General, Self-Care

My Nightly Beauty Routine (And Giveaway!)

(I received my teeth whitening kit from Smile Brilliant in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions are my own, and I wouldn’t review a product I didn’t absolutely love! You can learn more about sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

As a young mom of three, I need all of the help I can get when it comes to my appearance. Since the birth of my daughter January 7th, I’ve gotten back into routines, one of those being my nightly routine. Showering, skin care, oral care, you name it. Keep reading to see how I do nights, and what you can win!

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Oral Care

After getting out of the shower, this is the first thing I focus on. For most, it may be the last. But with SmileBrilliant’s T3 teeth whitening system, I can have my teeth whitening while I go through the rest of my routine.
Now, I was super skeptical when I was first approached. I’ve tried the 3D whitening from Crest, countless toothpaste and over the counter systems, and I was NOT impressed.I’m an avid wine drinker, I’m talking I like my daily glass of Cabernet. I drink two to three cups of coffee a morning, drink Coca-Cola all day long, and I smoked for way, way too long.
But, I really didn’t have anything to lose, so I went ahead and signed up (lucky for Y’all!)
So, my kit came in. It contained:

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-two molding trays
-molding base and the catalyst
-three tubes of whitening gel
-three tubes of desensitizing gel

So, I mixed the base and catalyst, created the molds and sent them out with the prepaid shipping label provided.
Within two weeks, I received my custom teeth whitening trays and was ready to start!

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Now, my teeth are ridiculously crooked. Overbite, crowded, uneven, you name it. But that’s never been the reason I hid my smile. I always hid because of the color. I don’t care about crooked teeth, I can’t really do anything about that (without thousands of dollars, anyway) But my yellow teeth? 100% my fault.
So, I began whitening. Ashley was absolutely amazing and answered any questions I had throughout the process. I started with 30-minute whitening sessions.

I would brush my teeth with water, line the trays with gel, and slip them on. Then I’d go about the rest of my nightly beauty routine.

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The trays were PERFECT. Fit snug, didn’t slip at all. They almost became a comfort as I used them.
So, what happened next was SHOCKING, to say the least. After only THREE applications. THREE, let me show you

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That’s ridiculous, right? I had popcorn yellow teeth, and after only three nights they were starting to look great.

By the end of the week, my teeth were where I wanted them to be. And that means I still have extra gel left for future uses!
After the whitening, I brush my teeth as usual, and if I’m feeling achy I do a desensitizing session, then I’m off to bed!

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Now, I’m smiling again. Big, toothy smiles! Even with pictures with family members. I’m so happy it’s ridiculous, and I will forever recommend this system to anyone looking to whiten their teeth without ridiculous copays. Want these results? Enter the giveaway at the end of the post!

If that’s not your thing, it’s cool! I also have a 15% off coupon code for you! Send me an email and I’ll pass it along!

Skin Care

While whitening, I begin my skincare routine.
This includes a nighttime face wash, followed by toner and a moisturizer. My biggest advice here is to remember to PAT DRY. For some reason, it leaves my face feeling absolutely soft and amazing.

I’m in love with Clean and Clear products or Neutrogena, you can find both at any drugstore near you!

Enter the giveaway!

The giveaway is for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit. It is open for 1 week and open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.

A winner will be chosen by Monday January 29th!

http://www.smilebrilliant.com/g/thesouthernsmiths

Want to pin this post? Use this image!

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What’s YOUR nighttime routine look like?

Tooth Whitening Gel
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Family, General

Happy and Healthy: Helping Kids Thrive

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

Our number one concern as parents is to keep our children safe and happy, and from the moment they are born we have an overwhelming urge to protect this little person. At the same time, we’re not always sure of exactly what to do, or how to do it.

There’s plenty to think about when it comes to our children’s health- here are a few areas to consider.

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Diet

When we grow up, we learn how to tolerate foods we’re not particularly keen on because we know they’re good for us. But kids can’t and won’t do this, so if they don’t like something it can be a struggle getting them to eat it. Putting on pressure and getting annoyed can often make the situation worse.

It’s frustrating as parents when we know they need these things to grow and thrive but won’t eat them, but there are ways around it. Hiding healthy foods is one option. For example, not all kids will sit and eat a bowl of fruit and vegetables but many will sip on a smoothie for breakfast. Along with some berries and banana, throw in a handful of spinach. The taste isn’t detectable but it will pack a punch with nutrition.

Use a food processor to blitz mushroom, carrot, courgette and other veggies and cook it up with the ground meat. It will be fully disguised but means you can use less meat and boost their vegetable intake.

Keep trying different things, if they reject them don’t make a big deal out of it. Try again in a month or two as their tastes can change and develop. Be conscious of their diet young, don’t reward them with unhealthy food or treats and make eating fresh and healthy ingredients completely normal.

Exercise

Kids are naturally very energetic, so it shouldn’t be difficult to help them achieve the sixty minutes of moderate to intense exercise a day. Take them to the park to run around and burn off steam, play with a football or Frisbee or make up a game. Take them to a trampoline park or bouncy castle, ride bikes or have a water fight. It doesn’t need to be a set exercise like swimming or sports, it can be anything that gets them playing and running around. The more fun you make it the better.

Health Conditions

Most health conditions develop as we get older, however, that’s not to say all children are healthy and many do have conditions that they’re born with or develop in childhood. Cancers, bone conditions, organ problems and much more can occur.

Most of us are very overprotective of our children and will seek medical advice when our child is unwell. But don’t feel bad for doing this, better to put your mind at ease and potentially catch any health conditions early.

Protection From Accidents

Parenting is the finding the right balance between wanting to wrap our kids up in cotton wool, and giving them the freedom to learn, explore and do things alone- even if it does mean a few bumps and scrapes along the way.

Follow precautions, when they’re on bikes, roller skates or skateboards they should be wearing a helmet. Keep sharp objects, medicine, and chemicals in a safe place- either in a cupboard with a latch or on a high up shelf. The last thing you want is to end up in the emergency room, particularly if an accident could have been avoided. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, so it’s worth being cautious.

Mental Health

Mental illnesses aren’t something we associate with children, but psychologists have shown that they can and do suffer from them. And think about it, life is stressful for young children. Starting school, learning new things and being introduced to all kinds of new situations. Be gentle and give plenty of praise to children, let them know they can speak to you about anything.

Raising kids is tough. With a community of support behind you though, it’s doable. It truly does take a village.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard or received regarding raising kids?

Happy and Healthy: Helping Kids Thrive - The Southern Smiths: Tips on dealing with your children's diet, exercise, mental health and more!
General, Tips, Tricks, and Advice

SEO Tips From Expert Daniel Anton

* This is a sponsored post *

As a brand you know that having an online presence can impact your success. You may not be particularly clear the role that search engine optimization or SEO plays in that process. Even though major search engines are constantly updating the algorithms, SEO is most definitely essential to business. Someone who knows this personally, and runs his own SEO website, is Daniel Anton. But first, let’s share why SEO is important.

 

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Brings Attention To Your Business

While you may use strategies and social networking sites to help build your audience, they all point back to the main point in your online arsenal; your website. It’s not enough to build a great website and hope people can find it. You need to learn how to get SEO involved by creating content that is relevant and meaningful, gathering the attention of search engines and learning which keywords to include.

If your site contains the products and/or services users hope to find when they enter a search phrase into a browser, then you have a very good chance of finding your site at least on the first page of the search results. When you have done a great job with SEO, your site will show up in the top three results, something that will drastically increase visits to the site.

Helps Navigate Rankings

Navigating the waters of the internet does not mean planning out a roadmap and then sticking to it. Search engines refine their algorithms you will find that your site goes from ranking in the third spot on results to falling off the front of the page. To avoid that, be aware what is working, update your strategy before the changes are implemented and anticipate search algorithm changes! This does take time but it will mean your SEO strategy will continue to be successful and going into the future. Think of backlinks when navigating these rankings!

Builds Credibility

Your website, blog, or other forms of online presence convey something of value to other people.  In terms of a business, you want to educate, entertain, and ultimately convince consumers that what you have to offer is what they need to buy.  Unless you establish some degree of credibility with those consumers, your efforts will go nowhere.

A key component in establishing your credibility is link building. The more links to your site that are found on other credible sites, the better it is for your site’s reputation. Also, you want the links to be natural and not forced. Google and other search engines take all these factors into account when ranking your site.

SEO Teaches You to Avoid Keyword Stuffing

There are older methods of SEO that worked fine in years past, but they left many Internet users feeling a little cheated.  One of those strategies is referred to as keyword stuffing.  Older algorithms did not just look for keyword(s) that related back to the phrases users employed for searches.  They also looked for multiple uses of those phrases.  That meant if you included a commonly used search phrase in your text, the odds of that page showing up high in search results were very good. And the more you used those phrases the better.

SEO Enhances Your Ability to Compete with Other Brands

Your brand may be well respected, and that’s great.  The thing is there are other brands out there that are also known to users, and they have no problem comparing the quality and pricing of your services with those competitors.  You cannot rely on the reputation of your brand alone since just about everybody is looking for a good deal.You have effectively set the standard by which all other competitors will be judged.  Unless they can come up with some strong incentives, many of those shoppers will return to your site and place an order.

SEO Increases the Odds of Getting Your Site Bookmarked

The right type of SEO effort gets people to visit your site once and decide that it is worth coming back to again and again.  If you have used the right approach and the consumer believes that your site offers the benefits promised based on the search results, there is a good chance of it being bookmarked.  Rather than having to find it with another search, the user will simply click on the saved link

Keep in mind that saved link can be shared repeatedly with others.  The person who found your site by means of a web search now has the power to cut and paste that link into the body of an email to a friend or two.  That consumer can decide to share the link via a post on his or her Facebook or Twitter account.

Thanks to those solid SEO strategies, you have created a basis for the time-honored tradition of relationship marketing.

All these great SEO Strategies are perfect to keep your brand or business compatible with others in the business world. If you feel overwhelmed or are unsure of how to get started, I would hire professionals like those who work at RankCrew, started by SEO expert, Daniel Anton. RankCrew offers a variety of various packages to boost your blog such as link building packages, or social building packages. Each is broken down into smaller packages for starters, advanced or enterprise depending on where your brand is. Signing up is free and with over 16 years experience, you know you and your business will be in good hands with this experience, talented and available 24/7 team.

How have you guys utilized SEO? Let me know in the comments below!

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