At Home Teeth Whitening: Does it Work?

I’m not the type of girl who obsesses over hair and makeup but what I do care a lot about is my smile.  I’ve tried several things from teeth whitening strips (didn’t work well and messy) to gel you get at the dentist (they always made my teeth white but they also made my teeth so sensitive)!

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I was pretty pumped when Smile Brilliant reached out to see if I’d like to try their custom teeth whitening system. I researched the company and the ingredients they use and decided it was worth a try!

The Process

I’m not going to walk through the entire process for you because the kit includes detailed instructions but here is the general process.IMG_8079

  1. Make the impressions.  This part was actually kind of fun, my husband even enjoyed watching me do this.  You receive 3 sets of catalyst + base paste. You will only need two sets, but they include and extra in case you mess up. You will mix them up, according to directions, until you form a bright blue paste.  Once you have your paste, you press it into your molds and follow the instructions for creating your impressions.IMG_8082.jpg
  2. Mail the impressions. After the impressions have hardened, you simply place them in the provided envelope and mail them off!  Easy, right?
  3. Time to whiten! Once you receive your trays in the mail (the company is very fast at this) you’re ready to whiten! You receive 4 syringes each of the whitening + desensitizing gel. I got 4 treatments out of one syringe (I also have a tiny mouth), these will last me a while. You brush and floss your teeth and then put the Whitening Gel in the trays.  I did this treatment for 60 minutes (they recommend 60-90 minutes) and they recommend doing this for 7-14 times the first time you do this, depending on the amount of staining.IMG_1275 2IMG_1513
  4. Desensitizing gel.  After you’re done with the whitening, you immediately brush your teeth (pat them dry) and then put the desensitizing gel in for 15 minutes.  You don’t brush your teeth or eat/ drink for a while afterwards, this ensures the gel gets into your teeth/gums.

The Results

I did this treatment 8 times. I knew it was working but I didn’t realize how much until my mom made several comments about how white my teeth were, I actually went to the dentist and the first thing she said was, “wow, your teeth are really white”, and I had 2 people message me on Instagram asking me what toothpaste I use (this made me lol).cropped-img_0977

Here’s my before and after —I hate even showing you this because it’s really hard to take pictures of your teeth.  I took these pictures at different houses so the lighting was completely different. My teeth were pretty white to begin with; however, my teeth are definitely whiter (picture doesn’t really justify how much) and a lot brighter now.

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What I Loved:

  • You get to make the impressions at home and then they ship you your trays, very convenient and like I said above, fun!IMG_1274
  • This process takes longer than other systems that I’ve tried, but it delivers permanent results because it lifts the stains, rather than just whitening the surface
  • My teeth aren’t sensitive when using these because it includes a sensitivity treatment
  • EASY to use!  I made dinner, I cleaned, or just relaxed while wearing the trays.IMG_1514IMG_1265 2
  • I 100% believe it’s worth the cost (which isn’t much at all) —as you’ll have the trays forever and just need to get more whitening gel

I’m hosting a giveaway for $149 Smile Brilliant Credit.  You can enter here: www.smilebrilliant.com/g/adventuresofatwinmom  It’s open for 2 weeks to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.

You can also use adventuresofatwinmom15 to get 15% off your order.

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1 Year as a Stay-At-Home Mom

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It’s officially been one year since I became a stay-at-home mom (SAHM)! I feel like I just blinked and an entire year has passed!  This has me feeling ALL THE FEELS!   Today, I’m answering a few questions that I often get asked, sharing a short review of the past year,  and sharing a few random thoughts/opinions from other stay-at-home friends.

  1. What is the hardest part? I became a stay at home because I wanted to spend more time with our kids and I didn’t want to miss any more special moments. But… I was naïve and honestly thought my life would become drastically easier, I was in for a rude awakening. I had a stressful job but being at home all day chasing two toddlers around is way more exhausting than work ever was.  There has been so many times that I thought “what I would give to be at work right now.”  My husband jokes when the kids are being a handful that he can’t wait to head into work to get a “break”.  What we mean by “getting a break” is when you have twin toddlers, it’s nonstop.  Working isn’t technically a “break” but it’s a change in pace, it’s a change in scenery.  When you’re a stay at home mom, you don’t ever really get a change in scenery, you’re always with your kids and you never have any me time. At work, I at least had time by myself and time to not be focusing on my kiddos.
  2. How do you afford to stay home? My husband and I have always lived off of one income even when we were both working full time. We made the decision while we were engaged that one of our incomes would just go straight into savings for the future. When we decided that it was best that I stay at home while the kids were young, we just said goodbye to less money going into our savings. A big thing for me is I didn’t want our family to make any sacrifices financially for me not working… if we had to cut out anything in our life or change our lifestyle in any way then I would or will go back to work.
  3. What’s the best part of being a stay-at-home mom? Not waking up at 5 am anymore… just kidding! The best part by far is spending my days with Camden and Ella! I am so grateful for this extra time I get with them. I will never take being a stay at home mom for granted!

This picture was my last day of work (even though technically I’m employed until January 2019, my wonderful work approved a leave of absence for a year in case I change my mind), it was so exciting to come home and realize I could spend 100% of my days focused on my little family.  Can you tell how happy I was? This will forever be one of my favorite pictures because I was filled with joy and so excited for the future.

IMG_8065 4Soon after, we celebrated the kiddos first holidays…

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ThanksgivingIMG_1118

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IMG_1877Judd got an amazing job offer in Charleston and we started building our dream home.IMG_1789IMG_3057IMG_3018IMG_2911

We played, played, and played.IMG_1652IMG_1894

Camden and Ella turned 1 and we had the cutest little birthday party for them! You can read more about this here.IMG_34681-59231592311-5923959239IMG_2857

They were both teething hard around their birthday! 😦 IMG_2858

We were so proud of surviving the first year as twin parents!IMG_3568

We took our first international vacation as a family of 4 to Canada.IMG_5363 2

We played hard…

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They kept growing and growing.IMG_6910IMG_6176IMG_5934IMG_5619

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We went on vacation to Florida. You can read about that here.

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We stayed very busy playing at home, visiting family, and going places…

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We sold our first home and moved to SC!IMG_7949

We couldn’t be happier in Charleston!  Our days are spent at the beach or at our new home…IMG_8866IMG_8896IMG_8922IMG_9321IMG_9666

The area we moved to is a kid (and SAHM) dreamland.  We live in a master planned community… the neighborhoods all have pools, playgrounds, ponds, and bike trails connecting everything that we have access to.  When the kids are older, we will get to ride our bikes (or a golf cart) to school every day!  SO fun, right?IMG_1358IMG_1005IMG_1047IMG_0825IMG_0876IMG_0891IMG_0942IMG_1096

I am so excited to see what the next year brings us.

As you can tell, I love being a SAHM.  I won’t do this for forever but for now it’s perfect for me and it’s perfect for our family! I am going to continue to soak up every minute with my two miracles…IMG_0919

I asked my Instagram SAHM friends if they had anything they’d like to share for this post.  Here are some of their thoughts:

  • “It’s the best job in the world!”
  • “If you can somehow swing it financially, do it! You won’t regret it.”
  • “It’s not all glamorous! Somedays I am so happy and somedays I cry.”
  • “It can be lonely. I miss interacting with people.”
  • “Your kids are only little once. When days are tough, I remind myself that someday I won’t be at home with them. That puts everything in perspective.”
  • “I am a SAHM. That doesn’t mean I am uneducated, I have a PhD.  That doesn’t mean I am lazy, I don’t get lunch breaks. I chose to be this and I’m proud!”
  • “I used to worry about my career potential being wasted but then I realized, the workforce will always be there. My son won’t always be young.”
  • “It’s the best and the hardest job in the world.”
  • “It’s best for our family that I stay a home. I miss my job but my daughters need me.”
  • “You can’t forget about self-care, as a SAHM we usually get put on the backburner.”
  • “Oh my, there is no down time, no lunch. I feel like my days fly by.”
  • “THIS IS NOT A VACATION!”
  • “I worry everyday if I’m doing enough but when I see how well my kids are doing, I know I’m doing plenty.”
  • “The days go SOOOO damn fast and the years even faster.” 
  • “Even though we want to be home with our children, it doesn’t mean we don’t need a break too. Sometimes we want a break and need one.”

Guest Infertility Blogger: Meet Elizabeth

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Meet today’s guest blogger, Elizabeth!

My husband and I were married in 2013.  I wanted children right away, however we knew we needed to get settled first. We moved, he started a new job, and I decided to start a new career and went back to school to become a nurse. I always had this nagging feeling that it would be difficult for me to get pregnant. I could not explain it, and I am pretty sure people thought I was crazy. However, I could not shake this feeling deep within my gut that something would be wrong with my eggs. After some convincing by me I went off birth control in 2014. At first we did the whole not trying and not preventing. Soon I was tracking days, peeing on ovulation sticks, and writing down every symptom I felt that could be pregnancy.

A year went by, and nothing…. Each month felt like a shot in the stomach as I felt that my deep down feeling all these years was actually coming true. So we made an appointment with a new OB/GYN to see what was up. He ran some initial tests and found I did not ovulate that month. So on the Femara train I went. Now so hopeful that yes, this is the answer. I don’t always ovulate.. I will take the medication and BAM! It will happen. After three months on the medication I only successfully ovulated once. Back to square one….

After the failed Femara months I was sent to an RE. Right away he said PCOS, but wanted to run a whole gamete of tests. That is when I was hit with a huge shocker… my AMH came back at 0.19. 0.19!!!! That is a number that is seen in a woman in her 50’s. After some quick googling I realized I was probably suffering from Diminished Ovarian Reserve and that essentially I did not have as many eggs as I should for my age. It is important to point out at this time I was in my final practicum for nursing school… on a labor and delivery floor. The day I received those tests result I had to put on my big girl panties and work a 12-hour shift helping deliver babies. Oh the irony.  So we quickly made an appointment with our RE, who is amazing by the way. He said he would not give up on us and was willing to prove the test results wrong. So onto IUI we went. Three IUI’s with injections, follicles each time, no pregnancy.

The summer of 2016 we began IVF. We were so hopeful. Each time we moved to a new treatment our thought was, “this is it. This treatment will work.” I felt so happy to be able to even do IVF given my low AMH. Injections, appointments, ultrasounds, and blood draws followed and we made it to our first retrieval. 5 eggs were retrieved with 3 being fertilized. I had a 3-day fresh transfer of 2 embryos and the third did not make it.  The whole two weeks I just couldn’t believe that I was carrying two embryos inside of me. This was the closest I had come to pregnancy. Soon those little embryos gave me my first and only ever two pink lines. I couldn’t believe it. Me, pregnant! However, sadly it resulted in a chemical pregnancy. I could probably write an entire post on that first round. Another round followed, another 3 day transfer, negative Beta, laparoscopy that found mild endometriosis, and a frozen transfer that failed 6 days before my 30th birthday. Needless to say at that point I was done. I was physically, emotionally, and mentally spent.

We made the decision to stop treatments and pursue adoption. Throughout our journey adoption was always mentioned. I knew deep in my heart it was something I wanted to do even if we had biological children. However, I knew first I needed to take my body as far as I felt I could in trying to have biological children. I needed that time to mourn the loss of never being pregnant. I needed to grieve it and come to acceptance of not carrying my children. Once I was there we never looked back. We dove head first into private adoption and just 5 days after paying our retainer fee we were matched!! I’ll never forget that phone call standing outside of a Cracker Barrel in TN. We were going to be parents and it was going to be soon. Two weeks later, a 3-day home study, and traveling to Connecticut, our sweet son Samuel was born. I was able to be in the delivery room with his birth mother and witnessed as he made his entrance earth side. I even got to cut his umbilical cord.  In that moment, it was all worth it. When that sweet 6 pound 1 ounce baby boy was placed on my chest, it all made sense.  This was how I was supposed to become a mother.

Want to contact Elizabeth? Instagram:@ourjourneytobabyl

Want to hear more infertility stories? You can find those here.

Guest Infertility Blogger: Meet Kate

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Today’s guest blogger is a women’s health and fertility coach! How cool is that? Meet Kate…

Can you explain your job for us?  I’m a women’s health + fertility coach and I work with women at any stage of their fertility journey–whether they’ve just started trying or are doing IVF. I work with clients on making sustainable lifestyle shifts that will improve their overall health + hopefully improve hormone balance and fertility. I focus a lot on food, stress, sleep, and mindset work, because the emotional side of trying to conceive is often ignored, but can be one of the biggest challenges women face. My hope is that after working with me, you feel better in your body, and emotionally more resilient and ready to face whatever challenge comes next–whether that’s another round of IVF or being a new mom.

My background is in women’s health + positive psychology, but I’m also a yoga teacher and have trained in fertility yoga, so I bring that into my coaching as well. Everyone’s journey is different and my goal is to help each woman figure out the right path for her, and to give her the tools and resources to become a mother, whatever that looks like.

What got you into this career path? I’ve been interested in women’s health for a long time–in my early 20’s I started having really terrible menstrual cramps and vomiting that prevented me from going to work or doing anything but lying on the bathroom floor. I knew I shouldn’t have to feel this way, but I didn’t feel like my gynecologist really had any suggestions other than going back on birth control which I didn’t want to do. Through a friend’s recommendation, I tried acupuncture, and found it really helped with cramps, and it balanced out my long cycles as well. I started getting really interested in eastern healing traditions like Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, and decided to study holistic nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I started doing women’s health coaching, but felt like part of the puzzle was missing, so I did a year long program in positive psychology through the Wholebing Institute, and began working with the emotional and mindset side of things as well. I found that addressing mindset first often helps clients become more successful implementing other changes to their lifestyle.

At that time, I had been teaching yoga for a number of years and a friend of mine asked what yoga could do to help her get pregnant, since she had been struggling for a number of years. I thought that was a really great question, so I signed up for a training with Lynn Jensen in Seattle for Yoga for Fertility. I realized not only how much yoga had to offer, but also how much women could benefit from other lifestyle and diet changes when trying to conceive. As I started working with women, I also realized how little emotional support there really is for women struggling with their fertility, and the mindset work became very central to what I do as well. So it’s been kind of a gradual evolution into fertility, but once I started working with my fertility clients, I just knew this was what I was I was supposed to do and who I was supposed to help.

What is the hardest part of your job?  The hardest part of my work is seeing the difficulty and suffering many of my clients have gone through–from miscarriage and loss to monthly disappointment—and to not be able to just wave a magic want and make it all go away. I teach women tools that can have a huge impact on their lives, but they still have to do the work, and there’s no quick fix. If I could magically give women babies I would!

What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of fertility coaching is seeing the transformation my clients undergo during our time working together. I see them grow stronger emotionally and become more resilient and hopeful again. I see their cycles change and hormones balance out; they feel better physically and and have more energy, and you can just see it in their eyes–they start glowing again. I may have empowered these women and given them tools to succeed, but they did all the work to make these change manifest in their lives, and that is so beautiful to witness.

If you could tell a couple struggling with infertility one thing, what would it be?  You will find a way to become parents. If that’s what you truly want in life, you’ll find the right path for you. It may not be easy, it may not be the path you envisioned, but there will be a path for you to follow. Hold on to hope.

Want to contact Kate?

Website + Blog | KatePotvin.com

Join me on Facebook | Facebook.com/KatePotvinHealth

Instagram | @katepotvin