Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Teeth Whitening At Home

One of the most valuable lessons I've learned as a mom is that if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to take care of anyone else. I used to think that in order to be the best mom I could be to Hayden and Charlotte, I had to be there 100 percent for them and put myself last (far, far at the end of everybody and everything that needed my attention). I realized that attitude does no one any good; I'm stressed out and resentful and my mood affects everyone else. So now I practice a little self-care and pampering whenever I can. Unless I'm going to the gym, I put on some non-work-out clothes, fix my hair and put on a little makeup. At night, I have a longer skin care routine that allows me to unwind and focus on me. On weekends I like to paint my nails and read a magazine while they dry. All these little things help me feel more like a full person, beyond just being "Mom". I think that when you look good, you feel good about yourself and project that happiness outward.

One thing that I've always been curious about is at home teeth whitening. Like most moms I know, my mornings always start with coffee and sometimes end in red wine, both of which aren't great for your smile.

When I looked into it previously, the cost was a bit high. I've used crest white strips in the past without loving the process or the results. I was given a chance to review a teeth whitening kit from Smile Brilliant. I loved that Smile Brilliant sent me a customized whitening trays that fit my mouth perfectly and the whole process was seamless. I was able to use the whitening trays at night after dinner and wear them until I went to bed. Smile Brilliant also provided desensitizing gel that helped with any post-whitening sensitivity.  My teeth have always been sensitive, so I really appreciated this extra component to the process. Overall, they were a great company to work with and I would recommend the product if you're looking for affordable whitening.

Here's the before and after, using the product for just one week:

Now it's your turn to win your own Smile Brilliant teeth whitening kit! All you have to do is click the link below and enter your e-mail. The giveaway is open for 7 days and open to USA, UK, Australia, and Canadian residents. The giveaway winner will be selected by an automated engine. 

You can also get $20 off tray using the coupon code: heylittlemomma

Good luck! 

This post wasn't sponsored by Smile Brilliant, nor was I compensated for my opinion. I received a free Smile Brilliant Whitening kit to review. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Entryway Console Decorating

Since I launched my second website a few months ago, I've had some more requests for simple decorating tips and I thought I'd try to start sharing some of my own tips. I'm definitely not a professional or someone who has studied design extensively, but I love home decor and I feel like my house usually looks pretty pulled together, so I thought it would be fun to give you some insight into my decor tips.

First I will say that I am all about using what you have and not spending a bunch of money on home decor. A lot of my items are things we've had forever, repurposed or bought from Target, etc.

Decorating a tabletop or console table can be a little intimidating because the pieces are usually long, multi-functional and the first thing people may see when walking into your home. My favorite thing to hang above a long table is a round mirror. Most entry tables are rectangular, so a round mirror softens the space and provides some contrast to the angles. Another plus to the round mirror compared to art is that it gives you a neutral backdrop to whatever goes on the table - perfect if you're more of seasonal decorator or like to change things out often.

Next, if room allows for it, matching lamps on either end are my fav. I got these substantial ones from Target a couple years ago and I love the blue with the slight design and the heft of these guys. I am always walking past them on my way down to my office and every time I see them, I'm happy.

In the middle, I always have one larger item like a vase or plant. This gold vase with some branches adds visual interest and a little fall flavor to the room.

A stack of three to five the same color books looks clean and classic. I always have little items that I can add to a stack of books to give it an intentional look. This little bear was a candle holder from Anthropologie years ago and I love that he's a fun, whimsical piece.

On the other side, I have a small tray with a bowl, plant, and candle. Anything on a tray looks instantly more put-together. If you have a tray for your mail or keys, it looks a lot cleaner than just stacking straight on the table.

So to recap, my tips are:

  1. Use a round mirror to add visual contrast to a rectangular table and a neutral background
  2. Two matching lamps are great if you have the length on the table. One lamp also works in a smaller space.
  3. Flowers, branches, or a plant can be switched out seasonally and make the table look fresh.
  4. Trays and bowls are great for making your mail, keys, phone drop zone a little cleaner. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Five on Friday

I can't believe it's already less than a week until Thanksgiving. This entire year feels like it's gone crazy fast and I can't believe the holiday season is upon us.

Last night, I somehow got caught up in rereading the blog circa 2011 and it made me super nostalgic for those days. Nick and I were in our twenties, living in our beloved Oakland apartment and finding home projects to do each weekend. A few flashbacks for your viewing pleasure:

DIY Snow Globes
Pregnancy Announcement

Fall Decorating
I moved my desk around in our office/guest room since I was tired of trying to hide the bed in the background during work-related video calls. I actually love the way it looks and I feel like it made me excited this week to get down to my little space for work each morning. I want to finish off this little corner some more but here's a little peak.

Husband shout out: Our main TV in our sunroom broke a month or so ago. We got it as a wedding present so it's nearly 10 years old and we started looking at new TVs and we were shocked at the prices. I told Nick we could just get by with one TV for awhile (we have another one that someone gave us about 6 years ago also probably close to 10 years old). He promptly took apart the TV, ordered some parts online and fixed it. The following week, our other TV went out (ha!). He did the same thing and now they are both working and he said with these new parts, they might last another 10 years. So we'll be the people with the oldest TVs when our kids are in high school. Seriously, I'm so impressed that Nick just knows how to do these things and I thank God I married such a handy guy!

Kids update: Since my blogging has been sporadic at best, I feel like it's been forever since I've shared an update of the kids. At 5 and almost 3, I think we've reached the age where they love each other's company so much. They are always playing a make-believe game (mostly involving lots of meowing and giggling). They both have quiet time and this last week, I've heard them not-so-sneakily open their doors and try to play together instead of resting alone. I love witnessing their little friendship.

Speaking of the kids, we've been getting Audiobook CDs from the library the past month and we've been on a Beverley Cleary kick, and listening to the Ramona books one by one. Anyone else read these as a child? I loved them growing up and the kids do too now. It's been a nice departure to listen to the books rather than Frozen/Trolls/Moana soundtrack on repeat as we drive around. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Halloween 2017

We had such a fun Halloween this year! Both kids are at an age where they really understand the holiday and are all in. This year, I was hoping for a sibling costume and it didn't take much convincing to have them dress up as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. I got Charlotte's costume from an Etsy shop and ordered a green polo shirt and leggings from Primary to make Hayden's costume. We had lots of visitors over the Halloween weekend, including my mom, sister, and a good friend. Having extra people around definitely contributed to the kids' excitement! Both kids had parades and Halloween parties at school. The afternoon of Halloween, we went trick-or-treating downtown. All the businesses downtown open their doors to trick-or-treaters and it's so fun and festive. We met friends after dinner and trick-or-treated up and down one street in our neighborhood. We live in a pretty hilly neighborhood so one street was plenty! It was so fun and the kids are already talking about Halloween next year! (Can I get away with another themed pair??)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pumpkin Patching

We finally made it to the pumpkin patch this last weekend after having a few delays with weather and other engagements the last couple weekends. The kids were super excited and so we were all out the door by 9:30 am on Sunday morning and our first stop was Starbucks for some fuel before hitting the road. We're lucky in New Jersey to have so many farms to choose from, all in close proximity. Some of the places we've gone the past 2 years are a bit over-the-top with bounce houses, rides, and just a lot going on. We wanted to go somewhere a little more low key that still had a few activities to do, but wasn't insane.

We ended up at Conklin Farms and it was pretty cute. We went through the corn maze, saw some farm animals, took an extremely bumpy hayride, and picked out our pumpkins. It was so cute seeing the kids pick their own pumpkins. Hayden wanted a red one (like the bright orangey red ones that are very instagramable, haha) and Charlotte requested a "tiny one". We ended up picking 2 (small) carving pumpkins and few decorative pumpkins. Here are a few pictures I snapped of our fun morning together:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What I've Been Reading...

I have always loved to read and it's still a daily habit of mine. I usually only read at night in bed but I would always rather read a book than watch TV. I deviated from my classics of last year but here are 5 books that I've read recently and recommend.

The Orphan Master's Son: I got this book a few years ago right after it won the Pulitzer but put it down after a couple days. I picked it back up again about a month ago; it was a long read but really interested. It's about one man's life in North Korea. It's fiction but still fascinating to see the stark differences in the culture and the rights of the people. I think it feels apropos of our current international politics as well.

Emma in the Night: This book I bought in the airport between flights this summer. It was a really quick read and so fascinating. It's pretty dark and deals with mental health but it's one of those edge-of-your-seat mystery books that is a page-turner.

Beartown: I read A Man Called Ove (by the same author, which I would also recommend!) earlier in the year but this one has a very different feel. It's about a small town and how they deal with a difficult situation. It's really interesting to see the perspective of so many different characters and this one too feels appropriate for some of the more serious issues of this day and age.

The Underground Railroad : I always love to read historical fiction of this time period and this book was no exception. It was definitely hard to read at times, but a beautifully told story of a very courageous woman.

Hillbilly Elegy: The root of this book is a memoir about a family that for better or worse truly loves each other. The conditions described are heartbreaking and the loss of the American dream for so many is felt in the pages of this book.

I realize now that this list is a little heavier than I anticipated- I definitely do read chick lit and a lot of lighter books but hands-down I would recommend all of these books as ones that really make you think and feel.

Affiliate links used! 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Halloween House

Hayden is very interested in the spooky aspects of Halloween for the first time in his life and we've already visited multiple Halloween stores searching out some creepy decorations. I felt like this was the year to break out all the Halloween decor that's been sitting up in the attic, unused. If you've read this blog forever, you might remember how dedicated to Halloween decor things were BC (before kids) so I actually had all these decorations on hand.

Here are a few spots in our house that got the Halloween treatment:

Our front table got the spookiest decorations with ravens, spider webs, and potions. 

The kids really enjoyed wrapping cobwebs everywhere. I've been saving this white crepe paper and the giant eyes for just this project....

Note, the mantle is supposed to have 5 mini pumpkins but one is missing; that will be fun to find next spring...

The playroom got a dose of Halloween as well- nowhere was safe! 

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