About erin z.

http://everythingwithloveblog.com

the story of a life lived thoughtfully.

Posts by erin z.:

side effects of sleep deprivation (and a solution).

did you know that one of the biggest lies they tell you when you have kids is that one day your kids will sleep through the night? it’s true. because kids never sleep through the night. not ever. they might have a period of time where they sleep through the night, sure. but then they stop and are up all night again ruining your sleep. with two kids now, at least one of them is up at some point almost every single night.

all that to say: i love coffee. you guys, i love it so much. i haven’t reached the point of no return with my addiction, but i will say that coffee and i are in a very serious relationship. if you’ve ever met me, talked to me, or watched my instastories, you know this about me. and the thing is, i’m not prepared to give that relationship up. i look forward to my morning coffee (and maybe an afternoon americano at work) because it makes me feel cozy, and let’s be real, because it wakes me up. this beautiful relationship has been born out of necessity because i haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep in a few years.

as much as i love my morning cup of love, i do NOT like that it makes my teeth discolored. they’re not the MOST yellow, but they’re definitely not the whitest white they could be. the side effects of sleep deprivation are real my friends.

until i got the opportunity to try smile brilliant. when they contacted me to do a review of their product, i was really excited. (i was given a kit to review, but as you know, i will always give my honest opinion about any products i talk about here). i’ve tried other teeth whitening products in the past, and i’ve just never been able to get into using them for one reason or another. they’re either too sticky and fall off my teeth, or they make my sensitive teeth hurt after just one use.

guys, this is the real deal. have a look at my before and after photos. these are straight out of the camera and totally unretouched, just so you know.

my teeth weren’t the worst to begin with, but they definitely improved after using smile brilliant. i really wish my mouth was big enough so you could see my bottom teeth, because there was a huge difference in the whiteness there. #tinymouthprobs

like i said before, my biggest complaints with other whitening products is that they don’t stay on my teeth to whiten them, and that my teeth are really sensitive so most hurt me. because smile brilliant is a custom fit system (they send you molds to get the exact fit of your teeth, like a retainer!), the whitening gel actually gets on your teeth and stays there. no gross strips falling off your teeth and making you talk funny. the biggest pro for this system is that they have a sensitive teeth option for people who need it. i just applied the sensitivity gel after the whitening gel, and my gum sensitivity totally dissipated. i highly recommend for anyone who has that same problem.

my one tiny complaint about how it works is that you are supposed to avoid drinking or eating anything that could stain your teeth for 12-24 hours after whitening, so they recommend doing the treatments before bed. well, it turns out that i like to drink wine before bed. so thanks a lot smile brilliant. you made me curb my nighttime wine drinking habit. are you happy? (it’s fine guys, i used the whitening gel every day for a week, and then moved down to every few days for upkeep, so i was able to drink my wine AND have white teeth too!)

i highly recommend this kit if you’re looking for an affordable teeth whitening solution, or if, like me, you’re living with the side effects of sleep deprivation and too much coffee drinking. i’ve had a great experience with it and i’ll continue to purchase and use it in the future when i need a little whitening boost (or maybe my kids will start sleeping and i won’t need it…hahahahaha just kidding that will never happen).

and now, for a giveaway!

even if you aren’t suffering from the side effects of sleep deprivation, i’m guessing you might have your own reasons for wanting whiter teeth. if you’re interested, you could win a $139 smile brilliant credit to use towards a whitening kit for yourself. enter here to win!

if you decide that you’re interested in just going for it even if you don’t win, you can use code “everythingwithlove10” for 10% off a smile brilliant product.

*giveaway is open for one week. MUST enter through the link above to be counted. giveaway is for $139 credit and is open to USA, UK, Canada, and Australia residents.*

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Tooth Whitening Gel

a bunch of stuff i’m currently loving.

hi guys!

guess what? this week, work didn’t take every ounce of self control and energy i posses, so i have the emotional energy to write a post FOR FUN. oh yes. you heard that right. this post is neither a sponsored post nor a post about my children. i mean, it might contain things ABOUT my children, but the sole purpose of this post is not to talk about them. A MIRACLE IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD!i’m reminded as we get further from william’s first birthday that the one year mark after having a child is magical for so many reasons. not only is your baby growing up and becoming a toddler, you start to get back a lot of the parts of yourself that got put on the backburner while raising an infant (and a toddler). you sleep better (some nights), you aren’t constantly attached to the baby (some days), and your brain starts to go from survival/mama bear mode to ‘me’ mode again. the same thing happened to me with amelia, only i don’t think i noticed it as much because i had so much more alone time when she was a baby. when your alone time becomes even more scarce with baby number two, missing yourself feels harder. i’ll probably write a whole post on this someday where i will articulate myself better, but all of this to say, i finally feel like i have enough energy for an outlet again. and that’s a happy thing!

in honor of frivolous posts about nothing, here are a few things i’m loving right now, separated into categories, but in no particular order:

favorites for kiddos

  • fleece hats and mittens. and because kids are irresponsible, be sure to buy two pairs each. (we’ve already lost one of william’s mittens…) these fleece hats are awesome because they have comfortable velcro straps to keep the hats on without irritating little chins. (p.s. both of these pairs are on sale right now!)
  • color wonder craft supplies. william has been wanting to join in on anything and everything amelia does these days, which is so cute. and so stressful when it involves things that are messy. so i’m loving the color wonder stuff from crayola, because i can give a marker to the boy and he can actually color without constant supervision!
  • munchkin straw cups. hmmm. apparently when your child turns one, you buy all the things, because they all of a sudden need a bunch of new stuff… these cups are perfect for new cup users. the straws are flexible, the cup is (mostly) spill-proof, and they come in two packs so you can give one to the older sibling when they inevitably need their own new cup now too.

 

favorites for myself

  • beautycounter lip gloss in ‘peony’. my lips have been so dry lately that i can’t wear my usual lipstick or lipsense. but i can wear this amazingly moisturizing lip gloss. my first babysitter ever is a beautycounter consultant, and she has helped me find my favorite natural beauty product replacements from beautycounter. i’m not going to lie to you: some of the stuff just doesn’t match up to my favorite products (never gonna give you up, l’oreal mascara!), but so much of it, especially the products that matter the most in terms of health impact and safety, is amazing! (like this blush and this charcoal mask) i’m not a consultant, just a true lover of finding mostly natural, safer products that actually work.
  • these sculpt jeans from gap. HOLY MOTHER OF AMAZING JEANS. i don’t think i can adequately express just how much i love these. they are cut perfectly, they suck in my mom tummy, they make my butt look amazing, and they never ever ever ever lose their stretch! they are on sale right now, so don’t walk, RUN and buy these. i just bought my second pair in the faded black color (and need to exchange them for a bigger size, because ahem i haven’t worked out in an embarassingly long time) and cannot wait to get them in the rotation.
  • this h&m scarf. i can’t find the color that i have anymore, but it’s the one i’m wearing in the photo in this post. i got it from my brand-new sister-in-law as a bridal party gift, and i’ve been wearing it nonstop. it’s warm, but not heavy, and it’s just the right size for everyday wear. highly recommend if you need a break from your blanket scarf (although i’m wearing my blanket scarf a lot too…it’s freezing here in the tundra already!).

favorites for eating

  • these nacho nests. because if you show me someone who says they wouldn’t like a personal pan pizza version of nachos, i’ll show you a liar.
  • these browned butter chocolate chunk pumpkin cookies. because trish is a baking goddess and i wish we lived next door to each other so i could eat all her delicious desserts all the time.
  • these honeycrisp old-fashioned cocktails. only i make mine like a manhattan with some sweet vermouth. the honeycrisp syrup is fully worth the effort if you’re into bourbon cocktails, and i am very into bourbon cocktails.

favorites for music

  • that new taylor swift ish. yes i am that basic. it’s catchy stuff. get over yourself.

 

  • this version of ‘winter song’ by leslie odom, jr. i am obsessed with both sara bareilles and ingrid michaelson, who sang the original version of this song, and it is amazing. leslie odom, jr., whom i also love, covers it on his christmas album. while i am not in full christmas song listening mode yet, i highly recommend taking a listen to this track.

 

  • my christmas spotify playlist. it’s called ‘all the good christmas songs’, and while i understand that we all have vastly different opinions on what constitutes a good christmas song, i feel that i’ve done a good job leaving out all the crap. i’m not listening to this yet, because it’s too early, but now at least i’m prepared for when it’s time (in like two weeks). come give it a follow and share with fellow christmas music lovers.

 

that’s all i got for you! i’ve been feeling the blogging bug a little bit more every day, so i’ll be popping up here more often. i don’t think we’re at editorial calendar levels yet, but who knows what the new year will bring? smooches and finger pokes to all of you!

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cheesy nacho nests (or, your family’s new favorite side dish).

 

this post is sponsored by Crystal Farms®, but all the #cheeselove is straight from my own heart. make sure to read to the end for how to enter the giveaway!

i’ve finally found the perfect side dish for chili.

not that chili needs a side dish (because it doesn’t, it’s the perfect meal in a bowl), but there are days when you just need a little something…extra to go with that piping hot bowl of deliciousness. look no further, because i’ve figured out what we were all missing.

nacho nests. aka personal mini nachos. they are the perfect size for accompanying a hot bowl of chili (or soup), and also they satisfy your nacho cravings in an acceptably cheesy way. it can’t be just me that has nacho cravings, right? of course not.

i made these nacho nests to go with the chili we planned for dinner, but these would be perfect as an appetizer for a game day party too. you can make as many as you need, they are insanely quick to throw together, and you can customize your toppings or even let everyone top their own nacho nest once they’ve been baked.

being a good minnesota girl, i used wisconsin cheese for this recipe. Crystal Farms® shredded cheese to be exact. crystal farms is one of the largest cheese brands in the country, and is made in lake mills, wi (which is only like four hours from where i live). i sincerely doubt you need more of a reason to want to eat cheese, but just in case you do, you should know that crystal farms products are natural, with very few preservatives, are high in calcium, and are gluten-free.

i used a mexican 4 cheese blend for this recipe, but you can look in the refrigerated dairy section of your local grocery store to find any crystal farms cheese that speaks to you. pepper jack would be amazing on these!

as always, let me know if you make these, and any awesome ideas you have to make them even better!

nacho nests (makes 4 but is easily multiplied)

  • 24-32 tortilla chips
  • 1 C. Crystal Farms® Mexican 4 Cheese Blend shredded cheese (any flavor will work), divided into 4
  • toppings of choice: black beans, jalapeño slices, chopped tomatoes, black olives, etc.

preheat your oven to 400 F. on a rimmed baking sheet, make four piles of 6-8 tortilla chips. sprinkle each pile (or nest) with half of 1/4 C. crystal farms shredded cheese, then top with whatever toppings you’ve chosen. i used black beans, black olives, chopped tomatoes, and jalapeño slices, but you can use whatever you want or have on hand (or let the family choose their own toppings in a nacho nest bar situation). sprinkle the nests with the remaining cheese, then put into the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the toppings are heated through. serve as a side dish for chili or another hearty soup, or as a game day dish to share.

GIVEAWAY!

i know there are a lot of cheese lovers who read this blog, so i hope you’re all excited about this. crystal farms is letting me pick one winner to receive THREE coupons for free crystal farms products. all you have to do to enter is visit the crystal farms website to learn more about the crystal farms cheese products there, then come back here to leave a comment telling me what cheese you would choose and what recipe you would use it in. i’ll pick a winner at random on november 26th. i can’t wait to see all your ideas, because who doesn’t want some free cheese??

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william: eleven months old.

well this is simply par for the course. William’s eleven month update being posted after his one year birthday. but the photo was taken when he was eleven months, and so gosh darn it, it will be posted nonetheless.

here is what mister William was like between ten and eleven months:

well, william has certainly turned lots of corners this month. he is babbling nonstop, he’s graduated from the new walker “frankenstein” walk to a confident swagger, and he’s started to clap, wave and clearly understand words you say to him. it’s amazing to watch how quickly this happens.

one of my favorite parts of this month has been the changes in sleep! william has settled down at night and is sleeping through from about 8:00pm-6:30am. i can sometimes get him to go back to sleep for a bit if i need to get ready for my day, but i really can’t complain about the improvement. i honestly think that the thing that helped the most was me going on a long weekend trip with some girlfriends in july. he didn’t get to see me at night anymore, he lost interest in night feedings and started sleeping through.

a big change that was much easier for both of us than i thought it would be was stopping our breastfeeding. my milk supply started dropping in a big way around his nine month birthday, and he started to get even more distracted during feedings when he started to walk. we had already moved to bottles before bed to make sure he was getting enough milk to sleep through, and he didn’t even know the difference when we moved to all bottles. it was quite a change for me, because we barely fed Amelia bottles, but it was so much better for us to make this decision. i’m almost positive that i wasn’t making enough for his crazy activity levels, because once i stopped pumping and nursing, nothing happened. i didn’t have to pump, or hand express, or anything. so it was the right time. when i can, i get breast milk from a dear friend whose baby is only a week apart from William, and we mix that with formula, and he is clearly thriving with the change. it sometimes tweaks my heart a bit, but only because it makes my baby seem so much older when he’s not nursing.

having a ten month old toddler is a very bizarre feeling. we constantly get comments on how big he is, and how well he moves, and what a sweet little man he is. and it’s all true. and i’m trying to slow it all down, and take more videos, and remember all of it, because i can already see him as a two year old, trying to run away from me as fast as he can at the park. he might not be acting like a baby anymore, but he’ll always be mine.

little william: you are trying to grow up so fast, and we are so proud of you with each new milestone you reach (even if they might be a little early for us). the relationship you have with your dad and sister makes me smile every time i see it. you are a shining sun every day, and we know that you will only get brighter as you grow up even more.

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william: ten months old.

another post so soon erin? but how? and why? well, since i didn’t post my baby boy’s nine month update until he was almost eleven months old, i figured i should probably try to get the 10 month update posted before that happens…and then we will try to have our little man’s updates all caught up before we leave on our trip! or at least a girl can dream…

here is what mister William was like between nine and ten months:

well, william has certainly turned lots of corners this month. he is babbling nonstop, he’s graduated from the new walker “frankenstein” walk to a confident swagger, and he’s started to clap, wave and clearly understand words you say to him. it’s amazing to watch how quickly this happens.

one of my favorite parts of this month has been the changes in sleep! william has settled down at night and is sleeping through from about 8:00pm-6:30am. i can sometimes get him to go back to sleep for a bit if i need to get ready for my day, but i really can’t complain about the improvement. i honestly think that the thing that helped the most was me going on a long weekend trip with some girlfriends in july. he didn’t get to see me at night anymore, he lost interest in night feedings and started sleeping through.

a big change that was much easier for both of us than i thought it would be was stopping our breastfeeding. my milk supply started dropping in a big way around his nine month birthday, and he started to get even more distracted during feedings when he started to walk. we had already moved to bottles before bed to make sure he was getting enough milk to sleep through, and he didn’t even know the difference when we moved to all bottles. it was quite a change for me, because we barely fed Amelia bottles, but it was so much better for us to make this decision. i’m almost positive that i wasn’t making enough for his crazy activity levels, because once i stopped pumping and nursing, nothing happened. i didn’t have to pump, or hand express, or anything. so it was the right time. when i can, i get breast milk from a dear friend whose baby is only a week apart from William, and we mix that with formula, and he is clearly thriving with the change. it sometimes tweaks my heart a bit, but only because it makes my baby seem so much older when he’s not nursing.

having a ten month old toddler is a very bizarre feeling. we constantly get comments on how big he is, and how well he moves, and what a sweet little man he is. and it’s all true. and i’m trying to slow it all down, and take more videos, and remember all of it, because i can already see him as a two year old, trying to run away from me as fast as he can at the park. he might not be acting like a baby anymore, but he’ll always be mine.

little william: you are trying to grow up so fast, and we are so proud of you with each new milestone you reach (even if they might be a little early for us). the relationship you have with your dad and sister makes me smile every time i see it. you are a shining sun every day, and we know that you will only get brighter as you grow up even more.

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