At Home Teeth Whitening: Does it Work?

This product was gifted to me to review by Smile Brilliant. As always, the experience, opinion review are completely my own.


Coffee Coffee Coffee!


There are few people on this planet I relate to more than Lorelei Gilmore. Her love for coffee, need to prove herself on her own, and quirky personality spoke to me once a week for years. And then again on Netflix on repeat for years.

But this post isn’t about my love for Lorelei. It’s about our shared love of coffee. The delicious black tar of the Gods. And while my heart, soul, and mental capacity to tolerate other humans all depend on it’s beautiful role in my life, my teeth do not appreciate it.

I still remember being a kid and on vacation with my dad and him asking me if I wanted a cup of coffee with my orange juice (like him). It was more creamer than coffee and I only took a few sips but the foundation had been laid. I’ve had a lifetime of coffee drinking for my teeth to combat with and whiting toothpastes just don’t cut it.

So, if you’ve ever been curious about teeth whitening, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read through this post. It’s for you. I’ve tried it many times over the years and never had successful results. Whether it be from the dentist or OTC options, I hated them all. The ones from the dentist we super expensive and really uncomfortable. The over the counter ones have very minimal results, and there’s no way for them to be comfortable when they are a one size fits all. I also have sensitive teeth so both options ended up hurting. I was resigned to believe that teeth whitening was not for me.

That’s why when the crazy sweet and helpful team at Smile Brilliant reached out to me, I didn’t jump to try it out for quite a while. After a lot of questions and answers, I agreed to try the Sensitive Teeth Whitening System. The whole process was so easy thanks to their seamless process and because I did have such a great experience, I wanted to share it with you here.


Picking Your System

The first thing you need to do is go to the Smile Brilliant website and decide which package is right for you. They have two primary choices: The System for Non-Sensitive Teeth or The System for Sensitive Teeth. Pretty simple. Pick your door. From there you’ll be able to determine the level of program right for your specific needs.

If you have light staining, but don’t drink coffee or wine and have done whitening before then you’re good for the T3 System. However, since most people have staining from a lifetime of build-up from coffee, tea, wine, ect, I would recommend the T6-T9 systems. They are all the same product and all will use a custom molded tray, the difference will come in with amount of applications you will use.

The System for Sensitive Teeth that I used is the same basic concept, but typically is better for those with teeth sensitive to cold/hot, have had “aching” when doing teeth whitening in the past, had a history of childhood medication or smoking, ect. It allows for shorter application times and comes with a second type of application you’ll do after whitening to desensitize your teeth. I can attest to the fact that it really works. I was VERY skeptical because I have very sensitive teeth due to genetics and childhood meds combined with (as previously mentioned) an undying love for coffee.

What You Get

Each system will provide everything you need to complete the process:
Professional Lab Service
Professional dental lab will receive your impressions, create an exact model of your teeth, and fashion a truly custom-fitted tray

Custom-fitted Teeth Whitening Trays
Exactly like your dentist would make. Finished trays include 1 upper and 1 lower tray.

2 Impression Trays
Used in combination with impression material to create mold

3 Sets of Impression Material
To make your own dental impressions (1 extra set of material in case you mess up)

3-Way Postage 
All postage between you and the lab is covered (2-way for orders outside of United States)

Professional Teeth Whitening Gel & Desensitizing Gel (If Applicable)
Dentist-strength 22% Carbamide Peroxide in 3ml syringes (you choose quantity). Desensitizing gel included with “sensitive” packages.

Amazing Customer Service

I really can’t say enough good things about the team that works for Smile Brilliant. If you have any questions or concerns throughout the process they want to help so don’t hesitate to reach out.

First Things First (I’m the Realest)


Ignore the way my brain works. Before continuing this blog post I had to stop and do a Iggy Azalea mini dance party just because I thought of the lyrics. But I mean, come on people! Have you seen that music video? Summer 1995 Leslie came back in full swing.

Anyway, I digress. The real first things first, will be a package that arrives with your kit to make your impressions. I was a little nervous about messing this step up but it was really easy and they provide you one extra in event it doesn’t go right the first time. Just make sure that before your start the process of making the molds, you can see it all the way through.

It doesn’t take long but set aside 20-30 minutes with no distractions just to be safe. One you start, the activator in putty starts and you need to create your molds immediately after forming the dough. I’ve created a handy dandy photo guide of the process and you’ll get a comprehensive instruction sheet with your order as well.


After you’ve created your molds, you’ll use their return packaging to ship it back off to the company. They have a handy form to show you what your molds should like when done, so try to get it as close as possible to that. The company will examine them when they receive them to ensure they were done properly, and if they were, they will create your trays for you and mail them back.

The Whitening


This picture makes me laugh. Hello, Vanna White here, look at my trays. Full disclosure, I took these photos after I went through the majority of my applications, my teeth did not start out this white. I also usually use filters on my photos, but I opted not to edit these like I normally would so you could see the real results.

During the first fifteen minutes of my first application, I was like NOPE, don’t like this. I can feel it. I didn’t feel pain, but I just felt weird having something sitting in my mouth and not being able to talk. However, very quickly I almost completely forgot about it. And it was a really nice excuse to not get asked 10,000 a minutes by my kids. Oh no, sorry guys, mama can’t talk for the next hour. Come back later. Hello, mom win.

I did a few days with just desensitizing gel before starting the actual whitening at the recommendation of customer service since I have pretty bad sensitivity. If this is you too, you might want to get a couple extra syringes of the desensitizing gel just in case. After my first real session, and then quick session with the desensitizing gel, I was told I could put coconut oil on my gums to help sooth it but I wanted to see if would need it first. Turns out, I didn’t. My teeth were fine throughout the entire process and my results were amazing.



And guess what, because I loved this whitening system SO much, Smile Brilliant has agreed to do a giveway with me so one of you can try the system for yourself at home!

To Enter:

Simply go to and enter your email address! You can also add your IG handle for an extra entry! I won’t see these entries, Smile Brilliant will be doing a random drawing so enter away! This stuff is truly amazing, I wish you all could win! For those who don’t though, please use my code leslielately15 to get 15% off store wide!

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I would absolutely, 100% recommend this whitening company to everyone I know. And I really love that if you want to keep up the results you don’t have to keep buying the whole system. You have the option to buy the applications by themselves as well. I’ll be doing touch ups every few months just to ensure I keep them this white, because we all know I won’t be giving up my coffee. Ever.

*Disclosure - you HAVE to have the trays for this system to work, so the first time you purchase you’ll need to buy the whole system.

Have you ever done a whitening system before? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

xx, Leslie

Best 2019 Mother's Day Gifts for Under $30

Hey Friends!

It’s been so busy over here with my surgery and trying to plan two birthday parties in May, register Amelia for Kindergarten and planning our trip for Germany next month. If you’re schedule is as packed as mine you might have forgotten that Mother’s Day is this weekend! I got my mom a gift a few weeks ago just by chance when I saw something I just knew she had to have. However, I like to get stuff for my girlfriends and my sister too - and I totally dropped the ball this year.

It’s not too late though! I know we all say Target is bae, and I mean it is, but if I had shopping sister wives, Amazon Prime would be signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours. I’ve created a quick list for the lovely ladies in your life so that you don’t even have to leave your living room.

Bonus: All options are under $30!

For the Mom Who Needs to Relax


Face Mask

Better yet, a dead sea mud mask.


Bath Bombs


Bath Tray

For holding so much wine.

For the Mom Who Works Out


Yoga Pants



Fitness tracker

For tracking fitness.


Water Bottles

With positive messages and goal tracking!

For the Mom Who Likes to Read



A love letter.



One of my favorite series ever written. It’s YA but this author has more genres as well and they are all amazing.


Gift Card

Better yet, let her pick!

For the Mom Who LOVES Being a Mom



Let her bar necklace say it for her.



Say it over and over.



For all the coffee it takes to mother.

If the perfect gift for the awesome women in your life aren’t on this list, don’t worry, Amazon Prime literally has about a million other options! Go get your gifts before it’s too late!

xx, Leslie

Five Fall Favorites

Alright, guys.

So truth be told I started this blog post in OCTOBER and then forgot about it and never made it live, so in my defense it was very much fall when I named this Five Fall Favorites and I just like the ring of it too much to change it soooo here we are.

Also, another truth is that all of these pieces work equally well in winter (at least here in Texas) so we are going with it. These are the five trends I’ve been most in love with this season.


Color Block Sweaters

Animal Prints


Furry Coats


Stepping into 2018


No offense to 2017, but you sucked. On a scale of 1 to 10, 2017 you were a -45. And no, it's not me, it was you. 

I walked into 2018 with my head held high, sparkling apple cider in hand, and dressed like a giant disco ball because GTFO, 2017. I was so done with you. 

I went into 2017 thinking it was my year.  I started my blog and my business; two goals I had been daydreaming about for way too long. And you know, I can't really complain about those two things. They have been going well. And thank the good lord for that, because everything else was a giant crap hole. And while those not so great things did impact the amount of progress I was able to make this year, I didn't let it hinder me completely, and for that, I'm incredibly proud.


In 2017, I started Leslie Lately and then co-founded Majoring in Motherhood.

In 2017, I began learning to deal with my new diagnosis of Lupus, and how to adjust my life to both accepting that and not letting it define who I am. 

In 2017,  we spent most of the year trying to have a baby and had a few let downs along the way. 

In 2017, Daniel had to work away from our family every week until we were moved to Beaumont in August. 

In 2017, 13 days after we bought our first home, we lost it and everything we owned in Hurricane Harvey. 

In 2017, we fought FEMA and got a congressional inquiry into our case, and after 97 days we were given a little bit of help to start our rebuild. 

In 2017, we learned that through heartbreak, we can survive if we hold on to each other. 

In 2017, we learned that after a year of trying, we were finally going to welcome our third and last child. Our son.

In 2017, we were tested and tested and tested again. 

In 2017, we learned what we were made of, and I'm pretty proud of it. 


2018, I don't know what you have in store for us. 

What I do know is that I can handle anything you throw at me, so come at me 2018. Let's see what you got. 


Shop this post: 

This amazing special occasion dress is from Pink Blush Maternity, my go-to for cute mama to be things. I was a little concerned about it being uncomfortable, or how the material would feel, but this dress was like butter. And it's on sale right now!

Get yours here.

A letter to my daughters


"As for my daughters, I'll raise them to believe they breathe fire." 

To my darling daughters, 

You are growing up in an amazing time. It's a time of growth for women when so many women have come before you and sacrificed their time and energy and fought for what they wanted you to have. Things that they were not given but deserved. 

But you aren't coming into the world when the fight is over. You will put your mark on our history just as those before you have. With each decision you make, and each goal you set for yourself. You will rise above expectations, because you, my darling girls, will learn to breathe fire. 


When the world challenges you, I want you to challenge the world back. I don't want you to take anything for granted; instead, I want you to know how lucky you are to have it. I don't want you to take anything for surface value; instead, I want you to educate yourself and form your own opinions. Challenge your own ideas and the ideas of others. Grow and learn from those around you. Never be too proud to be wrong.   Never be too humble to fight for what you know in your heart is right. Learn who you are and stand by your convictions, and when you make a mistake, you own up to it. 


My darling daughters, please know, that even when you challenge me and I seem frustrated, in my heart I'm beaming with pride. It's that fire that will set this world alight. 

And one day, when you are grown, and you are setting the tone for the next generation of women to come after you, just as those who have come before you have, know that I will be the one cheering loudest for you. 

Because above all else, I see you. 

Forever, your mama. 


Shop our closet:

Leslie || Does anything say winter more than a good thermal? I don't think so. I'm in love with this hunter/olive green color and have been snatching it up in everything lately. It's the color of the season as far as I'm concerned. If you're an expecting mama, snatch yours up at Pink Blush Maternity here

Amelia || Amelia's shoes and dress both came from one of my favorite kid's shops, AlexandAlexa. They are an amazing shop that carries all my favorite brands from big names to smaller shops. The dress is Bobo Choses, which is an all-time favorite of mine, and the shoes are adidas. 

Ava || Ava's awesome shoes are also from AlexandAlexa