Scroll to the bottom for a giveaway and outfit details
Some things go hand in hand. For example, motherhood= coffee + wine. But you know what else that means? Stained teeth and low confidence in my smile. And I don’t think I am the only one! I’ll admit that the secret to success for my early morning wakeups is a freshly brewed cup of coffee (I sing the praises of my grind-and-brew daily!). But the stains on my teeth are an unfortunate side effect I don’t love. I have used other whitening products for years with some success, but often with a loooot of pain (sensitive teeth over here!) and never quite eradicating the stains between my teeth. When Smile Brilliant reached out to me I could hardly contain myself!
Using Smile Brilliant was so easy to fit into my lifestyle. I would pop in the custom whitening trays after dinner as my husband took the kids upstairs and start getting ready for bed. I would pick up the house a bit and then meet up for bedtime kisses. Simply leaving the trays in my mouth for a couple hours would five me perfectly white teeth without any hassle. I would apply the desensitizing gel about 15 minutes before bed, and that’s it! No pain, so easy, and instantly white teeth. Talk about a perfect match.
So let me explain what this product is: it is a CUSTOM teeth whitening tray that you can reuse, as well as a desensitizing gel if you suffer from sensitive teeth like I do. Not only is their product proven to whiten your teeth faster than at the dentist office, but it costs nearly 70% less! We are talking over $500 at the office versus this at-home system for under $149. They are also vegan and cruelty free which is a huge plus. If you know me than you know I am not one to advocate for a product that I wouldn’t use myself, and this is no exception. When I whitened my teeth the first time with this product, I saw immediate results! I am now three treatments in and my teeth have never looked better. I may have happy-texted my sisters and got them on board right away.
You can see my before and after pictures here:
I feel so much more confident in my smile now! And you can too… Smile Brilliant has offered to give away a $149 credit, the same amount as the custom T3 Sensitive System!
GIVEAWAY & COUPON DETAILS:
The giveaway is for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit. Giveaway will end on 4/27/18 and is open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.
There was this one time where I bought my husband a vacuum for Christmas. A vacuum. Now if I explain the backstory behind it, it would make total sense (at least it did for me! He still brings it up in jest. Often.). Before we had kids and had lots of spare time on our hands, Marcus was really into cleaning his car. He would spend hours every weekend meticulously cleaning his car, inside and out. So newly married little me on a teeny little budget thought that getting him a hand vacuum was brilliant. Imagine my surprise when he couldn’t control his laughter on our second Christmas as a married couple! Needless to say that I am a little leery when giving him gifts…
Let’s talk Valentines Day. While I am a huge fan of love and love to celebrate it, there is a part of me that gets anxious about buying a gift for my husband (I mean, you can imagine why…). He has everything he wants, and if he does actually need something, he buys it for himself. Consider this girl stumped. Until. UNTIL. This watch. My man doesn’t collect things, but he does have a nice little collection of watches. So I figured I would add to his collection, this time with wooden watches, which is totally different than anything he has!
Jord contacted me at the perfect time before my Valentine’s Day gift-giving slump hit. Have you seen their watches? They are superior quality wooden watches and some of the coolest designs I’ve seen, and for a great price! They are unique and personal, most of which you can have engraved with your husband’s initials or name, or even a little love note (perfect Valentine’s Day gift, amiright?!). Marcus loves the watch! It is so unique and very light, so a much different feel than any other watch he has. I would say I (finally) got a slam dunk for gift giving this holiday!
Marcus is wearing the Frankie Zebrawood with the Navy face. Sexy, right? If you are interested in this watch you can check it out here!
You can check out their entire collection for men here. They also have a collection for women too! Check it out here. I’m a little sad I don’t have one myself now… Also, side note darling husband if you are reading this: I just noticed they sell an apple watch band. But I suppose I need an apple watch first… 😉
Who wants to win a gift card towards a JORD WATCH?! Obviously that was rhetorical. Anyways, Jord was generous enough to offer up a $100 gift card to one lucky winner! There will be one lucky winner, but all entries will receive a 10% off discount code once the giveaway is over. You can enter by clicking here. It will just take a second, promise! Easy! Contest ends 2/11/18.
I get asked all the time is how I can get everyone ready and out of the house on time in the morning. Mornings can be a cluster when you have kids ifyouknowwhatImean. Three days a week Scarlett has to be at school for 8:30, so that means we all need to be out of the house by 8:15 (because every mom knows it takes almost 10 minutes to get on shoes and coats and load into the car, amiright?!). I am not perfect, but one thing I can’t stand is being late. I try my best to get ready and out of the house on time and hopefully have everyone out of pajamas! Actually, some days it’s just leggings for me, but that’s #momlife. Here’s my six tips for a smooth and successful morning! (Scroll to the bottom for outfit details!)
Secrets to Success:
Wake up way before kids
If you’ve followed along here for any time (or follow my instastories), you’ve noticed I wake up really early. Like way earlier than you think necessary. But, this is my number one secret to success. I get the things I need to get done for the day that are more difficult to do when the kids are awake. That includes waking up in general (I need a few minutes of quiet or I wake up like a bear…), coffee (see next point), devotional, exercise, and shower. Usually, but not always, in that order. (I can go into more detail about how I wake up so early another time, so if early waking isn’t for you, continue on to the next tips!)
To make it to school on time and fit in all those things, currently I wake up at 5:00 am. I know. Right now I am between Bible studies, but when I start my new one I will start waking up at 4:45. I get right up and start my day off right! Then once the kids start to wake up, I am in control of the day instead of the day controlling me. So, think of a time you’d like to wake up. Now wake up 3o minutes earlier than that. It will take time, but you’ll get into the habit!
Have coffee programmed
We invested in a grind and brew coffee system when our old Keurig died a couple years ago. It has a setting where I can prepare and program the coffee the night before and this has become a huge time saver! Instead of me preparing the coffee machine when I go downstairs and then waiting for it to brew, I walk down to a fresh cup waiting for me. Otherwise I would be waiting another 20 minutes by the time I prepared the coffee maker and waited for it to brew! If you aren’t a coffee drinker or have an instant coffee system, then you can ignore this one. But the difference in coffee is crazy!
Downstairs hair station
Hair is a big issue in our house. Scarlett has very snarly hair and it is super sensitive, so every morning it is a bit of a project. Instead of having to run upstairs with Scarlett (& now Levi too, he loves to have his hair done like daddy!), I have a little station in our powder bath downstairs. It is right outside the kitchen so I will either do their hair while they eat, or after they are done and dressed. It saves the hassle of rounding up the kids and going up a floor! (Believe it or not, a big time savings!). I keep everyday hair supplies down there in a drawer like a hairbrush, clear elastics, and hair gel. Her daily hairstyle is a small portion in front pinned back with a bow. We pick out a bow the night before with her outfit. Which brings me to my next point…
Set out outfits & pack lunch the night before
Part of our nighttime routine on school nights is picking out the next day’s clothes and setting them out. It also gives us a chance to talk about weather, appropriate layers, and styles for the activity of the next day. Scarlett loves to dress herself and is surprisingly interested in different sillhouettes and what pieces go with what. She’s totally my daughter 😉 Most mornings Scarlett will bring her outfit downstairs and she will put it on after breakfast. Picking it out the night before relieves me of having to have the conversation in the morning where time is so valuable!
Since Scarlett does lunch bunch at school, I also pack her lunchbox the night before. I can take my time and make a well-balanced meal for her when I am not rushed! I have forgotten to pack it at night and then had to make it the morning of, and let’s just say it wasn’t my best work… I leave her lunchbox insulator on the island counter so I remember to take it out of the fridge in the morning and put it in her backpack.
Need-to before want-to
Efficiency is key in the morning. We do all the things we “need” to do before we can do the things we “want” to do. That means we have to eat breakfast, clean up, get dressed, and be ready for the day before we can play! I try and hold myself to the same standard, although I have been slacking lately. That should mean no social media checks for me until I have crossed my need-to items off my list! As a reward I will let the kids watch a show once everyone is all ready. This also helps build teamwork skills to assist in getting each other ready for the day! Most mornings the kids will watch an episode of something in the morning if they get ready efficiently. I usually finish getting myself ready (hair/makeup) during this time.
This one is a weird one, I’ll be honest. But it works for me! I use Plackers and floss on the way to school. Normally I may skip flossing because it takes time and we are rushing to get out of the door. If I do it while driving to school it maximizes my time! There’s nothing like a healthy habit that saves a little time. Also if you haven’t used Plackers, you need to try them! I haven’t had success with other brands, so stick with these (no, not sponsored!) They work so well and you can do it with one hand. Bonus points because I have a small mouth and it is easier for me!
Now that Christmas is only a WEEK away (how did that happen?!) I am starting to think about what I am going to wear for Christmas Eve to church and my Christmas outfit. What a better excuse to wear a little sparkle than at Christmastime! Pairing this sequined shirt with a pleated skirt makes for the perfect Christmas outfit. It is such a cute ensemble, plus everything can be remixed into other outfits. Can you tell I like items that have a lot of bang for their buck?! (Remember how I wore this pleated skirt here in the summer?). The silhouette is so flattering and the extra bling for winter is perfect.
My skirt and shirt are old, but I found some really similar options below.
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Family pictures with young kids is notoriously challenging. No matter the dynamic, there is some level of stress that is associated with these highly coveted pictures! I wrote a post last year about my best family picture success advice (check it out here!) so I am not writing today to give any advice, merely to share the result of the stress. It may take some preparation, work, or bribery (no judgement!), but it is always, ALWAYS worth it. (Husbands, are you reading this?!).
Now please excuse me while I cry over how perfect these came out and how adorable my kids are! You can shop our outfits if you scroll to the bottom of the post. But before you do, check out the cuteness! I mean, I may be biased but…. I am obsessed. Carry on.
Oh, don’t let me forget this. Help me not to forget the squinty eyed smiles, the insatiable desire to be held or the fierce independence and fearlessness (sometimes both at the same time). Let me never forget the giggles, snuggles, and sound of them calling out to mama. I am so thankful for pictures like this to help me capture this beautiful (and chaotic) phase of life!
Thank you to Bekad Scadding for these amazing pictures! Contact her here if you are local. She works some magic with kids (which if you have kids, you know that is hard to do!).