Truly Radiant with Arm & Hammer

Thursday, July 31, 2014

This post brought to you by Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hello lovelies! I want to discuss something important with you: oral hygiene. I know, that might not sound very exciting, but a beautiful, healthy, radiant smile is an important part of my beauty regimen, and it should be part of yours as well! A smile with bright, pearly whites is definitely a confidence booster when it comes to looking beautiful, right?

I recently received this awesome little package full of Arm & Hammer's Truly Radiant line and I've been loving it. The line includes the Truly Radiant Toothpaste, the Truly Radiant Spinbrush, and the Truly Radiant Whitening Booster. These products, when used together, clean, strengthen, and whiten for a more radiant smile.
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Here's a few facts about the Truly Radiant toothpaste:

a.) Removes 100 percent more surface stains than ordinary toothpaste
b.) Smoothes surface imperfections while restoring shine
c.) Only paste with baking soda, peroxide and active calcium
d.) Fluoride anticavity toothpaste for cleaning, whitening and enamel strengthening

I absolutely love the Truly Radiant Spinbrush (I received the extra whitening one). It removes 100% more plaque than a manual toothbrush, and it's powerful yet gentle (which is perfect, since I've been pregnant and have sensitive gums right now). This toothbrush works way better than my regular brush I'd been using and my teeth feel really, really clean when I'm done brushing.

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The whitening booster is a really great added bonus that you use with the toothpaste and is clinically proven to whiten teeth in just one week. It contains 3 times more whitening agent than the leading whitening strip! The booster is probably my favorite product and I can really see a difference when I use it.

I've been using the entire Truly Radiant line for about 2 weeks now, and check out how white my smile is:

Check this out: actress, author and TV host, Alison Sweeney has teamed up with Arm & Hammer wants to share tips with you on how to live life radiantly. Make sure to hop over to the Truly Radiant website and read/watch her tips to bring out your inner radiance!

So are you ready to try Arm & Hammer's Truly Radiant line?
How do you live radiantly every day?

Visit Sponsor's Site

She's here! Welcome baby Harper!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Well, I have an update from my last post! (check that out to catch up on what was going on). My blood pressure was still high at that prenatal visit- the doctor decided it was high enough to induce me. That night. Which meant I had about 9 hours to get ready for baby to come (after spending the last 5 days on the couch for bed rest). It was a mad scramble to get everything done since I thought I had another 2 weeks to prepare! You might remember the sorry state of the nursery before, so I had to race home to get her room all ready for her.

Not bad for last minute I suppose.

My husband and I spent all day preparing for baby, got the kids packed up and shipped off to grandma and grandpa's house, and even got in a last minute trip to Target for a few last minute baby and delivery essentials. About an hour before my scheduled induction I got a call from the hospital saying that they were full and that there were currently no beds available in labor & delivery. Apparently it was a busy night for having a baby. So I ended up going in at 6am the following morning instead. No biggie really, except that I didn't sleep a wink that night. It was kind of like being a kid on Christmas Eve. I was just too excited to sleep!

I went in to the hospital at 6am the next day (Tuesday), got all checked in, and they started me on my induction medication around 8am. The contractions started pretty quickly after that, and by noon I was ready to have my water broken and get my epidural. I was only at about 3cm, but we were hoping that the epidural and broken waters would help me progress even faster.

At around 3pm I was barely dilated at a 4 or a 5, so they decided to give me another medication (pitocin) to help move things along and get my contractions closer together. By that point I was good and numb from the epidural so I wasn't even feeling the contractions at all. Bring them on, I figured!

Around 4:30pm my nurse came in and said that she was going to check me again to see how dilated I was. She left the room briefly and I had a couple of contractions (from what I could see on the screen- again, I felt nothing). This time though, I felt a little pressure down below. Odd. I'd never felt that before with an epidural. The nurse came back into the room and I mentioned that I was feeling pressure. She said that was good, and that she'd check and see how close I was to being fully dilated. She began to examine me and quickly exclaimed "Oh! She's right there!" Meaning, the baby's head was basically crowning. It was seriously baby time. Like, right that minute! She told me not to move, not to push, and basically hold her in while she called my doctor (who was just across the street at the OB office). 

As soon as she left the room, my husband and I both heard something. Yes, we heard a strange sound coming from me. Like something was moving or coming out. I had never experienced something like that before. So he ran out into the hallway, panicked, saying "Uhhhh, someone come in here! Something's happening RIGHT NOW!" Nurses came flying back into the room and started setting things up for the delivery. They had called my doctor and told her to come immediately and had also gotten another on-call doctor to come in the room on standby, just in case my doctor didn't make it and we needed someone there to deliver the baby. I remember thinking "Please God, let her be running here right now! Don't let her miss this now!." I love my doctor. She's awesome. I so did not want some strange doctor delivering my baby just because my doctor was 30 seconds away.

Thankfully, my doctor showed up quickly. She had run from across the street and up the elevator to the fourth floor and made it just in the knick of time. I mean, the nurses seriously threw a doctor's gown thingy on her, put on some gloves for her, she sat down on a stool and immediately said "OK, let's give it a push!" There was no "Hi! How are you? Are you ready to have a baby?" She just rushed in and we started pushing. It was crazy fast. I gave 3 quick, little pushes and baby Harper popped right out. 

Harper Ann, born 7/22. 6lbs 9oz and 20 inches long.

 So tiny!

It took less than 2 minutes and was very overwhelming the way it all happened so fast. I mean, I had gone from sitting in the hospital bed, chatting and joking with my husband, watching Judge Judy and texting my friend baby updates, to holding my baby within a matter of a few minutes. My last text I sent was at 4:38, and Harper was born at 4:45!

I could not believe how tiny she looked when I saw her come out. I turned to my husband and said "She's so small! Oh my God!" She was 2 weeks early, but she was a full pound smaller than my previous 2 and an inch shorter. Her head looked so small! I just couldn't (and still can't) get over her teeny size. And also, the fact that she has hair and that it's brown. My other babies were as blonde as could be and were super bald. Where did this head of hair come from? Maybe she will be like her mama, since the other two are just like daddy, and she'll be petite and dark haired like me. 

OK, since I'm exhausted and tired of typing here's a slew of pictures instead.

I took this one at 6am the next morning. Only 13 hours old!

Finally opening her eyes.

Ready to go home! Look how big the headrest is on her. So little!

Finally home and meeting big brother and big sister.
They love her.

If you want to see lots of cute baby pictures that will make your ovaries ache make sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram! I might not get a chance to blog a lot of pictures right now while I'm adjusting to life at home with three kids, but I can quickly update my Instagram stream really easily.

Thank you all for the sweet words and congratulations over the last few days!
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38 weeks & third time mom fears

Monday, July 21, 2014

The end is near.

Today marks 38 weeks that I've been pregnant. That's 266 days that I've had this tiny human inside of me, and leaves only 14 days until my due date of August 4th. While it seems at times to be dragging along, it also seems extremely fast at the same time. Two more weeks? That's it? And ugh...two more weeks? Still? I have mixed emotions about it.

This was last week:
I went into my last appointment and my blood pressure was insanely high for me. As in 160-something over 100-something. I know nothing about blood pressure, but I've never in my life had my blood pressure read high. The nurse was alarmed. She made me rest and we checked it again. Still high. They found protein in my urine, which was also bad, so they sent me to do some rushed blood work. It came back normal. The high blood pressure couldn't be explained, so I came back later in the week to have it checked again. It was still high but I wasn't showing any other signs of preeclampsia (a blood pressure disorder in pregnancy with some other scary symptoms like severe swelling, headaches, vision problems, etc). My doctor was out of town for the week, so I saw a gaggle of nurses- probably 4 of them- and was sent home on bed rest for the long weekend. Bed rest? But there's still so much to do! Especially for a busy body-control freak like myself. Sitting around on my butt for a few days when I'm almost ready to have a baby just doesn't sound like me at all. 

But alas, I survived. My mother-in-law came during the week to help with the kids and do some things around the house for me. She cooked dinner, washed all of the baby clothes, cleaned my kitchen, and took care of the kids while I sat on the couch with my feet up and felt helpless. I kept apologizing to her for making her "do stuff" but she didn't seem to mind, and the kids love having her around. She even took them grocery shopping, which is no small feat, let me tell you. Then over the weekend the kids went to my parents house so I could get some rest and relaxation and they could have some fun outside of the house. I had big plans of scheduling blogs and reading a book or two while they were gone, but in reality I ended up re-watching 2 seasons of The Walking Dead and eating a lot of takeout food courtesy of my husband. (Pizza, chicken teriyaki, Wendy's, and Cafe Rio- go me!) Don't worry, I still ate a lot of healthy stuff during the day, but dinner was bad every night. My husband has been so good with helping out around the house too. He's really stepped it up the last few days and yelled at me to sit down anytime I tried to do something myself, which was a lot.

Bed rest is so glamorous.

So now here it is, Monday, two weeks from my due date. I have a doctor's appointment later today and my doctor will be back from her vacation. She's had no idea about my blood pressure stuff since she's been gone, and I'm praying that she just decides to induce me. I'm ready. I'm so ready to have this baby. I've been having a ton of contractions- not real ones- just Braxton Hicks. But nevertheless, I've had a ton of them. I had 9 in a half hour period the other day and they are getting very uncomfortable. I've been staying super hydrated and I haven't done anything in days, so the amount of contractions seems like a lot when I've been resting so much. I'm curious to see if I've dilated at all anymore or if all of these pesky contractions are just the baby's way of teasing me. I don't want to be put back on bed rest and lay around for another week or two- I'd rather just get this baby girl out of me! So we shall see what the doctor says today. Fingers crossed it's good news, and either the high blood pressure is gone and I can get to work preparing for this baby, or it's still high and we can just induce me.

Speaking of preparing for this baby, here is the sorry state of the nursery right now:
(sorry for the crappy pics- the lighting is terrible in there)

I need want to get the baby dresser painted. That can always wait until after baby comes I suppose, but I'd love to get it done. I could have put my husband to work on it, but you know, the control freak part of me wants to do it myself. The crib is full of baby clothes- washed, thankfully, but they need to be organized and put away in the dresser. The cloth diapers need to be special washed too, but we'll use disposables at first so I suppose that can wait until later on. I have wall decals to hang. Things need to be moved around, organized and put in their place so that I can actually walk through the room without tripping on stuff. It's not a ton of work, but I want it all done before the baby comes and it's been driving me crazy just sitting here.

Aside from all of the logistics, I have fears. They are:

Three kids? How will I do it? We're going to be outnumbered.
Starting over. We have a big age gap.
I'm older. Will I have the energy?
How will my big kids handle it? Will they be helpful & loving or resentful?
What if this baby is like Lily & never sleeps? I need my sleep now.
What if the birth is horrible? The others were so easy.
What if I'm paralyzed during the epidural?
What if I have problems breastfeeding? Ayden & Lily were great eaters.
What if I get post-partum depression?
Will I lose all of the baby weight? I've gained more this time.

So many what-ifs. I know it's normal to feel this way, but sometimes I overwhelm myself with these questions in my head. It's been so long since I've had a newborn that sometimes I almost feel like a first time mom again. I know it will all come back to me as soon as she's in my arms and the rest will have to be taken day by day, but the fears are still there. Maybe part of it is that I'm older and wiser now, and as a seasoned mom I think about things a lot more than I did when I was younger. Sometimes I wonder how I just "winged it" so much as a young mom. Now I question everything, including myself.

Well, it's time to get ready for my appointment. Hopefully I'll get some good news.

Moms, how did you prepare yourself for your new baby? Was it your first, second, third? Were the fears there each time or is it just me?

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Perfect family movie nights with the Pop Secret Perfect Pop app

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's summertime, which means lots of movie nights in my house. With the kids out of school we don't have to wait for the weekends to roll around to stay up late and curl up with a movie as a family. What goes perfectly with family movie nights? Pop Secret popcorn!

You know what might ruin an otherwise perfectly great move night? Burned popcorn. Do you know how many times I've burned and ruined a bag of microwavable popcorn? Too many times to count. It can be tricky to get the timing just right, and just a few seconds too long in the microwave can lead to stinky, blackened popcorn that goes straight into the garbage can. 

Thankfully, Pop Secret now has a fun solution to end the burned popcorn problem: the Perfect Pop App! That's right, an app that will help you end up with perfectly popped popcorn. Here's how it works:

First, download your app here. You must have an iPhone 5+ on IOS 7+. 1. Then put a bag of Pop Secret in the microwave and enter suggested cooking time from the packaging. Note: Perfect Pop is optimized for the deliciousness of Pop Secret popcorn only. Turn up the volume on your iPhone. Point the phone’s speaker towards the microwave and keep within 3 feet. Start the microwave, and then start the app.

No more relying on the popcorn button or guessing how many seconds in between pops. Pop Secret is serious about perfect popcorn, so the less you have to worry about, the more time you can spend enjoying movie night with your friends & family. Perfect Pop listens to the pops, waiting for the precise moment to let you know when your popcorn is perfect.

The kids thought the app was really cool, especially because of how it was "listening" to the popcorn and it really did tell us when to stop the microwave. The result was perfectly delicious, buttery popcorn!

Time to go enjoy a movie now!

What do you think of the Pop Secret Perfect Pop app?
If you have a minute, please take this quick survey about Pop Secret.

Make sure to go download it for free in the app store and make movie nights perfect.

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This post is sponsored by Pop Secret, but my opinions are all my own :) 

Summer pregnancy must-haves: how to beat the heat!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Phew! Is it hot enough out there?
No? Just me?

Oh, that's right. I'm currently about 37 weeks pregnant and it's the middle of July. Summer is pretty much almost unbearable right now. Most days I want to just lay on the couch with a remote in my hand and the AC blowing on me. Unfortunately, that's not always an option- especially with 2 other children who want to have fun on their summer break. So what if mom's got swollen ankles, is carrying an extra 40 pounds and has a constant sheen of sweat on her. Yes, yes, pregnancy is a miraculous thing and I know some day I will really miss being pregnant. But until then, I'm taking it day by day and I'm just trying to survive this heat while I'm feeling like a giant, uncomfortable, waddling whale.

Here's a few of my summer pregnancy must-haves.
For those days when, you know, you gotta get up off the couch!

Maternity bathing suit- Get yourself one. I didn't think I wanted one at first because I'm not really the bikini type even when I'm not pregnant. I just feel too naked. If you feel comfortable enough to rock your little pregnant bump in a bikini, more power to you (and I say that jealously!) I, however, opted for a tad more coverage and found this super cute polka dot tankini top at Target and paired it with a little swim skirt. The top is super comfortable and completely covers my belly, which I love, and the skirt is long enough to cover up the thighs and booty. Even if you feel like a giant fat ass, get yourself a maternity bathing suit. There are so many cute maternity suits for all body types, so find one and get your pregnant belly int the water. If you have kids, play with them! If you don't, get one just to swim. Swimming is great exercise and feels sooooo good when you're pregnant. Plus you'll cool off, obviously. And no one is going to judge how you look- your pregnant for goodness sakes!

A hat- Keep the sun off your face. First off, I really don't want wrinkles. Let's not forget that I'm 30 now people! It's time to protect that face. Second, have you ever heard of "mask of pregnancy" or Melasma? It's a condition a lot of women get while pregnant where you get dark patches of skin on your face. Well, I certainly don't want that either, and you're more susceptible to this skin condition if you're in the sun a lot. So if you're going to be outside, get a cute hat and protect your face from the sun. I won't go to the beach or water park without one.

Sunglasses- This goes along with the hat thing. Sunglasses with UV protection are going to protect your eyes/face from the sun too. I get these huge ones from Target every summer because I don't want damaging UV rays near my eyes and the skin surrounding them. The last thing you need after stretch marks or extra baby weight are wrinkles and sun spots. Plus, they hide the fact that you're not wearing any eye makeup really, really well. Some days I don't even have to do my eyebrows as long as I keep the shades on.

Maternity dresses- Dresses and skirts are going to be your best friend while pregnant in the summer. Pants have been out for me for months because I stopped fitting in them comfortably in the first trimester. Maternity shorts are OK, but on really hot or humid days you'll want a....ummmm, breeze. You know...there. You're hot. You're sweaty. You don't want to be constricted. Flowy, light summer dresses are perfect for pregnant women and keep you much cooler than shorts! I found a few that come down to around knee length and they are perfect because it's really hard to get out of a car or get up from sitting very gracefully when you're hugely pregnant, so you don't have to worry about flashing anyone. Stock up on some maternity dresses and you'll be thankful for the little "breeze."

Comfy flip flops- If you're in your third trimester during the summer then shoes are probably going to almost be a no-go for the most part. I'm pretty much living in flip flops these days because my feet get a little swollen, and it's too dang hot to try to squeeze them into anything else. Flip flops are a great option while pregnant, but most of them offer little cushion or support for your poor, achy feet. Some days my heels would feel bruised from walking around in thin, flat flip flops. I found these really comfortable ones from Skechers that are made like yoga mats on the soles! They are super cushy and support your pregnant feet a lot better than regular flip flops.

Sunscreen- Pregnant skin is usually more sensitive, so you may burn easier while pregnant in the summer. It's certainly been true for me. Don't go outside without some SPF on or you will be really, really miserable. I hate the greasy feeling of most sunscreens, so I love this Neutrogena Dry-Touch lotion. It's been a staple for me at the water park/pool and isn't greasy at all. It goes on really sheer, but is still waterproof (and sweat proof!) I can even use this on my face and it doesn't make me break out. So skip the kids' sunscreen and get some of this stuff, because being pregnant and covered in greasy sunscreen is no fun.

Lip balm with SPF 15- These little EOS lip balm spheres are my favorite, and I love that I found one with SPF 15 in it. My lips get so dry in the summer and the sun and chlorine make it even worse. Make sure you protect your lips in the sun too and get some lip balm with SPF in it. Burned pregnant lips are no bueno. 

Popsicles- Or ice cream, smoothies, Slurpees, shaved ice, etc. Anything frozen or that has ice in it is my favorite right now because I'm constantly overly hot. I want to just sit and crunch on ice all day and my freezer is currently stocked with Otter Pops and fudgesicles. Stock up on some frozen treats and cool yourself off. Bonus if you get some with real fruit in them.

Books/E-reader- One of my favorite ways to kick back and relax is to read a good book. If your feet are swelling and you're exhausted you're going to need to rest and put your feet up for a while, so make sure to grab a good book while you're at it. I love my e-reader because I have hundreds of books at my fingertips at any given moment- no having to get up to find a new book. Plus, I can watch Netflix and browse the internet on it too, so I've always got something to entertain myself with even if I'm outside watching the kids run through the sprinkler. 

A cute water bottle- Water, water, water! Drink it up- it's going to be your best friend while pregnant, especially during the summer. As a pregnant woman you need to be drinking even more water than you usually would, and add even more to that during the hot summer months. You don't want to be dehydrated, and drinking plenty of water is going to make you feel better, cool you off, help with swelling, and ensure that your baby has enough amniotic fluid. I'm really bad about drinking water, so the best way to make sure I'm drinking enough is to carry around a cute water bottle. Get one with an easy to grab handle and take it with you everywhere you go and drink up. If you don't like the taste of water, try adding some lemon to it or make some infused water!

We've managed to get out and do a few fun summer things before the baby's arrival, and I couldn't have done it without some of these things! Man, I sure do miss being able to do water slides though. 

Hopefully this list will help all of you pregnant mamas beat the heat!

If you can survive this you can survive anything :)

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e.l.f. Cosmetics Favorites {under $6!}

Monday, July 7, 2014

You know I love a good deal.

And when you buy as many beauty products as I do you appreciate a bargain even more. Makeup can be expensive! But not all good makeup has to be. If you know what to look for you can find some really amazing products out there that don't cost a fortune. E.l.f. Cosmetics is a drugstore brand I fell in love with about a year ago, and everything they sell is extremely affordable. Not all of it is the best quality, but I've found a few really great items that have become some of the staples in my beauty regimen.

Here are some of my all time favorite e.l.f. Cosmetics products that I use every day.

Mineral Infused Face Primer // Where I got it: Target- $6
If you wear foundation, concealer, or powder this should be the first step in your makeup routine. I've tried a lot of primers and this stuff works just as good as some of the really expensive ones. It's clear and goes on smoothly, helping fight against excess oil, flaking, fine lines, and enlarged pores. It makes my foundation glide on effortlessly and it really gives it staying power. My skin looks great all day! 

Eyebrow Kit // Where I got it: Target- $3
This little duo kit comes with a pigmented wax on one side and a brow powder on the other and helps define, shape, and fill in your brows. Use the wax to groom hairs into place, then set them with the powder to finish. It also comes with the perfect little angled brush that gets me the perfect arch every time. I've used other eyebrow kits very similar to this for about 10 times the price, but at $3 this one works just as well. Definitely a must-have for me!

Shine Eraser oil blotting sheets // Where I got it: Target- $1
I couldn't believe the packaging when I saw that you get 50 of these little oil blotting sheets for only $1. But it's true, and it's an amazing steal! These sheets work quick to absorb excess oil, minimizing pores, and leaves a matte finish on the skin. It comes in a little travel pack that is perfect to toss in your purse and you can take them along with you everywhere when your face needs a little touch up. 

Cream Eyeliner // Where I got it: Target- $3
This creamy eyeliner and brush are a must-have for anyone who loves a winged out cat eye. It's smudge-proof and really lasts all day through sweat, tears, and water. The slanted liner brush gives precise application so you can do as thick or thin of a line as you prefer. 

Studio Bronzer // Where I got it: Target- $3
I really think this may be the perfect bronzer. The 4 colors in this palette can be blended together to get the perfect soft or bold glow, depending on what look you're going for. I love that it's available in 3 different shades- warm, cool, or gold, so no matter your skin tone you really can find the perfect shade. 

Studio Blush // Where I got it: $1 (shade- Gotta Glow)
This is probably one of the finds that I'm most excited about. The shade, Gotta Glow, is a whitish-yellow color that is perfect to use as a highlighter. I wasn't able to find it in my local Target store so I ordered it off the website. It's soft and sheer with a bit of shimmer in it, so when you swipe it on the tops of your cheekbones, forehead, nose, chin (or anywhere else you like to highlight) it gives the perfect dewy looking glow. I really notice a difference in the way my features pop when I wear this!

High Definition Powder // Where I got it: Target- $6 (shade- translucent)
This loose, translucent powder is another must-have for me. It sets my foundation perfectly and gives me a flawless, "soft-focus" look. It doesn't settle into fine lines or pronounce your imperfections, and it leaves me with a matte finish all day and really combats the oil. I almost never need to touch up my face during the day (and when I do, one of those oil blotting sheets works nicely). Such a great deal at $6, since most high definition powders are about 5 times as much.

Mist and Set // Where I got it: Target- $3
This is a great little item, but it's not something I use every day. However, I do like it enough that I just had to share it with you all. It's a great setting spray that helps lock in your makeup with an invisible hold. At the very end of your makeup application, simply close your eyes, lightly mist it over your face, and let it dry. It's lightweight, comfortable, and alcohol free and improves makeup wearability and and prevents color running and fading. It can get a little sticky and it does not taste good if you get it in your mouth, so make sure your mouth is closed and your lips are pressed together before you spray it. Like I said, this is not an every day item for me, but it's great for those occasions when I really want to ensure that my makeup stays in place. Think date night, a concert, party, wedding, girl's night out, or maybe a day where you'd be outside for a really long time. It's a great makeup saver!

So there you have it! 8 of my favorite e.l.f. products each under $6.
Which of these have you tried?
Are there any that you can't live without?

If you haven't tried some of these, go get them! What have you got to lose?

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