Thursday, January 18, 2018

Squeezing Self Care in to Your Busy Mom Life [+ a Smile Brilliant Review & Giveaway]

This post contains a press sample, but all opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure statement here.

Between work, my side job (blogging, duh!), kids, our home, pets, activities, and everything else, it can get pretty difficult to make time for myself. On a daily basis I don't do much to my hair, I wear very minimal makeup, and sometimes I get the urge to refresh simply to feel like myself and not just a crazy busy mess of a mom.

Photo via Kristle Leigh Photography
When I start to feel like I'm losing myself, there are some things I do to make myself feel better:

Take a bath with all the frills - Using a bath bomb always makes me happy and leaves me smelling great.
Face and hair masks - My hair is important to me and I love refreshing it with a coconut oil mask monthly. I also use face masks at least once a week.
Get my nails done - Something I do every three weeks to feel more "put together".
Go to bed extremely early - No one likes to head to work feeling groggy.
Buy a fancy coffee - This may sound crazy, but fancy coffee totally improves my mood. I'll take a cinnamon dolce latte, please!
Whiten my teeth - This is something I do on the regular (I drink a lot of coffee!). I'm crazy about my teeth and never want them to look stained.

Photo via Kristle Leigh Photography
Having these moments to feel refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated are so important to me. I get to feel more like myself and my family gets a happier wife and mother in the end.

When Smile Brilliant reached out to me and asked if I wanted to try their whitening system, I was ecstatic. I've been whitening my teeth at home for years using drugstore kits, but always had a lot of sensitivity issues. I had always wanted to take the leap and get professional whitening done, but whitening visits would be just another thing to add to my always full planner.

The entire Smile Brilliant process was easier than I could have ever possibly imagined. I gave them a bit of my dental history and the next thing I knew, a kit was waiting for me at the post office. I was able to do my own dental impressions and send them off to be made into whitening trays specifically fit for my teeth (they even provided the envelope!).

When I received my whitening trays a few weeks later, the process began! Within days, I started to notice a difference, and in about a week my teeth were sparkling. Check out the before and after photo below!

The most impressive part of the whole system was hands down the desensitizing gel. I felt absolutely no sensitivity, which blew me away. I also didn't have to spend any time away from my kids or book any additional appointment to get professional results, which is a huge bonus.

In the end, my entire Smile Brilliant experience was super easy and yielded fantastic results. If you're interested in brightening up your smile, I highly suggest taking a look at the Smile Brilliant website and learning about teeth whitening. You can check out all of the kit options, or watch a fun tutorial and decide which one is right for you.

Wanna win a Smile Brilliant kit of your own? You're in luck - we're hosting a giveaway (Open to residents of the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK)

Not into giveaways? Use this 15% off coupon code: hollymuffin15

Let me know what little things you do to feel refreshed in the comments!
Tooth Whitening Gel

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Currently... January 2018

This post may contain affiliate links, but all opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure statement here.

First, I have to share my mugception photo from Instagram. I'm obsessed! Totally JT and Jimmy Fallon inspired. And no, I'm not naked in the photo.

Watching: Shameless, The Challenge: Vendettas, Vanderpump Rules, Real Housewives (various ones), Siesta Key.

Eating: Fruity pebbles - my all time favourite cereal. We took a trip to the US last weekend and stocked up. It really kills me that this cereal is still not available in Canada.

Doing: Totally purging our house. I always say I'm going to do this, but end up giving up quickly. Chris and I have both put forth a huge effort since the start of the year (I'm super proud of us!). Just this past weekend, we ended up donating a whole van load of baby stuff.

Thinking: About new life strategies. There are some things I have totally figured out, and others that I need a whole new take on. I'm really trying to look into my own life and figure out how I can make it the best.

Planning: Valentines day treats and gifts. Yes, I treat Valentines day as a real holiday - sue me. I plan on making homemade valentines for the kiddos. I'm sure there'll be a blogpost!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

10 Easy Ways to Save Money in 2018

Background photo Via

This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure statement here.

Finding ways to save money is kind of my thing. Over the years, I've put a lot of effort into finding little tips and tricks that add up to big savings, so I decided to compile a list of 10 things you can do this year (that doesn't include making a budget and sticking to it).

1. Sign up for programs with benefits (and consistently use them!) - Some of my favourites include Shopper's Voice (CAN), Shopper Army (CAN/US), Field Agent (CAN/US), and Pinecone Research (CAN/US).  With these programs, you sign up and complete surveys or tasks for cash, gift cards, samples, or coupons. There are tons of programs like these, and honestly, sometimes the payoff can be huge! Utilize Google and find as many as you can.

2. Download rebate apps - As a Canadian, some of my favourites include Checkout 51, Zweet, Caddle, Flipp, and the App. Use google to find out what your country or area has to offer. I've made close to $500 on Checkout 51 alone!

3. Use Ebates when shopping online - This website is the best! They give you cash back for shopping online at your favourite stores (like Amazon!). 1% cash back might not seem like a lot, but over time it can add up to a nice payout.

4. Always price match and coupon - Price matching is no joke! It's by far the easier way to save a ton of money every time you grocery shop. Before I grocery shop, I search every single item I plan to purchase on my flyer apps. I use Flipp, Reebee, and Flyerify. This is also the best way to find coupon match ups. I know it's obvious, but seriously... pick up, print, and clip coupons. Get a coupon binder!

5. Stop using electricity during on peak hours - Check with your electricity company to see when usage is the cheapest. Doing laundry and running the dishwasher only during the off peak times can seriously affect your monthly bill.

6. Replace old lightbulbs and unplug old appliances - Replacing old lightbulbs is another obvious, but it's easy to forget about rarely used appliances. Is there an alarm clock in your guest room? Unplug it until you know you have company coming over! Any savings on an electricity bill in still a savings.

7. Shop around for insurance - I know it seems time consuming, but don't take this one lightly. Every year I call our current insurance company to update them and ask if there are any discounts that can be applied. Beyond this, I shop around like crazy, even if we're happy with our current insurance company. For example, this year I randomly decided to call our old broker, and it turns out a new insurance company was able to offer us better coverage for a savings of $100 a month between home and auto! That's an insane amount of money, and I never would have known if I didn't call.

8. Call your cable, internet, and phone companies - Another time consuming task, but one with the potential to save you a ton of money. Last year, I noticed a small increase on our cable bill, so I called our cable company and explained that I had been a loyal customer for the last 7 years and wasn't happy with the increase. The customer service team grandfathered me in to our previous package so the increases don't apply to my account. Just a few weeks ago, I called our cell phone company to discuss a terrible in store experience we had when upgrading our phones, and ended up receiving 2 extra GB of cellar data monthly for the next two year free of charge. Huge savings!

9. Buy necessities in bulk, but do your research on the price - If you do your research, you'll realize that buying bulk from places like Costco isn't always cheaper (sometimes it's significantly more expensive). Do the math, keep a list of where things are cheapest, and be aware of the quality. For example, I buy clubhouse spices at Costco because they're significantly cheaper than anywhere else, but I won't buy frozen fruit there because it's more expensive than other stores. I also always buy batteries in bulk from Amazon Basics when they go on sale because the price is great and I know they're high quality batteries.

10. Utilize Amazon wish lists - I've mentioned this on the blog before. If you're eyeing an item, are waiting to buy something on sale, or have a birthday/Christmas list to buy for, make an Amazon wishlist and check it every. single. day. Prices on Amazon fluctuate daily (if not hourly) and Amazon wishlists show you exactly how much an item has decreased or increased in price since you added it (see below).

Do you have any more amazing tips to share? Share them in the comments!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Skin Care Review [+ a Giveaway x3!]

This post contains press samples as well as affiliate links, but all opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure statement here.

Over the past few years I've noticed that my skin has become increasingly dry in the colder months so this Winter, I've made it my mission to take care of my skin in a real way. I've started using intense face moisturizer every night, cuticle oil and hand lotion daily, and face oil every morning.

When I received Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula products to test, I was beyond excited. Coconut oil is my absolute favourite - I use it on my skin (especially my feet) and it's the only thing I ever use as a hair treatment. With that said, how could skin care products made with this miracle oil be anything less than amazing?

What I Liked: The formula contains ethically and sustainably sourced Coconut Oil, Tahitian Monoi Oil, and Vitamin E. The products claim to provide 24 hour moisture, and they definitely live up to this promise. Not only do these products smell amazing (like coconut!), they're rich and noticeably nourishing. After testing the products for a little over a month, I'm sold! My skin feels softer than ever.

My Favourite Product: The Body Cream is so thick, rich, and nourishing that it's quickly become my favourite after-shower product.

Final Thoughts: Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula products are amazing on their own, but when layered together they work wonders. Palmer's is a brand that I used and trusted through both of my pregnancies, so it's nice to know that they offer a whole world of products outside of the well-known stretch mark creams.

Here in Canada, Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula products are available at Walmart, on the Palmer's website, and at

For my friends in the US, these amazing products are available on Amazon:

Wanna win a set for yourself? You're in luck!

I'm giving away THREE Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula skin care sets on social media!

- 3 Winners in total will be randomly selected from Holly Muffin's Facebook pagemy Instagram page, and Holly Muffin's Twitter page.
- Winners will each receive (1) Coconut Oil Formula Body Lotion (250ml), (1) Coconut Oil Formula Body Cream (125g), and (1) Coconut Oil Formula Body Oil (150ml)
- Open to Canadian residents only

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Pastel Unicorn - My 2018 Planner

This post contains affiliate links and photos, but all opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure statement here.

Each and every year, I head on a journey to find the perfect planner. If you're a planner addict like me, you know that there are an overwhelming amount of options for style, layout, cover, and accessories which can make it hard to decide because once you buy, you're committing for a whole year.

Last year, I found a planner that I absolutely fell in love with (see my 2017 planner post here) so naturally, I went and purchased the same style for 2018.

Although this planner is available on Amazon, I purchased it at Michaels for $17.99 CAD (on sale). At the regular price of $39.99 CAD, there was no way I could pass it up.  Note, the holographic planner cover is sold seperately.

Here's why I love this planner:

1. The fun and colourful design - You can't see it in the photos, but there are touches of holographic silver in the unicorn's hair. The pastel colours and choice of fonts totally got me.
2. The horizontal layout - I know a lot of people strongly prefer vertical layouts, but I can't stand them. I find it easier to visualize my week looking at a horizontal layout.
3. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals/notes - I write lists upon lists upon lists in my planner, so having space to make notes is a must for me. In the photo below, you can see just how many notes/goals areas there are in the weekly layout.
4. Strong tabs and a hard plastic cover - Last year, my planner held up the entire year so I have no question this one will too.
5. Fun designs, quotes, stickers, and accents - In the photos below, you can see some of these. Not pictured is a folder for loose papers and a plastic zippered pouch (perfect for pens).

I also happened to find this amazing matching accessory kit which includes a zippered planner cover, a page marker, stickers, a magnetic bookmark, and a keychain.

I fell in love with the holographic cover, but when I opened the kit I realized it just wasn't for me. The zippered cover ends up making the planner significantly bigger and bulkier without adding any real storage or features. I also found that the planner didn't fit as well as I had hoped as the edges seemed to catch when zipping. Because the planner itself comes with stickers and I didn't love the cover, I ended up returning it.

In the end, I'm excited that I found such a girly and fun planner for 2018. Having a cute planner makes me want to stay organized in some weird way. If you don't have your 2018 planner yet, you can purchase the Recollections Creative Year 2018 Unicorn Planner here or from Michaels

If you're a fellow planner addict, tell me which planner you picked up for 2018 in the comments! Happy planning!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Setting Realistic Resolutions [Plus My 2018 Goals!]

2017 was a year of settling into a somewhat more simple life for us. It was our first year with no huge life events occurring and no big plans on the horizon. It was finally our year to do what we wanted. This past year I learned to go-with-the-flow more than ever, and to be honest, I'm really proud of that.

A lot of the time, we set New Year's resolutions that include materialistic items or goals that are near impossible. We make commitments that we know we won't keep, but hope that writing them down or saying them out loud will make it more likely.

Like last year, this year I am working on setting realistic resolutions. My top 3 resolution setting tips are below:
1. Pick resolutions that don't involve changing your entire life, but are based on simple self improvement.
2. Make sure your resolutions don't require a ton of money or resources, especially if you know they're out of your reach.
3. Take baby steps! Small resolutions are easier to achieve, and are more likely to keep you motivated.

With that, here are my official 2018 resolutions:

1. Start learning calligraphy - This has been on my list for 2 years now and I really want to cross it off!
2. Increase our net worth by $5,000 - This means paying off debt through a series of smaller goals. One of those is to spend $500 less on dining out this year.
3. Focus on inexpensive home upgrades - Painting and DIY's are small chores that will make a big impact.
4. Finally move the blog to Wordpress - I've been slowly but surely working on this, but boy is it time consuming!
5. Find 5 new staple dinners - My family is very picky and I hate cooking. This will be a challenge, but we need to switch it up.
6. Continue to not let the little things distract me - I did well learning to go with the flow in 2017, but there is still room for improvement. I need to continue to learn that I'm not in control of everything.

What are your resolutions this year? Tell me in the comments!

See my post from 2017 here and my post from 2016 here.

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