At Home Teeth Whitening: Does It Work?

This past summer, I was researching professional teeth whitening. I noticed that my teeth were looking dull, and they had started to make me self conscious. I knew I needed to do something about them. In true Sara fashion, I procrastinated because I was reluctant to shell out the $400+ needed for the whitening. So it was a little ironic (and just my luck) that Smile Brilliant reached out to me to try their professional teeth whitening kit. Now that was something I could jump on board with!

Smile Brilliant was the perfect solution for me because it is the same solution that a dentist near me would use and it is custom fitted to your teeth. I have sensitive gums but Smile Brilliant is safe for both enamel and gums, and can be used on sensitive teeth. I had almost zero sensitivity during the process! And most importantly, the results are noticeable and PERMANENT.

The kit is initially mailed to you with “molding clay” so that you can make impressions of your teeth. I was super nervous about this step, and worried that I would screw it up. Luckily, they send you extra clay for just that purpose but I did not end up needing it. The directions were very clear and straightforward, and the molding was actually a very easy step. Then you mail back your impressions in the prepaid envelope, and about two weeks later you receive your trays. I had imagined a thick, sports-type mouthguard to get mailed back to me but the trays that were sent back were super thin and lightweight. No one could even tell I was wearing them when they were in.

*Funny story* I was putting my son to bed while wearing the trays, and he had no idea that they were in. Well, I sneezed, and the trays flew out of my mouth. He started screaming, “Daddy, come see what happened to Mommy!” I couldn’t stop laughing. Anyways, I digress.

Now for the whitening:

Each night I would apply a small strip of whitening gel to the trays, and leave them in my mouth for about two hours, depending on the night. I was worried about sensitivity, so I started with about 30 minutes, and worked up to two hours but I had almost no sensitivity.

After your trays are in for your desired amount of time, you take out the trays and brush your teeth as you normally would, and follow with the desensitizing gel. I will say, this was the hardest part of the whitening. I go to bed early, so finding time to have the trays in for an extended period was challenging. Even though I started putting them in right after dinner, it was still tough to fit it in. But for deep stain removal, more time is needed.

It took about a month to reach my desired whiteness, and I think I may continue the process longer. That’s also the great thing about Smile Brilliant – I already have my trays so I would just need to purchase more whitening gel. You can see my results here: 

If you are interested in trying Smile Brilliant for yourself, you can use the code: “joggersandgymshoesblog15” for 15% off your kit!

I am also giving away one at home whitening kit. That’s a $150 value! Entering is simple. Just click here! The giveaway is open for one week, and you will be contacted by email if you win.

Will you try it for yourself?


Professional Teeth Whitening

Smart Snacking

Since I was about 16 years old, about half of my life, I have battled hypoglycemia. On top of everything teenagers deal with, I found myself breaking out in cold sweats after eating, seeing double, unable to focus, and feeling like I was constantly going to fall over or pass out. Fun huh?

Soon after, I was diagnosed with Hypoglycemia. Basically, after I consume a high carb meal, my body would produce way too much insulin, and my blood sugar would drop way too fast causing me to feel like I was going to faint.

So how is Hypoglycemia different from diabetes?

Hypoglycemia is similar to diabetes in that you have to follow a low sugar, small frequent meals type of diet. You also need to worry about your blood sugar dropping too fast. It is different from diabetes because your blood sugar never gets too high which is the main struggle with diabetes. I do not have to give myself insulin injections like someone with diabetes would.

So what did you do?

When I was younger, I had a really hard time regulating my blood sugar. The foods I should have been eating did not always meet the convenience factor that I needed. It wasn’t until after college, with my Nutrition degree in hand, that I really started to understand what my body needed.

A lot of finding out what worked for me came from trial and error. I discovered that all of the high carb foods that I loved so much were like poison to my body. I can no longer eat bagels with butter for breakfast (sigh) but I will enjoy the occasional bagel along with two eggs for protein to balance out the carb content. Eating a cinnamon roll or donut for breakfast without protein would quite literally put me in bed for the rest of the day.

To this day, I still struggle finding acceptable snacks that are easy on the go so I was really excited to discover Sugar Smart Box! Sugar Smart Box is a monthly subscription snack box that delivers low sugar and low carb snacks right to your door. What I loved most about the Box was that everything inside could easily be thrown into a lunch box, backpack, or purse. As a mom, I’m always looking for a healthy snack I can throw in the stroller as we are running out the door that won’t go bad when I forget to eat it right away. My kids loved a lot of the snacks too which is always a plus. You can check out Sugar Smart Box here.

What are your health struggles? I’d love to hear!



In Collaboration with Sugar Smart Box.

Becoming a Morning Person

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If I can become a morning person, anyone can! If you read this previous post, then you already know how much I love sleep. I never thought (before I had kids) that I could be the type of person who wakes up before dawn, especially when the option to hit snooze is still there. Now, don’t get me wrong, I will never fully be a morning person. I just love sleep way too much. Getting out of my warm, cozy bed while it’s still dark outside breaks my heart a little. But with a full time job, and two small children, it is one of the better ways to find balance.


You’ll have to start going to bed earlier. This was really hard for me at first because after the kids go to bed is my only time to veg, hang out with Dean, watch Netflix, wash dishes, put away laundry, etc. But after a few 5:00 am wake ups, your body will be craving bed vs. Netflix much earlier. It only took me two days of waking up an hour early for my body to adjust, and for me to be ready for bed an hour earlier. I had to give up my Netflix watching but honestly, I should probably give up some screen time anyway. I aim to get in bed around 9:00 pm, and then read for a half hour. By then I’m struggling to keep my eyes open. It’s important to go to sleep when you hit this point, and not try to power through it, no matter how good your book is! Then you’ll hit “over tired”, and you’ll actually have trouble sleeping. So get those chores done early, and be ready to relax at least a half hour before you close your eyes. Easier said than done, I know.


Set a few different alarms for a few different times. I’m not kidding. I set three, each five minutes apart. The first alarm wakes me up. I don’t get up but I become aware that I need to get up soon so I don’t fully fall back to sleep. By the time the second alarm goes off, I’m a little more awake, and start waiting for the third alarm. By the time that one goes off, I’m usually ready to get up. Usually. 😉


Plan your time wisely. Make sure everything is set out and ready to go. For me, it’s working out so I make sure my clothes are laid out, and that I have an extra water bottle and small snack in my purse ready to go.


Remind yourself of why you are waking up early. Is to workout? That’s what it is for me. Tell yourself why it is important. There are mornings where I really need to convince myself to get out of bed. It really is a daily struggle. But then I think of all the things I have to do later in the day, and know that if I don’t get up now, my workout will not happen. Plus, I’m not sacrificing any time with the kids.

Are you a morning person? I’d love to hear your tips!

3 different treadmill workouts and a playlist

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I frequently post my treadmill workouts to my stories. Running on the treadmill can be tedious and boring. I try to change either my speed or incline every minute to help alleviate that. Below I’ve complied a few of my favorites that I come back to time and time again. I’ve also added my current favorite songs from my running playlist. Some are old (but good!), and some are new but they have all helped keep me motivated and moving during my treadmill workouts.

Treadmill workout #1

Treadmill workout #2

Treadmill Workout #3

Playlist to get you motivated and keep you moving:

What songs do you listen to while you workout to keep you motivated? Send me your favorites!


Staying Motivated with Health and Fitness

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Most years, I walk into the new year with health and fitness goals. This is really the first year that I am happy with where I am at. I have found a routine that I love, and can sustain being a working mom with two kids. My goal for myself this year is really to maintain my health and fitness routines, film more at home workouts for my YouTube page, and do one health/fitness blog post each week.

Today I will be answering your health and fitness questions:

How do you find the time?

I used to try to workout everyday but being a working mom this is a really high expectation to set. I’ve changed up my workouts, and now I workout for a longer period of time but only 3-4 days/week. It gives my body time to recharge and leaves more time for my kids on my “off” days.

The biggest thing for me though is that I really just have to schedule it into my day. It is not optional. You have to go into any new fitness routine with that mindset: It is just as important as anything else you have planned during the day. If you have the means, book a class somewhere. I’ve found that if I pay ahead of time, unless I am on my death bed, I am going to show up.

What are some exercises to do to lose the “mommy” belly?

Unfortunately, after two kids and one c-section I feel that this will never completely go away. The best thing you can do to lose that “mommy tummy” is run or jog. Planks are great too. Start with 30 a 30 second plank, and add 15 – 30 seconds each day until you work up to a full three minute plank. Do this daily.

Reverse planks are great too and work the lower abs.

Here are some exercises that I do to target the low abs. (sorry for the low picture quality – my husband is no photographer)



Reverse Plank

Leg Lowers


What does your typical workout look like?

In the fall, I joined one of those super cheap gyms that look like my garage but I am loving it. I still attend Shred415, and do my home workouts but it’s nice to have the option of a gym as well.

My workouts consist of some combination of running (30 minutes), weights (15 minutes), and toning and abs (15 minutes). I think the treadmill is extremely boring so when I run I either change the speed or the incline every minute. It makes the time go so much faster! Doing speed and incline intervals are also great ways to tone, build muscle, and increase endurance. You can read some of my treadmill workouts here.

Have you ever run a marathon?

I have not and don’t plan to. I can’t imagine putting my body through that. I am also not a distance runner! I did train for a 1/2 marathon once when my daughter was around six months old, and got up to like nine miles but it was too time consuming. I’d have to stop running or cut my run short to go home and nurse or pump. It just wasn’t the right time for me.

Do you have a weight that you try to maintain?

My weight fluctuates day to day which is totally normal! I tend to be right around 110. If I hit over 115, I know it’s time to cut back on the junk. 😉

What are your favorite shoes to exercise in?

My husband bought me these a few months ago, and they are amazing! I have bad knees and ankles from years of gymnastics, and I don’t notice any discomfort when running in these. They feel like running on a cloud, and are super light weight. I used to run in these but they are heavier, and the sizing is always changing. These ran super small. Great support though!

Do you prefer to run inside or outside?

Honestly, it depends on what I am doing. If I want to do some sort of interval, I usually prefer the treadmill because I can adjust the speeds and the incline as needed. If I’m going for distance, or just running to maintain a pace, then I like to do that outside. Running at one pace can get really boring on a treadmill so running outside helps with that.

I also live where it gets VERY cold and ice-y for about 4 months out of the year so I have no choice but to run indoors.


Thanks everyone for the great questions, and inspiring this post! If you have other questions you’d like answered, DM me on Instagram or email me at

Shopping My Closet

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Easy health and fitness changes to make now…and keep all year

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We all have high hopes for a new year, and if you’re like me, mounds of things that you want to change. I have found though, that positive changes only happen, and continue to happen, if they are small and gradually happen over time, through active exercise, regenerative medicine and self-care.

Below I have outlined FIVE easy health and fitness changes that you can start today, and maintain all year:

  1. Set a date and time to exercise at least 3 days/week. Don’t just say, “I’ll workout on Monday.” Figure out your exact when and where. On Tuesday, I will run for 30 minutes outside. I will do this ____ while my kids are ____. Pack/lay out your gym clothes the night before. Have your pre workout snack ready to go. Pack a water bottle. Do not set unrealistic expectations for yourself. If you NEVER wake up before 6am, do not schedule a 5am workout. Be realistic with yourself. My best time is right after work before I pick the kids up from daycare. I change at work, and eat a small snack in the car on the way there. NO excuses.
  2. Make one small health change, and stick with it. Bring your lunch each day instead of buying, add in daily vitamins, eat an apple instead of chips, switch to Stevia instead of Splenda, start buying natural deodorant. Pick something and do it! Feeling brave? Make a small change each week.
  3. Follow the 80/20 rule. You will not be able to maintain a diet if you deprive yourself of everything that you love. Everything in moderation. I try to eat relatively healthy on weekdays, and then let myself indulge on the weekends. I love a good burger, fries, ice cream, and wine. During the week, I eat two eggs every morning, a banana for a snack, turkey with hummus and carrots for lunch, and nuts or an apple for a snack EVERY day. Dinner is some sort of meat and veggie. Boring, I know but it is what works for me. The best way to maintain this is to plan out your meals, have the food in the house, and pack your lunch with healthy food.
  4. Invest in a good pair of workout shoes. Trust me on this one. Some of my favorites are here, here, and here.
  5. Cauliflower. I’m a lover of all things starchy and covered in butter. So to keep myself from eating all the pasta and potatoes, I buy a lot of cauliflower. Roast it, boil it, turn it into rice – it’s delicious any way. Add a little butter and salt and pepper, and you’ll almost forget you are not eating a baked potato. Almost 😉

What changes have you made in the new year? I’d love to hear!


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Winter Supplements

Since it is the new year, I decided to take a look at what supplements I am taking each day to stay healthy this winter. When it comes to supplements, there is no one size fits all. I spent the last four years of my life either pregnant or nursing. During that time, I took a prenatal vitamin (nothing fancy, just the GNC brand) and the occasional Iron supplement. This summer when I finally stopped nursing my son, I also let go of my multivitamin. As long as you are eating a balanced diet, most women do not need one.

In the summertime, I normally do not take any supplements. Between all of the sunshine, and fresh fruits and veggies, my body does not really “feel” that it needs one. Obviously, everyone is different but I try to get my vitamins through my food when I can.

Winter time is another story. I am up against 38 germ-y five year olds all day long. I don’t see the sun. I eat a lot more starch and a lot less fruit. I am tired and stressed, and my immune system is fighting a constant uphill battle. Each day, I take Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and a B Complex (I particularly like the one pictured). There is no one brand that I have to have but I do make sure that my vitamins are non-GMO.

What supplements I take:

Vitamin D: Everyone should be taking a Vitamin D supplement, especially in the winter. It helps your body absorb calcium (i.e. strong bones) and also helps to facilitate normal immune system function. Vitamin D can also help reduce depression and boost weight loss. The amount of Vitamin D that your body needs has increased in recent years, and not all multivitamins account for this.

Vitamin E: According to the National Institute of Health, “Vitamin E s a powerful antioxidant that may help reduce free radical damage and slow the aging process of your cells.” Basically, it can help fight heart disease and cancer. It also makes a great moisturizer. Sometimes, I will break open a capsule and rub the Vitamin E oil into my hands when they are really dry.

Vitamin B Complex: B Vitamins play an important role in helping our bodies turn food into energy. There are 8 B Vitamins, and they all play a different role in our bodies. B Vitamins help make new cells in our body, fight free radicals, boost HDL cholesterol, promote healthy skin, and reduces inflammation. It really just does it all!

Vitamins D, E, K, and A are fat soluble and MUST be taken with food to work properly. All other vitamins are water soluble, and do not need food to be absorbed.

I also keep an Iron supplement in my pantry but only take it as needed. If I notice that I am extra sluggish I may pop one for a day or two. I am also not one to shy away from a burger or steak, and usually a good red meat meal does the trick.

What supplements do you take? I’d love to hear!

While this is what I believe to be best for my body, I am not a health care professional. Please speak with your physician before beginning any new supplement regimen.


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10 Minute Total Body Workout

I love being able to workout at home. With kids, sometimes it’s the only way to get it done. We don’t have the space for a treadmill unless we put it in the garage, and who wants to run in their spider covered garage? Not me! So I have to get creative.

In lieu of a treadmill post this week, I filmed a quick 10 minute total body workout that you can do anywhere. Literally, I do this in my messy basement while my kids play around me (as you can see from the video). All you need is a set of medium to heavy dumbbells. I stick with either 8 lbs or 10 lbs depending on how I’m feeling that day. For this video, I was using 8 lbs. I try to get in two rounds for a nice little workout.

I also created a YouTube page where you will be able to view all of my workouts. My goal is to film a new workout each week so I hope you will subscribe and follow along!

***I am aware I need to work on my videography skills.

I hope you’ll try it out and enjoy! I’d love to hear your comments.

Shedding the Baby Weight

Being pregnant with my son completely destroyed my body. By the time I actually gave birth, I think I weighed close to 150 lbs. That was almost a 40 lb weight gain for me. Wah Woo Wee. That’s a lot of weight on my 5’1″ frame.


I really have no idea why it happened though. I was eating well, still exercising a few times/week, working full time, and chasing a busy toddler. Ryan was also a relatively small baby. Water weight?? Needless to say, it happened. And after 6 weeks postpartum, I was weighing in at 131 lbs, and feeling pretty bad about myself. I had never weighed so much in my life (without a baby in my belly), none of my clothes fit, and I was unhappy looking at myself in a mirror. I felt sloppy and squishy. I knew I needed a change but didn’t really know where to start.

With Chloe, my body bounced back pretty quickly. With Ryan, it wasn’t as easy.

(Please be kind)


That’s when a friend of mine, who had also recently given birth, convinced me to do the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology with her. I had been reluctant to try it for many reasons. The first one being – it sounds like a scam. It’s also not cheap. And I’d never had success working out with videos before – why would they work now? Well, I ultimately gave in and purchased a 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack. It couldn’t hurt, right?

What is the 21 Day Fix? It’s a portion controlled clean eating plan that includes 30 minutes of exercise each day that you can do from the comfort of your own home. I also chose to get a Challenge Pack which includes Shakeology. Shakeology is the most nutrient dense protein shake on the market. Best part is, they have a 30 day money back guarantee. You can even return a full bag! So why not give it a try? Shakeology has really helped curb my cravings for the junk I had been eating. I do love my sweets but when I drink Shakeology, I don’t think about them (as much 😉 ). Shakeology can be used as a meal replacement but since I am a nursing mom, I use it more as a snack or a recovery drink.

The Fix also includes 8 different workouts: Total Body Cardio, Upper, Lower, Pilates, Cardio, Dirty 30 (my favorite), Yoga, and 10 Minute Abs. Having always been an avid exerciser  – I love running, pilates, and HIIT, I was worried that the videos would be too easy for me. THEY ARE NOT! I also love that if I have time, I can do 2 videos instead of just 1. I started The Fix using 3 lbs dumbbells, now I’m using 6 lbs. I’ve found that increasing the weight, increases the results.

By following the Fix and drinking Shakeology, I had lost 11 lbs and 10 inches by 11 weeks postpartum. That was only 5 weeks of doing The Fix! I had a great support system – a group of postpartum moms all in the same situation. We were all doing the Fix together. I modified a little to take into account that I am breastfeeding exclusively. I don’t limit my heathy fats. On any day, I’ll eat hummus, peanuts, cheese and avocado, etc. If I feel my supply is a little weak, I’ll eat a scoop of ice cream. I was sick a few weeks ago and couldn’t eat. My supply went way down. When I started to feel better, I ate ice cream for a few nights, and my supply was back to normal in 2 days.


By 15 weeks, I had lost 5 more lbs, bringing me within sight of my pre-baby weight.

(Check out my shoulder definition 😉 )


By 16 weeks, I was able to button ALL of my pre-baby pants.


The 21 Day Fix and Shakeology has completely changed my life. It has helped me to subconsciously make healthier choices. Even my husband has started losing weight from me making healthier choices. I do still have cheat days. But if I know I’m going to have pizza for dinner, I’ll make a big salad to go along with it so I fill up more on greens and less on cheese.

I also workout EVERYDAY. I’m up before the sun because that’s what I need to do to fit it in, and I feel better all day for it. I’ve never been a morning person but my health is a huge priority in my life right now. I want to set a good example for my children, and be around for a good long while.

Granted, my body is different than it used to be. Birthing a human will do that. But I am slowly getting back into better shape than I was before I got pregnant with Ryan. I can’t wait to see where I am in another 3 months.

Want to try a meal plan that allows you wine and chocolate, where you can exercise form the comfort of your own home? Comment below or email me through my Beachbody site, and I can help you find the program that is right for you!

Our First Walk

Bring sun, and temperatures in the 40’s to the Arctic and the coats come off, the shorts come out. That was the situation yesterday. I, for one, was not hardcore enough for shorts but it definitely felt spring-like. It was time to take Ryan for his first walk.

I have not been given the green light from my doctor to start working out yet but she did tell me I could start walking and doing light abdominal work. I have 10 lbs to lose to get back to my pre-baby weight. Ideally, I’d like to lose 15 but I’d be happy with 10. To ease back into it, I’m going to start by walking 2 miles/day. I’m also doing planks and light ab work to strengthen my pelvic floor (more on that later). I’m still dealing with some postpartum back/hip pain, and just started seeing a chiropractor. Fingers crossed that I am back to normal in a few weeks and ready to start running again.

I gained more weight with Ryan than I would have liked. With Chloe I gained 23 lbs. With Ryan, I stopped looking at the scale once I passed the 30 lb mark at around 38 weeks. I’m not exactly sure why I gained more. It was definitely more difficult to workout with the 2nd pregnancy (exhaustion, pelvic pressure), and I felt a lot sicker for more of it (think: bread, bread, and more bread). 

For our walk, I bundled Ryan in this Gap quilted one-piece (old, similar here). I absolutely love my Bob stroller, and use it all the time for walking and jogging. The wheels are rubber and air which makes for a super smooth ride. The front wheel swivels nicely, and really helps makes turns easier when jogging. It’s really easy to pop the car seat in and out of it when the baby is tiny with the car seat attachment. I also kept Ryan warm and snug with the JJ Cole car seat cover.


We recently purchased a Phil and Ted’s double stroller but have not used it yet. I love that it was voted “Safest Double Stroller” and that it is compact. It seriously folds up so small! It also has a smooth ride (although I don’t think anything can beat the Bob). I’ve heard that people jog with it because of the air and rubber tires but you are not supposed to…

My happy boy slept our entire walk. I enjoyed the sun and fresh air on my path through the woods. I did not enjoy pushing a stroller through snowmelt – mud, mud, and more mud. But it felt great to get up and out and moving again! I had so much more energy for the rest of the day – I cleaned, did some laundry, organized Chloe’s room…much more productive than sitting on the couch waking reruns of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and writing this blog 😉

I’m also excited to start the 21 Day Fix with some new moms in a few weeks. Need some motivation to lose the baby weight? Join us here!