lifestyle

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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homemade glass cleaner recipe.

hey party people! let’s get crazy today and talk homemade cleaning solutions, shall we?

turns out, a lot of you are very into the idea of natural cleaners. whether it’s because you want to decrease the chemicals in your home, because you prefer to buy cruelty-free products, or even that you just want to save money, there are so many good reasons to start making your own cleaners at home.

my mom has been making homemade cleaning solutions for a really long time, so you’d think that i would do that too. well, let me tell you, it’s taken me until pretty recently to get on board. i used to like the idea of making homemade cleaners, but it just felt like it would take so much time and energy to do, so i decided it wasn’t for me. and then i made my first homemade glass cleaner, and was DUMBFOUNDED that it had taken me so long.

homemade cleaning solutions have so few ingredients, and you probably already have them all in your house already. and i’m not exaggerating when i say that making them takes less time than a run to target.

this glass cleaner is so great because it actually gets the scum off of your windows. the first time i used it on my windows, i could actually see it taking off the residue left behind by the windex that i’ve always used. my windows and mirrors are so clean and i love it! it brings me so much irrational joy!

homemade glass cleaner recipe

  • 1 1/2 C. water (distilled or filtered is best)
  • 1/4 C. white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. rubbing alcohol
  • 10-15 drops citrus essential oils (i used 12 lemon, 3 tangerine)

add all ingredients to a glass or heavy duty plastic spray bottle. shake to combine before using. spray on windows and wipe with a microfiber cloth, paper towel or newspaper. slap a cute label on it if you’re feeling fancy and store in a dark, cool place.

i have recipes for wood floor cleaner, toilet cleaner, and all-purpose cleaner that i’ll be posting over the next few weeks months (i’m nothing if not self-aware). if any of you try making any of these recipes, please let me know in the comments or send me a quick instagram message, i’ll be so interested to hear what you think! also, i know not everyone is familiar with essential oils, so if anyone is curious about anything to do with essential oils and how i have been using them for cleaning and around the house, or if you’re curious about the type of oils i use, please reach out, i love talking about it!

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coffee date.

i have been missing this space more and more the longer i’ve been away from it. it’s not that i need this space for any tangible reason – i don’t make money from it, aside from the occasional product freebie – but i feel like it’s one of the only ways that i can channel and share my creative energy in a way that fits my life right now. not to mention all of you wonderful people i know because of this blog. i can’t tell you the amount of times i’m talking to someone in real life, and i reference something that my friend did, only to have to explain that i haven’t actually met said friend in person, i just know them from blogging. and yet some of my internet friends know me better than most people. we text and we comment and we share our day to day lives, and i know if i needed anything, i’d be able to ask any one of them for help. 

i’ve been feeling a little sappy about friendship and stuff lately, so in honor of friends both here and on the internet, i’m doing a long absent virtual coffee date.

if we were having coffee (or tea, you do you) i’d be drinking an americano with sugar free vanilla and a splash of cream. It’s like the caffeine kick of a latte but not as heavy. and also way cheaper. i may be drinking one right now…

i’d start out by asking about your fun summer stuff. any trips planned? do you have way too many weddings? are you able to just chill out? we have a couple cabin trips on the books, and i just got back from a girls weekend in colorado, which was nothing short of miraculous. we have a couple weddings, a record low for us. my brother-in-law is marrying the sweetest girl, i’ve known her since she was in middle school so we have lots of fun events planned for that. both kids are in the wedding (oh my gosh it’s going to be cute), Mister Man is co-best man and i am singing at the ceremony – eep! I can’t wait!

i’m obviously going to talk to you about my tiny little venture of love i started this spring, everything with love co. if you haven’t heard, i started an etsy shop making essential oil diffuser bracelets, keychains and baby accessories. i haven’t had a minute to update the shop or my instagram, but i’ve been selling them to friends, family and people in the community, and just loving it. if you don’t know what a diffuser bracelet is, it’s basically a bracelet that you apply a few drops of essential oil to so you can smell it and benefit from the scent throughout your day. i make leather and faux suede bracelets, and i’ve also branched out into keychains, stroller&crib charms, and pacifier clips. i wear my bracelet every day, and it’s been such a great thing to have in my “more stressful than normal” work environment. it would mean the world to me if you visited the shop or sent me a note if you’d be interested in learning more!

speaking of essential oils, i’ve been on a natural cleaning kick like whoa lately. i’ve been switching out as many cleaning products as i can with homemade versions. my glass cleaner works like a charm, as does my wood floor cleaner. i use the young living thieves cleaner for all purpose cleaning, and although i can’t get Mister Man to give up his scrubbing bubbles for cleaning the shower, i won’t be buying any commercial cleaners anytime soon. i do have a question for all of you. so i have recipes for all these natural cleaners that i use…would you want to see posts on those recipes? i know that not everyone is into the so-called “crunchy” life, but i don’t think you have to be crunchy to want safer, more natural cleaning products, so if there’s interest i’d love to share! i know lots of you love my soup recipes, so maybe you’d love my cleaning recipes too? let me know!

do you ever just sit back and wonder how life can possibly pass by so quickly, and also drag by like it’s not even moving? i’ve started to realize this more and more as our lives fill up with the activities and minutiae that come with being the mom of two growing children. Amelia is starting preschool in the fall, and i must be in denial, because 1) i have no idea when the first day of school is (literally, i have no idea), and 2) i haven’t given any thought to how our schedule will change once that starts, or what she’ll wear (she’s almost grown out of 90% of her clothes), or even entirely how to prep her for this change. basically what i’m saying is that i thought i had a million years before i had to spend time thinking about this stuff, but it turns out i have about a month to do it all. it’s a pretty good analogy for how i live my life. and it maybe explains why i never send out birthday cards…my intentions are good, my execution is so, so bad. also: HOW DO I HAVE A CHILD WHO WILL BE THREE AND GOING TO PRESCHOOL THIS CANNOT BE MY REAL LIFE.

[one day old. this is how old my baby is, and how old she shall always be in my mind.]

thanks for having coffee with me on this muggy, gloomy (at least where i am) friday. i hope you have the best friday ever, and enough coffee to keep you buzzing from the caffeine, but not so much to give you the shakes. i love you and i smooch you.

love, me.

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shiny and new: minnesota children’s museum grand reopening.

my sneak peek fun for the grand re-opening of the Minnesota Children’s Museum was brought to you in exchange for a complimentary museum membership. all opinions are my own.

if any of you who read here follow me on instagram (you really should if you aren’t already, i’m much more prolific there when i have small babies than i am here), you will have seen some posts about the excitement that is the re-opening of the minnesota children’s museum. i’ve been lucky enough to get some sneak peek action of the shiny and new museum that is now open after months of being closed for major renovations. i mean, my kids have been lucky too, but i have been especially jacked about all the fun stuff they’ve done.

living in st. paul, we’ve been lucky to have the children’s museum just a 10-minute drive away, which makes it perfect for a spontaneous rainy day activity. we’ve been members thanks to my mother-in-law for over a year now, and i can’t say enough good things about this place. so when i heard they were going to completely revamp and update, i was very excited. and when i was contacted to become a play advocate for the museum as they went through the process, i was over the moon.

one of the fun things we got to do was act as testers for a couple exhibits before the museum was open to sneak peek crowds and the general public. i grabbed a girlfriend and her three girls (she’s a supermom) and the seven of us headed over to the museum on a thursday morning to play!

we were so excited that we’d be getting to check out the sprouts exhibit, which is the area for kids three and under (although big siblings are welcome too), since all of our kids are within that age range. the improvements were amazing. they have water tables, a big jungle gym with activity centers, a baby area with cushy mats for crawling, and the best part: a rest area with a microwave, high chairs, and little tables for when kiddos need to stop for a snack or a feeding.

everything was challenging enough for the older girls, but there were things for the littlest ones to do as well. Amelia especially loved the water tables and the little touch/feel/organize activities in the jungle gym. we would have been able to spend the entire time in sprouts if us moms hadn’t wanted to see a few other areas.

one area we didn’t get to see (and couldn’t make it to any of the sneak peek sessions to see yet) is the backyard, the green space at the museum. they have activity areas that are made to look like abstract animal habitats, with lots of green areas, and even a workspace where kids can dig around and get their hands dirty outside. now, we live in minnesota, so we only get to enjoy this exhibit for part of the year, but i’m so excited that the outdoor area is so interactive. there are some days that just feel like museum days, even when it’s nice out, so to have the ability to get some fresh air and still do some play-learning is amazing.

part of the reason that these updates are so exciting for me is that the museum really took to heart the idea that play is the work of childhood. they have looked at the research and thought of ways to make their play less prescribed and more open-ended. kids these days get eight less hours of play per week than they did 5-7 years ago, so we need all the opportunity to let them play and be kids that we can. and if they can learn and grow while they’re doing it? even better.

if you’re interested in learning more, you can visit the museum’s website to read about “powerful play” and get a play activation kit that includes temporary tattoos, window clings, play tips and more. local friends, use the hashtag #playmoreMN to share your fun play with the rest of the community!

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