Being the Mom that Always Comes Last (or My Adventures in Teeth Whitening)

Disclosure ~  I received the at-home whitening kit and custom trays for review purposes, but the results and opinions are all my own.
Before and After photos were taken in the same room with the same camera settings and were only cropped and tagged (no other editing).


The thing about being a Stay at Home or Work at Home mom is that it’s way too easy to forget to take care of yourself. It’s less stressful to just throw on a pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt to get groceries or run to the post office or just hang out with the kids all day. I know that I got stuck in the rut of putting the kids first and not putting any effort into how I look for way too long.

I mean, raise your hand if your kids have ever asked you where you’re going because you put on actual clothes and makeup. *raises hand*

The older I get, though, the more I have seen the connection between not putting the effort in and really low self-esteem. I just don’t feel good about myself, I feel blah. I start to feel sad about the cute clothes in my closet and the absolute lack of places to wear them.

In the last couple of years, I’ve started to try to put myself together more. I learned what kind of clothes work best for me and got rid of the ones I don’t wear or don’t do me any favors (hello, skinny jeans and tunics), I found a great lipstick and bought all of my favorite colors, I whitened my teeth, I cut my bangs and figured out how make my wavy hair more beachy and less frizzy.

Just because my kids are all in school now doesn’t mean I’m any less busy or have any extra money. I actually work out of my home more now, go to more appointments that I used to avoid, enjoy more “me” time during the day.

One thing that I did for myself that doesn’t cost a lot (especially in comparison to going to a professional to have it done) and that was easy to do after the kids went to bed and while reading or watching TV (or doing the dishes or working on the computer) was at-home whitening trays. I used the set from Smile Brilliant, the company that sends you completely custom trays that can be used over and over for the initial whitening and maintenance, and pro-strength whitening gel AND desensitizing gel.

I drink A LOT of coffee, and about three weeks of using the trays at night (most but not every night), the surface stains were gone. I still have plenty of the gels leftover to use every few months or when I need a refresher. I’m not going to lie….I’ve always had a pretty bad gag reflex, so creating the molds for my custom trays and then using the trays themselves took some getting used to. And my gums were a little sensitive after the first couple of nights using the whitening gel. But, I got used to it all pretty quickly, and after the first week or so, I only took the trays out because I had to go to sleep (not because they were uncomfortable).


At the end of the process, my teeth had become several shades whiter, and I feel a lot better about flashing a smile (with or without my lipstick on).  You can get a discount on your order.  5% off using coupon code: todaysmom5

What have you done for yourself lately?



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The 3 Most Popular Kids Toys

Children require an excellent combination of fun and learning whenever they have to play with their respective toys. As there can be literally hundreds to thousands of different classes or types of toys, we have decided to make a poll to find out which among these toys are currently ranked as the most popular today. You’d be surprised at what we found out. Here are the 3 most popular kids toys you can ever find today.

  1. New Monster High Dolls

From the same creators of Barbie, one of the most iconic fashion doll line in history, comes one of the most popular kid’s fashion doll series ever. The New Monster High Dolls is a collection of miniaturized dolls with more animated look than their Barbie counterparts. These dolls have slightly larger heads, more pronounced facial features, and come with more outlandish costumes and getups that, at first, you may find offensive. However, if you do try to understand what makes a New Monster High doll so unique, then you will also fall in love with these lovely figures. New Monster High Dolls are beautifully designed and elegantly styled personas of characters in the paranormal and supernatural world. In many cases, most of us, especially children, are always given a picture of a vampire, a witch, or even Medusa as someone that’s scary. But once you get to see these monster dolls, all of those fears will simply melt away. Instead, you will also learn to adore these creatures. Like Barbie, dolls in the New Monster High series come with a variety of accessories from clothes to styling products. They also come with a variety of storylines which kids can collect to create their very own world of the New Monster High kids.

  1. Shopkins

In the eyes of young kids, many of the items they see can really be intimidating. That’s why Melbourne-based toys company Moose Toys launched their Shopkins Collectibles in 2014. Barely 3 years, the Shopkins brand has grown to include the classic miniature “shopping item” characters, collector cards, YouTube videos, and even books. It is now one of the most popular kids’ toys. And why not? Kids are given the chance to collect their own grocery items from fruits and vegetables to food items and electronic items. If one has to follow their YouTube channel, Shopkins now has 7 seasons under its belt. Each season of the Shopkins features a variety of items with which kids can collect. For instance, in Season 1, they can collect fruits and vegetables, sweet treats, baked goodies, dairies, and even one for health and beauty. Season 5, on the other hand, featured tech items, music, and sports items. So, it comes as no surprise at all if your kids will also be filling their own shopping baskets with these Shopkins and revel at the bright and friendly faces of these miniature toys.

  1. Minion Toys

Nobody understands them better than kids. Of course, we actually don’t need to understand them because their funny antics are already great sources of warmth for the heart. Minion toys are becoming more and more popular ever since they first graced the big screen in 2010. Today, with Despicable Me 3 coming this summer of 2017, we are pretty confident kids and adults alike will be flocking to their toy stores again to get the latest of Stuart, Kevin, and Bob and the rest of our jeans-wearing yellow cuddables. Minion toys range from plush stuffed toys to organizers to watches designed specifically for kids, and a whole lot more. The thing is that kids will never really want to be separated from the yellow lovables, just as the Minions have been known to be inseparable from their Big Bosses. The team at My Kid Needs That have published a great post on the most popular Shopkin toys at the moment.

With these 3 most popular kids toys, we can guarantee your kids will love you more for it. Just imagine the big smile on their faces and their warm embrace and you know you’ve made the right choice.

6 Reminders for Providing Quality Feedback to Remote Employees


Whenever working with a remote team, you need to remember that communication is essential for success. In between all that work and communication, you need to remember that the remote employees need your feedback as they don’t see you in the office daily but are working online with you. The feedback is essential for everybody, but mostly for the remote workers and very often forgotten by the employers. There are numerous effective ways to manage remote works, such as the methods promoted by Hubstaff.

Here are 6 reminders to help you provide your feedback to the remote employees.

Casual, Everyday Conversation Is Essential

When you are in the office, you bump into your workers throughout the day. Those little chitchats you have are essential to boost their morale and to make them feel like they are a real part of the team. By working with a remote team that doesn’t apply to everyday communication. You are the one that is supposed to make sure your communication flows without obstacles. Never assume that not communication means that you are all good. Not conversing can make your team members feel alone and isolated. That makes them doubt their work and it can never lead to a healthy relationship.

Your job, as their leader, is to make sure your team is always feeling appreciated and cared for. You can achieve that by simply making it a rule for yourself that everyday communication is something you cannot skip. Check in with your team members more often and make sure you remember something about everybody that will bring you closer to them.

Pick a Communicating Platform

When working with remote employees, have in mind that not all media are available and appropriate. Texting isn’t appropriate for dealing with some personal issues, for that same reason it isn’t appropriate for communicating with your remote workers. Get personal with your staff and show them that they count through the best group video chat, such as the interoperable, easy-to-use platform provided by BlueJeans. Not only it will show your team that you care but also prove them that they are doing great and are on the right track.

Remember Details When Praising

It never helps not remembering what your praise is about and giving a random and not specific praise. It never hurts to get a virtual pat on the back but being specific about the remote worker’s achievements will get you a far better score. Praise a specific report that has been done or a marketing campaign done just right. Details about the job well done brings more meaning to the praise and motivates your employees to do even better than they already are.

Thread Carefully Around Negative Feedbacks

Whoever works will make mistakes. However, conveying the message that your workers, especially the remote ones have done something wrong should not be taken lightly. If done the wrong way it can have an opposite effect and leave a worker feeling bad and being less productive.

When delivering a negative feedback always start with good news or praise, followed by the negative feedback and finish with a positive one again. That will soften the impact on the employee and it will leave an impression that there is a yin yang into every situation. Forbes recommends having and working on building leadership traits to lead your team to success.

Make Sure the Communication Is Going Both Ways

Don’t allow your communication to fall into a pattern where you ask the questions, your employee answers and you provide feedback. Always keep the communication flowing both ways. Always be interested to learn something new about them. What drives them, how they see themselves in 5 years, what personal goals they have can help you get the best of them and to challenge the to achieve new heights in their careers. Leave some space to get feedback from their side as well. Ask for their opinion on a certain matter, include them in the decisive process, it all may surprise you in a good way and make them feel appreciated as a bonus to all that.

A healthy communication with your remote staff can make all the difference for you and it will keep them motivated, appreciated, included and productive.

Build Trust with Your Remote Team

Instead of hiring people you know and trust or people recommended by someone you know and trust, you need to evolve and go beyond that. Instead, trust your instincts to build your relationship and trust with your employees. Keep your promises with your team and it will lead you to do the right things. Listen to what they must say and respect that. Finally share personal experiences and make the most of it. It will not be futile for sure. Trust among team members is a strong bond that can achieve a lot in every aspect.

Picture Perfect: 4 Ways to Photograph Your Home for a Realty Site

First impressions last a lifetime, and when it comes to selling your home this couldn’t more true. With nearly 90 percent of home buyers conducting online searches during the home finding process, the pictures they view play a huge role in determining if they wish to make an in-person appointment to view your home.

When selling your home, the first impression is generally the pictures, and the better quality the photos online, the more likely you are to get interested and qualified buyers. Being able to capture the right angles, show off the natural lighting and make your home look magnificent is necessary to advertise effectively online. There are a number of things sellers can do to make their homes look appealing, and below you’ll find a few of the most crucial ones. Here are just a few ways to make your desired first impression:

Bring Out the Natural Lighting

One of the first things home buyers notice when looking for their next home is the amount of natural lighting. Whether it involves the placement and number of windows, a skylight built into the roof or other ways that natural light can seep in, this is one vital thing for buyers.

Before taking pictures of your home, make sure to open all blinds and curtains around the house and turn on all the lights to fortify the natural lighting. Relying solely on the flash of a camera makes for dark and often gloomy pictures that are sure to turn-off buyers. By bringing in as much light as possible, the photos that are taken will provide buyers with the bright first impression they are looking for in their next home.

Experiment with Angles

Getting the right angle for each shot can be difficult. Experimenting with different angles and positioning can help you identify which photos are best in showing off the beauty of your home. When taking pictures of the interior, consider standing in different corner positions that will make your home look more spacious. If taking pictures of the exterior, standing at angles can show buyers the depth of your home rather than the traditional straight-on photos that are taken. Either way you look at it, experiment by standing in different positions to see which shots do your home the most justice.

Stage the Home Prior to Taking Photos

If you’re working with a top-rated real estate agent, staging the home is something they will encourage heavily. If you decide to contract a professional home staging company, be wary of potential incidents to ensure your homeowners insurance quotes aren’t impacted by their work. Even if you already have decor spread throughout the house, implementing a color scheme and theme through staging will help photos give home buyers a better first impression.

Staging your home requires more than just adding a few vases or hanging paintings. Making sure the home is clean and organize is another major component. Taking these steps prior to the photo shoot can do wonders in showcasing the beauty of your home to potential buyers.

Try to Avoid Eyesores

Nobody likes to see imperfections in photos, especially interested home buyers. Before taking photos to post online, try to cover up eyesores as much as possible. On the interior, these can include things like small cracks in the walls, nail holes from previously hung artwork, or other factors that take away from the attractiveness of the home. On the exterior, eyesores can include awkwardly placed light poles or wires, or other aspects on the street that look out of place when looking at pictures.

Getting all the right shots when taking pictures of your home can be difficult. Taking the time to research and implement ideas that will make your home standout. Since these photos are often the first impression online searches will provide to home buyers, having high-quality shots that showcase your home will bring optimal results when selling your home.

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We understand that right now the group is very small, and hasn’t had much action in some time.
We have lots of big changes coming and can’t wait to help you all promote and grow your businesses, and help all those looking to shop or join a small business find just what they need.

BUT ~ for now, it’s a FREE for ALL!!

That means, you can promote your business for FREE.

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New Parents: Don’t Make Life More Difficult Than It Needs to Be

There is no formula or instruction manual for successful parenting. You can arm yourself with the latest expert advice for new parents, keep up with the trends and establish a routine based on evidence-based research, but you will still find yourself figuring out much of this parenting thing as you go along. Make life as simple as possible during this time of transition and avoid some of the things that can cause unnecessary hurdles for new parents.

Advice for new parents

Parenting Advice from Others

Everyone’s journey is different. What works for one mother may not work for another, so remember that most advice you’ll receive — unless it’s coming from a doctor or expert — is just an opinion.

The internet is flooded with information about parenting, much of which is conflicting or controversial. Don’t forfeit your own judgement. Look within before turning to Google. Use your parental instincts and consult your pediatrician when you have a health-related matter.

Spit-ups, Drool & Other Messes

Babies are going to get dirty, and that can be difficult for new parents to accept at first. Babies spittle, dribble, vomit and poop, and there will be stains on your clothes and baby’s to prove it. Don’t panic when you see a little dirt under baby’s nails or some dog hair stuck to baby’s clothes. All you can do is your best to keep baby clean.

A few simple tips can also help keep baby grime-free:

  • Always keep extra clean clothes on hand. If you don’t have time to do the laundry each week, consider hiring a laundry service so baby never runs out of clean clothes.
  • Snap on a bib during the extra drooly times; bibs are not just for meal times. If you’re concerned about the harsh material rubbing on baby’s face and neck for too long, find super-soft bibs and burp cloths at SwaddleDesigns.
  • Freshen baby between baths with the occasional sponge bath on extra messy days.
  • Keep a stash of natural baby wipes in the most-used rooms of your home to quickly clean up spills, sticky fingers and spit-ups as they happen. We like these from Seventh Generation.

Relationship with Your Spouse

Many new parents lose sight of their spouse when the new baby arrives. Mom is undergoing hormone changes, getting less sleep and trying to master breastfeeding, and Dad may be wondering when he’ll get his wife back.

Make a point to spend quality time together. Talk to one another and listen. Exhaustion does strange things to people, so rely on friends and relatives to help out so you can get sleep and time together.

Make time for intimacy as well. If Mom’s body is ready and willing, get into the habit of rekindling your attraction whenever possible.

Keep in mind the following tips to maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse:

  • Plan a standing date night every week.
  • Be flexible.
  • Find balance.
  • Talk to each other every day.
  • Get out of the house together.
  • Be co-parents.
  • Establish an outside support system.
  • Schedule couple time.
  • Develop a sense of humor.

Being a parent will change your life, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Follow your parenting instincts, get some sleep and love your husband — you’re in for the most enjoyable roller coaster ride life has to offer!


Before Baby: Make These Safety Upgrades to Your Vehicle

From the moment you found out you were pregnant, you began to see your home in a different light. Those innocuous outlets are now sinister places that must be covered up, your huge flatscreen TV you and your hubby were so excited to buy may potentially topple over and…. well, you get the point.

Make these vehicle safety upgrades before baby comes

While paying attention to safety issues inside the home is a natural and normal part of preparing for a new baby, it’s also a good idea to consider the very vehicle that will bring you and your precious new bundle of joy home from the hospital. Sure, your car, SUV or truck probably came with some standard safety features like a variety of airbags and anti-lock brakes, but chances are good that you can add some additional aftermarket items to boost its safety even more.

If time and budget allow, prior to the arrival of your new baby, you might want to consider adding some or all of the following to your vehicle:

Forward-Collision Warning System

A cool aftermarket safety item that performed well during testing is called the Mobileye 560. The camera, which you can purchase from the Mobileye website for around $850, mounts behind your rear-view mirror and monitors the road in front of you as you drive. With its speaker system and display screen, Mobileye will give you both visual and sound warnings if you start to drift out of your lane, if you are tailgating the car in front of you, or if a person steps out in the road in front of you. If you feel that some of the Mobileye’s functions are not necessary for your particular driving needs, you have the option to turn it off. For new, sleep-deprived parents, this nifty piece of technology can help keep you alert and safe on the road.

New, Safer Tires

If it’s been some time since you got new tires, you should definitely think about getting all four replaced before the baby arrives. Even if your tires are looking pretty good, it’s still a wise investment to upgrade to a set of tires that are especially safe and adept at handling all sorts of road conditions. BF Goodrich Touring Tires can handle just about any type of driving with safety and ease. The performance tires do well on both wet and dry roads, which means that no matter what the weather is up to when you head out to run errands with your baby, your tires will respond and hug the road. As a bonus, these tires are quiet, which means your sleeping baby will stay that way as you drive around town.

A Backup Camera

If your car did not come equipped with a backup camera, you might want to have one installed prior to going into labor. The OpenRoad QuickVu is a good option. Throw your car into reverse, the device will show you a screen of what is right behind your vehicle. Trail Ridge Tech sells a nice wireless model for about $300 that you can install in less than 10 minutes. The unit will show you if a stroller, bike, ball, car or pedestrian is behind your car.

10 Common Household Fixes for Busy Moms

Common household fixes for busy moms

Common household fixes for busy moms

Time is a hot commodity for moms. There’s a lot going on in your home, and you can’t afford to slow down because of a faulty appliance or home repair issue. Here are 10 common home fixes for busy moms to try before they call a repairman:

Light switch doesn’t work

When a light switch doesn’t work, check the electrical panel to see if the circuit breaker is in the proper position. If that doesn’t solve the problem, change the light bulb.

Refrigerator runs warm

Your refrigerator isn’t as cold as it should be. If your household has pets, there may be a simple fix to your problem—check the coils behind the refrigerator and brush off the pet hair on the black grids.

Gas stove won’t ignite

You keep turning the stove burner on, but nothing happens. The culprit may be sauce that spilled over the burner. Take a toothbrush and clean the burner thoroughly, and your stove should ignite again.

Noisy faucet

As you grab that glass of water at night, you hear a screeching noise from your faucet. The likely problem is a rubber washer that hardened over time. Replace this washer and the problem is corrected. For more quick faucet fixes, check out Popular Mechanics.

Cloudy swimming pool

The kids want to go for a swim, but you are concerned about the cloudiness of the water. Try using a pool clarifier weekly to alleviate this problem. It collects all the smaller particles over the span of the pool. Turn to the In the Swim blog for more troubleshooting help with common pool issues.

Vacuum cleaner won’t suck

There are two potential fixes for this problem: 1) It’s time to empty out the canister that collects the debris and clean the filter out, or 2), the hose might be clogged, and you need to remove it to clean out the extra hair from the tube. Repair Clinic offers additional help on a variety of vacuum cleaner problems.

Electric oven won’t heat

Your electric oven doesn’t work. There may be an easy fix to this problem. Sometimes ovens are set on a pre-timed setting and won’t turn on until the delay or hold button is inactivated.

A faulty garbage disposal

You flip the garbage disposal switch and nothing happens. Is it time to call the plumber? Before you reach for the phone, your disposal might be overloaded and hot. Let the disposal cool and then push the reset button. Chances are it will work without any additional repairs.

Mold on bathroom tiles

Sometimes pesky mold grows in the bathroom on the tiles because of the moisture that collects on the floor. Use a fair amount of bleach and water and scrub the affected places.

Dryer won’t heat

If the dryer is not heating, then check the filter and determine if all the lint is cleared. Another embarrassing possibility is that you’ve set the dryer to fluff cycle and not on the heat setting.

Moms on the go don’t have the time to dedicate to involved home repairs or waiting for a service repairman. Try these easy fixes before picking up the phone.

A Cordskinz Video Review

I was given the opportunity to try the new headphone/ear bud accessory, Cordskinz, and am sharing my thoughts with you!

Cordskinz video review

Cordskinz are basically removable, flexible tubes that you put over the cords of your headphones to jazz them up and keep them from getting tangled. They come in 11 different colors, and as you can see from the video below, once you get the hang of them, they’re super easy to put on (even my seven year old can do it!).

So whether you’re trying to prevent the tangling of your own cords or are tired of untangling your kids’, these are a great solution.

Check them out at

I received free Cordskinz to try out and review, but I was not compensated and all opinions are 100% my own.

Jord Wood Watches Review and Giveaway!

I’ve always been a fan of fun accessories and jewelry, and my fall and winter wardrobes include both to add a little extra something to the neutrals and layers that I wear so often when the weather turns colder. Scarves, bracelets, earrings and watches especially make me feel pulled together and add some color or sparkle to all of my gray and black clothing. I was recently contacted to try a brand of watches that I was not so familiar with but are beautiful and unique, and I’m really excited to be able to give one of you a chance to win your own.

Jord Wood Watches are gorgeous, high quality, stylish watches made out of (you guessed it) wood! I have the Fieldcrest watch in black, and not only does it go with everything in my wardrobe, but it’s fun, very lightweight, and has just enough flash to dress up or down.

I like to stack bracelets and watches, especially in the colder months when I’m all covered up in layers, and this one goes perfectly with my simple and more elaborate bangles and cuffs.

I used the Fieldcrest watch to dress up my “last day of holiday travel” ensemble (skinny jeans, black booties, a long sleeve black t-shirt and a scarf thrown on to add a pop of color), and I think the super cute accessories take some of the attention off of the second-day hair and lack of sleep look I was sporting.

Jord Wood Watches Giveaway

I added the watch and bracelets to an already-dressed-up look, too, with a sheer black and white top, a pair of teal boyfriend trousers and the same black booties.



Jord Wood Watch giveaway

Jord Wood Watch giveaway

Cute, right?! Now it’s your turn for a chance to win your own Jord wood watch. One lucky reader will win a $120 gift certificate to put toward their own choice of wood watch, from Jord’s women’s or men’s watches selection, plus free shipping.
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