a firm in NYC, and I was wondering if you had any advice on scheduling appointments while working at a firm. I know that as a summer, I probably won’t have the same workload as I would as a junior associate, so this is mostly a question for the future. When you were in BigLaw, how did you stay on top of things like hair cuts and waxing appointments? It just seem like the hours you need to be working and in the office would make it really hard to schedule things in advance or take the time off to get in with your favorite person.

Great question, S — for my $.02, the answer is to make friends with your calendar system. Let me explain:

– Schedule appointments at the first or last appointment of the day. Doctors, hairstylists, it doesn’t matter — everyone who is appointment-based falls behind. Another option: take advantage of weekend appointments where offered.

– Schedule WELL in advance. The first or last appointment of the day (or the weekend appointment) can be really hard to get, which is why you should try to schedule everything ahead of time, when you can afford to wait a few weeks or months. [Read more…]