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*I actually started writing most of this post back in July and delayed publishing it due to my own lack of public vulnerability. I hadn’t realized until now how much it was holding me back.*

vulnerabilityVulnerability is something I’ve struggled with since day one.

Brené Brown told me to be more vulnerable. In ‘Daring Greatly’ she insisted I just go for it. To take the plunge and dive right into emotions I may not have explored. In ‘Rising Strong’ she taught me to dust myself off after diving in led to epic failure.

Then I learned that there is no failure in trying. The only failure is no longer doing.

Even after reading about vulnerability, I realized I still wasn’t exploring it myself. I wasn’t letting my guard down. I didn’t want to be judged for what my heart looked like. I didn’t want to let anyone see me past the depth of my skin.

Until recently, I was okay with only my spouse, best friend, and a few family members seeing my vulnerable, messy self. “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.” Right? I was only allowing the ones I trusted wholeheartedly to see what my soul looked like.

A few weeks ago, my company started a book club. First on the reading docket was “The ONE Thing”, which essentially identifies that behind every successful person is their ONE thing. It continuously begs the question “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

We broke the book club up into 4 separate meetings. Every Thursday we’d meet for 1 hour to discuss the chapters we’d just finished reading that week. On meeting #3, we discussed ‘purpose’.

Shit. I couldn’t avoid talking about it anymore. I’d gone 29 years without having to talk about ‘my purpose’, and now I was cornered.

I was sweating bullets. I was looking down while picking at my fingernails. My boss called on me. “Laura, you’ve been quiet this entire meeting. Let’s hear what you have to say. What is your purpose?”

I took a deep breath and looked at the other 6 faces that were staring at me on the Google Hangouts video call. I finished my long inhale, and with my exhale came a stream of tears.

“I don’t know.”

Side note: Answering a question (especially coming from your boss) with “I don’t know” feels pretty freaking detrimental to your confidence level, especially when it comes to something as seemingly simple as ‘what’s your purpose?’

There. I said it.

I had just then realized that I had spent so many years living out what I assumed people thought my purpose was instead of determining for myself what my purpose was. Sharing that information with my team made me feel naked from the inside-out.

I knew from then on that I wanted to stop coasting through life doing what others expected me to do and make something happen.

Which leads me to my main point. I’m currently writing my very first book. For those of you who don’t already know me, I work for an incredible company called Self-Publishing School. We are a virtual, educational online business that teaches aspiring authors how to write, publish, and market their first books. It’s really quite something to be a part of, and I can’t explain how good it feels to have a job that has purpose behind it.

Back in July, I had made the commitment to myself that I would write my first book. It will be about starting a lifestyle blog and the struggles and failures that come along with it.

There were a few reasons that pushed me to make that decision. One, my boss really wanted me to have my own book under my belt in order to create the most valuable, helpful, and productive content for our own students. If I had been through the process myself, I’d have more first-hand experience and could personally help the students we work with. Two, I needed to work on my personal accountability. So often I’ve started new projects that are so fresh and exciting to me, gotten more than halfway done, been able to see the future positive outcome of finishing, and then I set it aside and walk away. I had to make a change and be accountable for my commitments. Three, I have some deep-rooted personal struggles I’m working through when it comes to seeking the approval of others, and more importantly, myself. It’s been 7 months of me dragging my feet to the finish line of my book because I’ve been so afraid of what people will think.

“Who is she to write a book about something she’s not even that great at?” “Does she think she’s better than everyone else?” “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” “She’s a failure.”

See, the thing is… the more I think about it, the more I’m afraid of asking myself these things.

WHY am I letting these limiting beliefs define who I am during such a crucial time? It’s time to move on and do what I’ve set out to do. I’m going to write a book.

So this is me, after waiting far too long, admitting my fears of comparison and failure because it’s time I let myself be vulnerable. This is a huge first step in helping me discover my purpose, follow my passion, and stop letting the opinions of myself and others hold me back.

 

P.S. I want to know if anyone else out there has struggled with vulnerability. Is there anything that’s holding you back? What are we so afraid of?

 

Teeth whitening has always been something I’ve contemplated in the past but was never sure which route to take. It seems like there are so many options available and it gets overwhelming on how to make the right choice. I’ve had little luck with different strips in the past and I feel like I’m always fighting an uphill battle trying to rid of my coffee-stained teeth. Luckily, I was introduced to Smile Brilliant, a teeth whitening company created by dental professionals that produces custom-fitted whitening trays here in the U.S. and delivers them to your door.

smile brilliant

About Smile Brilliant

The Smile Brilliant team is made up of dental professionals with more than 30 years of teeth whitening experience. Their experienced staff has created custom-fitted whitening trays for local dentists. They decided to develop a system that allows customers to make their own dental impressions from the comfort of their own home! By eliminating a trip to the dentist, it also eliminates time and cost.

How does it work?

Step 1: Order the complete package and make your dentaI impressions in less than 15 minutes. Send your impressions back to Smile Brilliant in prepaid envelope.

Step 2: The Smile Brilliant lab receives your dental impressions, crafts an exact model of your teeth, and hand finishes a truly custom-fitted tray.

Step 3: Simply add professional teeth whitening gel to your trays, wear them, and relax! Let Smile Brilliant do the work.

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I was super excited about the opportunity to use their product because of how streamlined and simple the entire preparation process was. I knew that if it was made easy enough for me to not have to visit the dentist or have someone poke around inside my mouth that it was worth the try.

My Teeth Whitening Journey:

Upon receiving my Smile Brilliant teeth whitening kit, I tore open the envelope, read the directions, and immediately prepped to create my teeth molds right in my very own kitchen. I woke up the next morning to check on them, and they were perfectly firm and ready to be shipped back to the lab. I placed them into their pre-paid envelope and dropped them into the outgoing mailbox.

Just 5 days later, I received my whitening trays and was ready to get started!

Here are my before photos:

(Excuse the no makeup, dry skin look)

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Because of the decalcification on my front teeth (I also had braces ages ago), I was instructed to pre-treat my teeth with desensitizing gel, which replenished my teeth with minerals and hydration, which helped to re-calcify my teeth before beginning the regular whitening treatments. After day five of just using desensitizing gel, I began my regular whitening treatments. I started noticing a difference after just the third treatment! Every treatment after that continued to yield a whiter and brighter smile.

I’ve never been very confident when it comes to my smile. Between the decalcification, crooked bottom front teeth, and lack of brightness, I usually smile to conceal my teeth. I don’t feel like I have to do that anymore.

Here are my after photos:

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I’m still in disbelief at how successful this teeth whitening journey has been. Everything was made simple, comfortable, and fun. I also don’t suffer from any pain or teeth sensitivity after whitening because the treatments are complete with desensitizing gel that make the process pain-free. Now I can give myself a short whitening treatment any time I decide I want a touch-up!

Check out what others are saying about Smile Brilliant here.

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Now I’m giving away a FREE Smile Brilliant kit to one lucky reader! Here are the rules:
One winner will receive a $139.95 credit to Smile Brilliant which will cover the cost of the tray creation and 6 syringes of whitening gel and/or desensitizing gel (your choice). Giveaway ends December 1st!

Enter the giveaway here. 

Or, for 5% off your order, enter promo code breezyandbrazen at checkout.
Professional Teeth Whitening


teeth whitening
Keep smiling!
laura

Yep, it happened: I’m velvet obsessed. I can’t get enough of it right now. I know a few posts back I confessed my love for all things suede, which is still accurate, but holy moly have I really taken to this velvet trend. I feel like I’m reliving my youth all over again with this late 90s styles. What I love most about velvet is that it’s comfortable, thick, hides imperfections, and is warm during the colder months. Give me all of the velvet.

Here are some velvet pieces I’m loving this season.

Velvet Obsessed
  1. Velvet Wrap Slip Dress // Target (Who What Wear Collection) // $35
  2. Vegan Elsa Ankle Boot // Free People // $128
  3. Velvet Batwing Sweatshirt // Topshop // $48
  4. Noisy May Velvet Biker Jacket // ASOS // $78
  5. B.B. Dakota Velvet Jumpsuit // Lulus // $75
  6. Dawson Backpack // Herschel Supply Co. // $120
  7. Velvet Cut-Out Shoulder Sweater // ZARA // $40

Anyone else a fan of this trend? What are your favorite velvet pieces and where are your favorite places to shop for them?

Hope you all have a wonderful Halloween!

Laura

I recently added a wood watch from JORD to my limited collection of jewelry and watches. I’ve become a bit of a minimalist in terms of my jewelry collection because I get so tired of organizing, purging, and reorganizing my necklaces, bracelets, and earrings and more. I used to have more jewelry than I could keep up with, so downsizing was necessary. Now my collection feels intentionally curated with only pieces I truly love. In that collection now lies my JORD wood watch that fits in well with my wardrobe of mostly neutral hues.
wood watch
My JORD wood watch is the Frankie style in the colors Koa & Ash. The wood has a darker finish with a slate grey face and I think it’s the perfect contrast. I love that the face of the watch is large but simple, too.
wood watch
jord wood watch
JORD wood watches run between $129-$395 in price and they have a huge variety of styles and colors. I happen to have weird, bony wrists so the fact that they are very descriptive with their custom sizing chart is helpful. I can confidently wear my watch without it drooping or spinning around my wrist because it fits perfectly.
wood watch
wood watch
JORD wood watch
To find the right wood watch style for you, visit woodwatches.com.

Wooden Watches by JORD