September 13, 2018

How I Whiten My Coffee Stained Teeth

I used to hate the predictability and structure of routines, but now that I am older (and probably more so that I'm a mom), I am learning to thrive with routines. Morning routines and evening routines keep me sane during the crazy school year. I am all about unwinding from the day to put my mind at ease and to get it ready for sleep. Sleep is very important to me, and since I've gone back to work for a new school year, I start preparing myself a few hours before bedtime.



I love unwinding to either a book, Netflix, a podcast, or a favorite playlist on Spotify.
I just add comfy pajamas, a face mask, lotion, and now most recently, teeth whitening trays.
I basically love anything that feels luxurious, peaceful, and glamorous.
(Since my life is anything but that, ha!)


A beauty luxury that I've kept in the back of my mind is a teeth whitening set.
It wasn't an extra expense that I could justify, being so close to paying off student loans
(which are now paid off! Whoo Hooo!), but I always knew it was something I wanted to do.
When Smile Brilliant reached out about working together, I was like "YES PLEASE!"

It was perfect because I have been wanting to whiten my teeth
(with my affinity for coffee and red wine and such) for a long time
and this was the perfect opportunity.


To begin my teeth whitening process, I answered a few questions about my teeth and
dental history, then Smile Brilliant sent me an impression kit to make
my custom-fitted trays that fit perfectly to my smile! I sent in my molds with the envelope
that Smile Brilliant provided and received my whitening kit shortly after.


The best thing about using the trays is that I can go about my evening with them in.
I can wear them while relaxing, or I can wear them while prepping dinner or getting Jade ready
for bed. I do like trying to save them for rest time though because there's nothing like
sitting down after a long day and doing a little self-care. You can wear them anywhere between
45 minutes to up to three hours!



Check out my results here! This was only after seven treatments.
Each kit comes with 12-16 treatments, which is awesome.


Smile Brilliant is offering a FREE whitening kit to one of you! Enter here to win!
One reader will win a credit for a FREE whitening set and all others can get theirs for 15% off!
Just use the code thegoldentabby15 for your discount.
The giveaway and deal goes through September 27th and is open to all
USA, UK, Australian, and Canadian residents. Good luck! :)

Thanks so much for reading!

xx,
Court






Tooth Whitening Gel

August 13, 2018

The Magic Of Two



This post is all about celebrating the magic of two

Because I'll be honest...most the the time, parenting a two year old is no walk in the park. We have attitudes, independence, and strong wills galore. 

"One day she will use that strong will for good," my mom recently told me. 

I do believe that. In fact, in a lot of ways, I am proud to have a strong willed little girl. She is the opposite of how I was as a child. I was pretty easy and compliant, but I also didn't have a lot of self confidence and leadership didn't come naturally to me. So I am reminded that her strong will is a gift. I keep telling myself that when she fights me on everything. 

There have been many moments that I want to savor in my two year old. Like recently, when we went to the beach and she just wanted to run in and out of the waves and giggle. She never got tired of running back and forth as the waves crashed over her feet and she never stopped giggling. She looked like a little fairy prancing there on the beach, inspiring the name "Twinkle Toes." I'll never forget that messy bun on her head, her squinty eyes, or the way her silver bangle glistened in the sun on her tiny wrist. But most of all, I'll never forget those precious giggles and splashing feet. 

That vacation week was a particularly hard parenting week and I found myself overtired, irritable, and not myself. But as she was prancing on the beach, I deeply wished for time to stand still. I remembered the year before, when she wasn't a fan of the sand and the waves, and how differently she was responding in that moment. I looked to the next year and realized she probably would not respond to the ocean in this same way at three years old (though I'm sure three will have magic of its own to revel in).  

I'm never going to have this experience with her again, I told myself. This is the magic of two. The way she experienced the ocean at this exact age, as my twinkle-toed-two-year-old, was beautiful to behold. 

There are other magical parts of this age as well. The way she will push her daddy and I toward one another for a kiss. The way she cups our faces with her hands. The way she thinks our freckles are "boo boos" and kisses them. The way she warns us that our coffee is hot so we won't burn ourselves. When she growls at us like a monster and we can't help but laugh because she is so tiny and fierce. 


The truth is, it's so easy to feel like I'm going to lose it most days. And then there are also many days when I actually do lose it a little. There are many parts to this stage that I just cannot wait to move past, parts that I will not miss. But I know that for every part that I am wishing away, there is a part that I will long for again one day. So I will cherish the sweetness of two. I'll remember that there is chaos and there is magic in every stage. I'll choose to cling to the magic. And I'll probably eat a lot of chocolate to cope with the chaos. 

What gets you through this crazy, hard, and beautiful stage?

Thanks for reading!

xx,
Court

July 30, 2018

My Favorite Leggings and Shoes for Running




Confession: Not only are these my favorite leggings and shoes for running, but they are also my favorite for just being comfy.

I'm wearing the Fast & Free 7/8 Tight II  Nulux 25 tights by Lululemon and the Ultraboost shoes by Adidas. 



Let's talk about the leggings first. They are not cheap, but they are 100% worth the money. There are very few pieces that I don't take a ton of time considering before purchasing, but I tried these on and immediately knew that these would be a staple for me. They are so comfortable...honestly, it feels like you're not wearing anything, haha. They're kind of like a second skin. 


A feature I love is all of the pockets. It's nice not to have to carry anything on a run. I wore these leggings for my marathon and I was able to keep my phone, keys, chapstick, tylenol, and gels in them so I could keep my hands free. 


When I was training for my marathon, I began researching shoes. I've always ran in either Brooks or Sauconys. I've heard that these two brands, along with Asics, are the ultimate shoes for runners. So that's kind of what I was expecting to get for my marathon. When I went shopping for it, I went in various stores and asked the associates about their number one recommendation for a running shoe. Three out of the four associates I talked to recommended the Adidas Ultraboost


I honestly was nervous to commit to a different shoe brand for running. I always thought Adidas and Nikes were great for cross training and of course fashion, but I wasn't convinced that they were for long distance runners. 


I ended up doing some research and found others who have ran multiple marathons in this exact shoe and decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did! Not only are they insanely comfortable, but I appreciated the softer top. My toenails tend to get sore in shoes with harder tops, no matter how short I cut them. These really helped eliminate having sore toes after long runs. I also really appreciate the simple look to these. I'm not a fan of the obnoxious colors that most running shoes come in. I love that I can wear these with anything and they won't clash. 


Have you ever tried these leggings or shoes? If you're a runner, what do you love running in? 

Thanks for reading!

xx,
Court

Photography by Lylah Rose Wolff

July 17, 2018

Summer Coffee Date Style {With My JORD Wooden Watch}




I'm not sure if there is anything more quintessentially "summer" than white t shirts, sunkissed skin (after sunscreen of course), and iced coffee. Sometimes in between errands, Jade and I will stop and have a little coffee date. Although *I* get the coffee and she gets some kind of snack, I pretty much always end up sharing my coffee with her. She is a girl after my own heart! 

I wanted to share a new accessory that I am loving. JORD makes the most beautiful and classic wooden watches. There are tons of styles to choose from, but I loved the sleekness of the Cassia Ebony & Sable design! It can be styled with anything, from your most elegant outfit, to your every day jeans and t-shirt look. 


I won’t lie, I am a sucker for product packaging. When my watch arrived on my doorstep, it came in a beautiful wooden box with the watch elegantly wrapped around a cushion. It also came with a custom cloth and cleaning solution to keep it in the best shape possible. I love when brands not only make quality products, but when they also put thought and care into the packaging and presentation of their product! 

           
I paired my watch with this white anthro tank (on sale) and jeans. Jady Bug is wearing this adorable Osh Kosh jumpsuit that I wish came in my size. ;) 


Can you guess if Jade is laughing or screaming in this picture?? 



JORD is being so generous and is offering one of my readers $1oo to put towards a watch of her/his choice! Simply choose your favorite watch, fill out this form, and JORD will randomly select a winner! One person will win, but anyone who enters will receive 10% off an order! The contest will close on August 12 at 11:59 p.m. 


Which watch is your favorite? Good luck! 

xx,
Court

**In collaboration with JORD**
Photography: Photo by Levi







Wooden Wrist Watch

June 08, 2018

We're On Our Way To Being Debt Free: Tips For Staying Focused On Your Financial Goals




We are doing it. We are getting out of debt. 

And while this process has seemed endless, we have been so diligent to pay off our student loans as fast as possible. I am pleased with our diligence and how far we have come. Thankfully, we do not have any other debt. We are not credit card users and are only renting an apartment right now. Our cars are paid for (though we will be needing a new one soon). Basically, if we can avoid more debt, we do. Debt enslaves you and prevents you from living your best life. I LOVED my college experience, but I don't know if I would say that it was worth the thousands of dollars of debt it brought, when there were cheaper options available.  


We had almost $100,000 in student loan debt. It's sickening. But we are on track to have it ALL paid off in August, which means it will have taken us 6 years to pay it all off. It has become so normal in our society to spend YEARS, even lifetimes, paying these things off. But it IS possible to pay them off quickly, even on a pastor and teacher's salary! Is it easy? No way. But it's possible. I love how Dave Ramsey says, "If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else." We are doing things a bit unconventionally. Technically, we are a two income family, but we are choosing to live on one income until we are out of debt. We have been married for eight years and have a little girl, but we are choosing to wait on our dream for a house and to live in a modest apartment. We are doing these things so we can have the FREEDOM of not owing anyone anything in the very near future! 

Here are some tips that have helped us stay the course and what I would recommend to anyone who wants to get out of debt as quickly as possible: 

1. Track your progress. Write down how much you pay off each month, either in a planner or on some kind of visual that you will see often. Progress provides more motivation to keep going and it will be exciting each month to see that number dwindle down. 


2. Decide ahead of time where you want your money to go. The point of this is having complete control over your finances. I love using Every Dollar because it allows you to set up a budget with categories and determine what percentage of your monthly paycheck you wish to put towards each category. It's a completely free tool! The point is to be aware of where every single dollar is going, so you're not shaking your head at the end of the month wondering where your paycheck went. You control your finances, not the other way around. :) 


3. Find some side hustles that you are passionate about. Chances are you're already working full time, so find some other ways to make extra income that are FUN! I worked a retail job during my first full year of teaching...it was hard, but every paycheck went to help us get out of debt. The company also offered a few free items that I otherwise probably wouldn't have bought due to trying to live frugally. It also offered a discount for when shopping was in the budget. Maintaining that second retail job wasn't realistic for me long term, but I'm glad I did it temporarily. Right now, I blog and am a consultant for Rodan + Fields, which are things I love doing anyway AND they offer extra income, discounts, and occasional free products. 


4. Celebrate reaching milestones along the way. Determine the milestones that you want to celebrate. Whenever you reach that milestone, creatively and frugally celebrate that milestone. Make room for these celebrations/rewards in your budget! Maybe each time you pay off 10% of your debt, you take your significant other on a special date. Just find something to celebrate your progress so you will be motivated to keep going!  


5. Accept that you are going to be "behind" for a little while. Getting out of debt as quickly as possible is going to require some sacrifice and intensity. You will watch everyone around you "move up" in their lives by buying beautiful houses and nice cars. You'll see them take regular exotic vacations. It can be hard to feel like you are behind. Don't fall in to the comparison trap. Everyone's journey is different. Plus, we only see a small portion of people's lives on social media. We have no idea what other struggles they have... I guarantee their lives are not all fun and games. The point is, we don't know, we can only focus on our own progress and goals. Society and social media will tell you that you're behind. Be okay with it for now. Remember that it is temporary. Live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later. 

Getting out of debt quickly is possible. Make it one of your top goals and don't stop until you get there. Trust me, if we can do it, anyone can. You just have to want it badly enough! 


Do you have any other tips for getting out of debt? I would love to know! Thanks for reading!! 

xx,
Court



May 04, 2018

Free People Tank & Bralette




This is the time of year for layering. When Brian saw this outfit, he said "Yep, this is the 'skipping-through-meadows' free spirited hippie Courtney that I know." I don't find this look super bohemian, but the comment made me smile. 



I'm loving the contrast between the blueish/purple with the black! This long cardigan is from Loft, but I received it several years ago from a friend, so it is no longer available. Same with these pants...I bought them a few weeks ago on sale at Abercrombie & Fitch. I'll link some similar styles below! 



It's just not realistic for me to only wear "new" things as a blogger. Even if I had the funds for it, I wouldn't want to! Isn't the point of buying something because you love it and want to wear it for years to come?! I can't imagine how crowded my closet would be (and how measly my bank account would be!) if I was only wearing new things. I am baffled at the bloggers who are always showcasing brand new things...I'm just like, "but where do you store it all?" Or, "Don't you get sad only wearing it 1-2 times?" All of this to say that my cardigan and pants are old and no longer available, and you'll find me re-wearing things time and time again on my blog. 



I've always been a fan of Free People, but they can definitely be pricey. I love that this flowy tank is only $20! It runs large so size down. I am normally a medium, but sized down to a small. It is slightly cropped, so be aware of that. I'll be living in this with some high waisted shorts this summer.


The bralette I'm wearing is also by Free People. It looks so pretty layered underneath just about anything! 

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

xx,
Court

Shop  The Look:


April 30, 2018

30 Before 30


1. Run my first marathon
2. Pay off all of my student loans
3. Create more fashion/styling content
4. Potty train Jade
5. Read more books 
6. Spend more time working my Rodan + Fields Business


7. Buy a reliable car
8. Protect my skin from the sun
9. Drink more water
10. Wake up earlier for some alone time before the work day
11. Minimize


12. Make prints of family photos and hang them up
13. Make business cards
14. Host a Rodan + Fields event
15. Put together a capsule makeup collection
16. Make homemade pop-tarts for Jade


17. Visit my best friend in Chicago
18. Go to Cedar Point
19. Strive to blend gentleness and firmness in motherhood
20. Listen to more podcasts
21. Start a Bible study
22. Surprise the people around me with random gifts/cards to brighten their day
23. Get another ear piercing


24. Try an Orange Theory Class
25. Eat less dairy
26. Do more day trips and weekend trips to Michigan
27. Actually sit down to eat good breakfasts
28. Learn about and use more essential oils
29. Make homemade blueberry muffins
30. Get out of my cooking rut and be more adventurous with family dinners

I turned 29 back in February and made a fun little goal/bucket list of 30 things I want to do/experience/grow in before my 30th birthday. Some are actual big goals, others are just small fun things I want to try. Some of these I've already tackled (like running my first marathon, yay!), some of these I'm in the process of doing, and others I have not started yet. I just thought this would be a fun, but realistic "bucket list" of 30 things to do before February of next year. If you have anything on your bucket list, I'd love to hear!

Thanks for reading!

xx,
Court

April 11, 2018

The Coziest Tee You Need In Your Closet Right Now




As a busy mom, when I'm not at work, this is typically the kind of outfit you'll find me in. When I tried on this top at Express a few months ago, I was immediately sold. Not only is it drapey and flattering, but the material is incredibly soft. It feels like being wrapped up in a blanket...so besides being tempted to crash and take a nap at 1:00 on a Wednesday afternoon, it is amazing. ;) 



I paired it with an older style of Zella leggings (similar style linked below) and my pink Adidas flashbacks. The style is longer in the back so if you like to have your butt covered, it's perfect! 



I've also paired this with jeans and booties as well as high waisted black pants and dressy flats. Five gold stars for versatility. Basics are so faithful like that! If this top was a number on the Enneagram, it would be a loyal 6. 



I also wore my Free People bralette underneath. The neckline is looser so you can drape it over your shoulders if you have a cute detail that you want to highlight. See? Versatile. 

Okay...being wrapped in this cozy tee is too much. Going to nap now. Just kidding...kinda.

xx,
Court

Shop The Look:

April 04, 2018

Oh-Two-dles! Jade is two!



We recently had Jade's 2nd birthday party. Let me tell you guys, I don't love planning or hosting parties. Oh, I love to attend cute parties, but I get overwhelmed with the details when I am in charge. I realize that this is something I am just going to have to get over as a mom, but it's still not a strong point for me. However, there is nothing like seeing your little one be so happy and feel so special. She had a blast with both sides of Brian and I's family. I am extremely appreciative of them for making the trip up and for helping make the party happen. Seriously...my mom made almost all of the decorations (cricut for the win!), my sister-in-laws helped me with the food, my mother-in-law hauled both of her waffle makers up, and it took all of our hands loading and unloading everything. We did a Minnie Mouse theme since Jade loves "Mouse" and had a bunch of Minnie things. 

These are just a few i-phone pictures from her party. I posted more on my Instagram (as well as a video face diving into her cake). 






This was the end...she was so tired, haha! She definitely slept great for her nap right after!

"Two" is proving to be a new challenge for this mama. I'll have to do another post on what life is like in that aspect sometime. 

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

xx,
Court















April 02, 2018

Crazy Stripes On Crazy Sale




As we transition into Spring, the weather is pretty up and down. It's still pretty chilly in NW Ohio, though it's bearable if the sun is out. I'm not exactly wanting to wear my winter coats, but it's not warm enough for typical spring attire. 




Cue bright, springy sweaters. I absolutely love the rainbow stripes that are trending right now! Gap has a ton of these and they're all on sale! This sweater is on sale for $25 AND I'm always getting emails from them to take an additional percentage off my purchase. (note: Never buy anything full price at the Gap. There's always some kind of promo going on.) When I bought this, I got an additional 40% off and bought some items for Jade in the same print. Such a good deal! 




You'll also find me wearing these shoes all. the. time. I love that it's actually cool to wear athletic shoes with normal (not just athleisure) clothes right now. This trend is making all of my mom dreams come true. These shoes come in a ton of cool colors... but I am partial to the pink. :) 




Are you digging the rainbow trend as much as I am? How about athleisure shoes? 

Thanks so much for reading! 

xx,
Court

      
Shop The Exact Look:      

   

Budget tips: For designer denim, check places like Poshmark or Clothes Mentor. I got these Mother jeans at Clothes Mentor a couple of years ago! These adidas shoes can also be found at Amazon...the prices change and vary, so always check back periodically to make sure you get the cheapest price! As for the the sunglasses, I found mine brand new on eBay (for a fraction of the price) a few years ago, so check there. 


More rainbow styles I am loving!