At-Home Teeth Whitening: Does it Work?

I drink coffee. I drink tea. I drink soda, sometimes. These drinks are awful for your teeth. I recently began to notice how everyone else’s teeth were white and mine were, yeah, not even close anymore. I’ve tried the whitening toothpaste bought in stores. No difference. I’ve tried Crest whitening strips. No difference. I had just about given up when I heard about Smile Brilliant and their custom teeth whitening trays. I thought to myself, “Custom trays? That sounds like it would work.” I figured that if I had to get custom made trays, this teeth whitening company must be serious. I was intrigued. So I had the opportunity to review their product. Read on to see what I had to do and how well it worked (and get to the giveaway).

First, you receive the box full of everything you need. The kit includes the materials you need to create your custom molds as well as the whitening gel and desensitizing gel. It also has step by step instructions, with pictures!

My first step was to mix the base with the catalyst to get my mold ready. They were blue and white so you could tell when it was completely mixed together. You had to watch how long it took you because it will start to harden if you take too long. There was plenty of time for me to mix it together and place them in the molding trays. Here I am creating my custom molds and watching my timer. Great photo, huh?

I let them sit, as directed, until they hardened. I tried to show my kids, but their only comment was, “Eiw, Mom. Why’d you show me that?” They were just jealous that I got to do this and they don’t.

The next day, I shipped them off in the prepared, bubble wrapped mailer. In about a week, my custom trays arrived. And so I began.

Now, the first time I did this, I was a little confused but I followed the directions. The directions made it very easy. I think I was just a little overwhelmed with all of the information and didn’t want to mess this up. It actually is an easy process. You have to remember that everyone is different and there are a lot of tips and tricks to learn. I had to learn some because my teeth ended up being sensitive to the whitening gel. I actually only did it once a week. This really made my review take longer but with some tips from my Smile Brilliant specialist, I was able to increase how many applications I completed.

I ended up completing 7 applications, total, throughout 8 weeks. Most people need 7-14 daily applications to see results. I think if I would have done them daily, I would see even better results than the ones I had. I just found it a little difficult to complete it daily. This is why:

First, the gel has to be on 45 minutes to 3 hours. Then you have to desensitize for 15-20 minutes. Then, you can’t eat or drink for a while afterwards too. I did this review in the middle of softball and baseball season. We weren’t getting home until 10:00pm some nights. Since I wanted to make sure I did it properly, I did it right before bed. I get up at 5:00am and on the nights I whitened, I wasn’t going to bed until 11:30 or so. I need my sleep so I only did it once a week. Second, there were some nights that I skipped because my gums were hurting. I had to wait a few days for them to calm down so it wouldn’t hurt to badly when I whitened. This is when I reached out to my whitening specialist who gave me even more tips such as only whitening for 30 minutes, leaving my desensitizing gel on a little longer, coat my gums with Vaseline for coconut oil prior to whitening, and using desensitizing gel only on my “off” days.

Here’s an overall look at the steps I took:

  1. Brush teeth with water (not toothpaste, fluoride slows down the whitening process)
  2. Whiten for 45 minutes-3 hours (3 hours max per day! Do not whiten overnight, it can cause extreme sensitivity)
  3. Brush teeth with a non-whitening toothpaste
  4. Rinse trays out with cool water
  5. Desensitize for 20 minutes (do not drink or eat for 1 hour after each session)
  6. Remove trays, but do not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth, just spit (leave a thin layer of desensitizing gel on your teeth)
  7. Sleep! It is the best to whiten before bed so you are not introducing any staining food or drinks.

It really is pretty simple. You just take the syringe and but a continuous bead of gel along the outside of the trays. I learned to wipe off any excess gel that may seep out of the trays so it doesn’t irritate your gums. This is actually pretty important and a great tip to use!

Are you ready to see the results? Check them out below.

The results may be subtle, but think about it. If the directions were for 7-14 daily applications and I have results with 7 weekly applications, then this stuff works! I know my teeth are whiter. I feel better about them now. Not only was I worried about how yellow they were getting, I was also worried about how crooked they were. Even with braces as a kid, they decided to move back a little, especially on the bottom. I don’t smile much because of this. Now, with them being whiter, I’ve gained some more confidence back and I’m not afraid to smile a little more.

I would definitely recommend Smile Brilliant if you are looking to brighten up your smile and especially if you’ve tried other teeth whitening products without any significant results. I plan on using the rest of my gel to continue to whiten and then use it for touch-ups down the road. It’s a great product that I definitely recommend.

If you would like to try it out, you can use my coupon code for 20% off!!!

Use code: mykidscoolmom20

Or if you want to try to win $149 Smile Brilliant credit, which is good for the T3 system, you can enter the giveaway HERE. It is open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.

**I was given this system to review for free. I have given my own, true opinions of the product.

Tooth Whitening Gel

GIVEAWAY: Coobie Seamless Bras


Coobie Seamless Bras are The World’s Most Comfortable Bras!
You need this amazing bra in your life! Coobie Seamless Bras are ultra comfortable and supportive.

Perfect for everyday wear our versatile one-size fits 32A – 36D, available in 7+ styles and 70+ colors/patterns, with adjustable straps and removable pads! Try one, you’ll love it!


Save 25% on Coobie Seamless Bras at Use code: USFG @usfg #shopcoobie #coobieluv #comfort #bra #usfamilyguide

Now….for the giveaway! TWO of my readers will win a Coobie Seamless Bra. Enter below.

http://a Rafflecopter giveaway
Brought to you by US Family Guide.

Giveaway $25 code to or $7 off now

full-smallArtisans from around the world (many living in rural communities) don’t have the means to sell their work on the international market. NOVICA gives them a free platform to do this, and reach customers on a global scale. I personally love to see the majestic artwork from amazing artists from around the world. I respect their crafts and talent and love the beautiful products they sell.


Whether you are looking for gifts for her or him, jewelry, paintings, or home decor, NOVICA is the perfect gateway to access wonderful work from around the world. NOVICA cares about its artisans. On every product page you’ll find a portrait and detailed biography of each artist.

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Need some inspiration on what to purchase? Here is a great list of popular items! Or maybe your are looking for Gifts for Him or Gifts for Her. Decorating your home? Check out these sculptures.


GIVEAWAY for $25 gift code for Novica

To enter giveaway comment on this original post with the item you would purchase if you won the giveaway. Giveaway will end November 24th, 2015

Even if you don’t win the giveaway or you can’t wait to purchase something, you can use this savings code for $7 off your first purchase: Save7Novica

Pittsburgh, PA: Disney On Ice is coming March 5-9th, Special $12 ticket coupon, PLUS enter to win FREE tickets!

tile_disneyonice-pgh-tileSing along with 24 of your favorite Disney songs when Disney On Ice celebrates 100 years of Magic arrives in Pittsburgh at the CONSOL Energy Center, March 5-9, 2014.



We are offering a Ticket giveaway for a family 4-pack to the Friday night performance, March 7, 7:00pm.

Enter HERE.  Must be 18 to enter, one entry per day.

USFG will randomly choose winner on Tuesday, 2/25 at 5pm and announce via social media and email.
CONSOL Energy Center, March 5th – 9th



Click HERE for the special $12 offer.



1. What does Pinocchio wear in his hat?

Answer: Pinocchio’s hat has a red feather in it.

2. According to the Blue Fairy, what kind of wood was Pinocchio made of: oak, maple or pine?

Answer: Pine

3. What character always struck the gong at the beginning of the Mickey Mouse Club: Dumbo, Donald Duck or Goofy?

Answer: Donald Duck

4. According to the Beast, where is the only place in the castle Belle is not permitted?

Answer: Belle is not permitted in the West Wing.

5. When was the United States Figure Skating Association founded?

Answer: 1921

6. In Toy Story, what toy is the song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” about?

Answer: Woody

7. What does the Beast give Belle when she leaves the castle?

Answer: The Beast gives Belle a magic mirror so that she will “always have a way to look back and remember” him.

Monster Jam Returns to Pittsburgh in February! Plus enter to win 4 free tickets!

tile_monsterjam-pgh-tileDetroit MI 2009-01-17

February 14-16, 2014 Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam returns to Pittsburgh, starring the biggest performers on four wheels: Monster Jam monster trucks! The twelve-feet-tall, ten-thousand-pound machines will bring you to your feet, racing and ripping up a custom-designed track full of obstacles to soar over or smash through! Monster Jam provides a massive night’s entertainment tailored perfectly for your family’s budget, and these colorful, larger-than-life beasts are sure to capture the hearts of both young and old. Trucks: Grave Digger, Maximum Destruction driven by Tom Meents, Advance Auto Parts Grinder, El Toro Loco, Brutus, Spike, Crushstation and Spiderman.


Register to WIN (4) Tickets for Friday February 14 – 7:30pm show! Must be 18 to enter. 1 entry per day allowed. Random winner will be chosen at 5pm on Friday, January 24 and notified by email.

Click here to enter to win 4 tickets!

Show Schedule:
Fri Feb. 14 – 7:30pm
Sat Feb 15 – 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sun Feb 16 – 2:00pm

Front Row – $55 All Seats
Gold Circle – $35 All Seats
3rd Price Level – $25 Adults / $12 Kids (ages 2 – 12)

All tickets $2 more day of show.
Additional fees may apply.

Be sure to follow them on your favorite social media for all the latest updates, @MonsterJam,

Brought to you by US Family Guide

muffinmeal™ Review and Giveaway***OVER***

muffinmeal™ is fun way to transform your baking! It is a bakeware accessory used to bake cup-like holes into any size muffins or cupcakes. I was given the chance to try out this product and had a great time doing it. I have to admit that it was difficult at first because I just couldn’t decide what to make. The possibilities are endless. The muffinmeal™ site has so many ideas and recipes too. You can check them out here.

The first time I used it, I was baking cupcakes for an anniversary party for my parents.

First, I inserted the bases into the cupcake pan and then inserted the paper cupcake liners that came with the kit.

Next, I filled up the liners with my batter.

I sprayed the outside of the cups with non-stick spray, lined up the straight edges of the base and cup and slid it down to the desired height. Then I twisted the cup to lock it in place. Continue reading…

Gutzy Gear Review and Giveaway: My Kids’ Cool Mom is sending the kids back to school with Gutzy Gear #GettinGutzy *****OVER*****

School starts in a few days and along with the regular excitement of simply going back to school to see friends, to show off some new clothes and to use that cool new backpack, we are adding Gutzy Gear to the new trend.

My Kids’ Cool Mom and a great group of bloggers are offering one lucky winner a starter pack of Gutzy Gear with 2 strap covers and 2 packs of patches (4 patches total). Read through the review and then enter the giveaway below.

The kids opened up the starter kits which included two strap covers and a Gutzy patch. The strap covers are held in place using very strong Velcro. The patches stick to the strap covers using Velcro as well. Once attached, they are very secure yet easy to change.

There is a wide variety of Gutzy patches good for Continue reading…

HER GOOD DAYS: A Memoir of A Mother’s Leap of Faith e-Book Review and Giveaway*****OVER

I’ve been called.

Either a mutual friend told him to call me, or her husband talked to my husband at work. Usually, their connection to me differed. Their reason for calling was always the same, though.

“What did you do?”

It became increasingly more difficult to contain my answer to just one phone call. How have I kept MS from consuming my life and my dreams of becoming a mother? Continue reading…