Hi, I'm Nicole. I am a twenty-something with a lot of drive and way too many interests. I have the most amazing little family; I'm married to the most amazing man I know (seriously, not even exaggerating). I have the
three sweetest and most adorable children ever. I spend my days wiping bums and trying to catch up on laundry, while squeezing in a cute outfit or DIY project while trying not to burn dinner.
(not in that order)
Join me on this little journey called life, and maybe we can try and find some humor in it along the way!
It has been one month since my husband passed away. A sudden
shock and blow to our family, completely turning our lives upside down. He was
our rock, the captain who steered this ship, and now he is gone. We are still
in shock and baffled at how we can continue on and pretend life is any semblance
Everything I have written on this blog prior to this point seems absolutely trivial. Fashion, motherhood, gift round ups, all things that in the light of my husband’s death, so small.
In light of all that, I cancelled my blog host early this week. How can I even justify paying money to write about something that was seemingly insignificant. But then God put it on my heart to write. Nothing like I have ever written or even had the boldness to share online. When someone walks through a tragedy, you have options. I can choose to wallow and turn myself into a recluse and bask in my pain. OR I can praise the One who created this universe and delight in His goodness, because, hear me, HE IS STILL GOOD. Sometimes it is like an out of body experience, saying these words. But they are coming from my soul, because my conscious mind still doesn’t quite understand it. How can God be good and I am sitting over here doubled over in emotional agony?
I don’t think I will ever understand it fully.
What I am thankful for are those who have traveled this path,
or similar ones before me.
Job 2:10 says “…shall we receive good from God, and shall we
not receive evil?”
How can I live a life and expect no sadness? No pain or
anguish? God didn’t devise this horrible plan to rip the love of my life away
from me, just so I can relish in this twisted pain. BUT. But God. God ALLOWS
these situations so I can draw near to Him. He allowed my husband to be taken
from me at the age of 32, leaving me as a 29 year old widow with three kids, five
and under. He allowed this pain in our lives so we can be helpless and lean on
HIM for help.
Life isn’t fair.
But my God is good. He is faithful and has sustained us thus far. And when I don’t understand or get overwhelmed, I can lean on Him. This is too intense and painful to go on, but He is there and will sustain us.
The death of my husband has strengthened my faith. I would never
have wished this reality on myself or my children, but watching God’s hand move
in our lives has been nothing short of spectacular. So I choose to worship. I
choose joy. I choose to praise and magnify the creator of this universe, while
I am still aching and confused, because HE IS GOOD.
I can hardly believe I have a five year old. You know when you have your first baby and everyone and their mother (and the person behind you in the checkout line) tells you how fast time goes? I feel it. This year more than ever I am realizing just how quickly this phase of life is passing by. I mean, just yesterday I was holding this adorable, squishy new baby and had no idea what I was doing. Now, here I am, five years later, still no idea what I am doing, but now I am surrounded by three kids who are fairly independent. The days are long but the years are short: no truer words have been said!
Total tangent, I know. Last month we celebrated my first born’s fifth birthday with a girly unicorn beauty party. Scarlett has been obsessed with horses basically since she was born, but it has morphed into a love of unicorns in the past year and a half (because what could be better than horses than a horse with glitter and a horn and magic?). My mom is pretty much the coolest Mimi around and was able to CATCH AN ACTUAL UNICORN. Scarlett was completely convinced that she had caught a real unicorn for her party even though she has spent so much time around my mom’s barn and knows the horses… And to top it off, Mimi caught the SAME ONE for a photo shoot a couple days later! (Scroll past the party pics to see the photo shoot pictures). Amazing!… I will hold onto the childlike innocence as long as I can…
We kept her party to girls only and had a fun nail painting station when they first came in.
Now onto the photo shoot pictures… this girl’s year was made!
Special thanks to my mom for the Unicorn (a.k.a. LM Idols Remington Hawk or Remi) and Bekah Scadding for the gorgeous pictures! You can check out more of my mom’s horse farm here and business here.
Scroll to the bottom for a giveaway and outfit details
Some things go hand in hand. For example, motherhood= coffee + wine. But you know what else that means? Stained teeth and low confidence in my smile. And I don’t think I am the only one! I’ll admit that the secret to success for my early morning wakeups is a freshly brewed cup of coffee (I sing the praises of my grind-and-brew daily!). But the stains on my teeth are an unfortunate side effect I don’t love. I have used other whitening products for years with some success, but often with a loooot of pain (sensitive teeth over here!) and never quite eradicating the stains between my teeth. When Smile Brilliant reached out to me I could hardly contain myself!
Using Smile Brilliant was so easy to fit into my lifestyle. I would pop in the custom whitening trays after dinner as my husband took the kids upstairs and start getting ready for bed. I would pick up the house a bit and then meet up for bedtime kisses. Simply leaving the trays in my mouth for a couple hours would five me perfectly white teeth without any hassle. I would apply the desensitizing gel about 15 minutes before bed, and that’s it! No pain, so easy, and instantly white teeth. Talk about a perfect match.
So let me explain what this product is: it is a CUSTOM teeth whitening tray that you can reuse, as well as a desensitizing gel if you suffer from sensitive teeth like I do. Not only is their product proven to whiten your teeth faster than at the dentist office, but it costs nearly 70% less! We are talking over $500 at the office versus this at-home system for under $149. They are also vegan and cruelty free which is a huge plus. If you know me than you know I am not one to advocate for a product that I wouldn’t use myself, and this is no exception. When I whitened my teeth the first time with this product, I saw immediate results! I am now three treatments in and my teeth have never looked better. I may have happy-texted my sisters and got them on board right away.
You can see my before and after pictures here:
I feel so much more confident in my smile now! And you can too… Smile Brilliant has offered to give away a $149 credit, the same amount as the custom T3 Sensitive System!
GIVEAWAY & COUPON DETAILS:
The giveaway is for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit. Giveaway will end on 4/27/18 and is open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a white kitchen. As cliche as it is, I love anything light and bright! Our home was built in 2000 (or somewhere around there) and from what I can tell, it still has the original kitchen. There was nothing wrong with it. The flow is great, there are lots of cabinets, it is just… brown. I don’t have anything against a natural wood kitchen. Our hardwoods run into the kitchen, so we had one giant brown room. Plus, if I am just being honest, it isn’t my style. We get a lot of light in our house, but it still seemed dark in here! Being a stay at home mom, I spend 90% of my day in the kitchen. To pay someone to refinish the cabinets would have been expensive. And while we are in the process of updating our home, it wasn’t in the cards for last summer. I am not one to sit back and wait, so…. I did it. I refinished the cabinets myself. So before I show you the finished product, here are a few before pictures for context!
I was able to find these pictures from the original listing of our home of the kitchen in all if its woodgrain glory (because you know me by now and I forget to take decent before pictures):
(Previous owner/renter’s furniture)
So see what I mean? Lots of brown. Wood. Boring. Great layout, lots of space. But lots of room for improvement! So I did what I’ll call phase one of the kitchen renovation. While we have no plans of doing a new kitchen in this house, there are other things I have planned for it to make it even more special! Alright then… who is ready for some after pictures?!
And here is a before and after because it is just that good!
Let’s Talk About It
So, let’s talk about it for a minute. Or I will wait until you pick your jaw up off the floor… dramatic transformation, right?! So if you’ve followed along on my instagram, you know I refinished the cabinets back in July. Or maybe it was August. Either way, it was a very long time ago! I knew I wanted to do it correctly from the start, so it took an incredible amount of time. And I wanted to live in it for a while to give you a good review of how we liked it and how they wore. And also because sometimes these things take forever to plan ahead… But I digress.
Finishing the cabinets was a huge undertaking. Basically it was the only thing I did for three solid weeks. Thank you, warm weather and outside play for the kids!
Here are a few tutorials that I used. I read a million, but these methods were closest to what I did:
If I were to go back in time, I would rent a paint sprayer. And use my power sander. For some reason I forgot they existed and I hand sanded each cabinet, front and back and between layers, AND I OWN A POWER SANDER. I’ll blame it on the mom brain thing… If I had used both those machines, this whole project would have been so much faster! Take my advice and don’t do it by hand. The finish will be nicer and it will take way less time.
Am I happy I did it? You bet! I haven’t regretted it one bit. Even Marcus is glad I did it. While he doesn’t always understand my ideas and projects, he understood this one 100% after it was done. So, thank you honey for trusting me and letting me do crazy things!
Cost & Materials
The total cost for the project was around $200. That includes a gallon of primer, two gallons of paint, and about a half gallon for the island. Such a big impact and hardly any cost compared to installing a new kitchen!
Here’s what I used for the project. Don’t skimp on materials! You’ll save your hands and time. Promise.
I also changed out the knobs on the drawers for pulls. I feel like it is more substantial and looks nicer on a drawer!
So how has it worn? Well. I am not a professional, and neither was the process refinishing. And I have three kids four and under. The kitchen takes a beating! Little nicks are easy to touch up with some paint and a little brush. It is quick and worth it to me! How well does a white kitchen stay clean? I would say that white cabinets are no dirtier than any other color, you can just see the mess/dirt a little more. I don’t even mind it because I would rather clean something than have dirt hide! (I’m looking at you, carpet!).
Also, as a side note, I will admit that decor-wise, it is super pared down right now. But that is also the time of year, post Christmas decoration overload, and post January get-all-the-things-out-of-the-house.
If you are interested, here are my future plans for my glorious and beautiful white kitchen:
Install new backsplash
Remove cabinets to the left of the sink and add open shelving
Remove cabinets to the right of the refrigerator and add open shelving
Add pendant lights above island
Replace pendant above sink & over eat-in table
Replace blinds with fun pattern?
Built cabinets up to the ceiling
(and ultimately) Refinish floors
Add chunkier baseboard & crown molding
A girl can dream, right?
Outfit details here:
Also, if you were wondering if I feelcomfortable in front of the camera and rationalize by being awkward and doing weird things, here’s your confirmation:
Do you have any questions about refinishing your cabinets? Any reservations? Please ask below! I would love to help you out and give you the confidence you need to do it.
Also a special thank you to Ashleigh of Ashleigh Laureen Photography for these amazing pictures! Check out her site and say hi (tell her I sent you!). She is beyond talented! She is also so nice and super sweet. We chatted for nearly 45 minutes before we even got to shooting!
Affiliate links used. Thanks for supporting my blog!
There was this one time where I bought my husband a vacuum for Christmas. A vacuum. Now if I explain the backstory behind it, it would make total sense (at least it did for me! He still brings it up in jest. Often.). Before we had kids and had lots of spare time on our hands, Marcus was really into cleaning his car. He would spend hours every weekend meticulously cleaning his car, inside and out. So newly married little me on a teeny little budget thought that getting him a hand vacuum was brilliant. Imagine my surprise when he couldn’t control his laughter on our second Christmas as a married couple! Needless to say that I am a little leery when giving him gifts…
Let’s talk Valentines Day. While I am a huge fan of love and love to celebrate it, there is a part of me that gets anxious about buying a gift for my husband (I mean, you can imagine why…). He has everything he wants, and if he does actually need something, he buys it for himself. Consider this girl stumped. Until. UNTIL. This watch. My man doesn’t collect things, but he does have a nice little collection of watches. So I figured I would add to his collection, this time with wooden watches, which is totally different than anything he has!
Jord contacted me at the perfect time before my Valentine’s Day gift-giving slump hit. Have you seen their watches? They are superior quality wooden watches and some of the coolest designs I’ve seen, and for a great price! They are unique and personal, most of which you can have engraved with your husband’s initials or name, or even a little love note (perfect Valentine’s Day gift, amiright?!). Marcus loves the watch! It is so unique and very light, so a much different feel than any other watch he has. I would say I (finally) got a slam dunk for gift giving this holiday!
Marcus is wearing the Frankie Zebrawood with the Navy face. Sexy, right? If you are interested in this watch you can check it out here!
You can check out their entire collection for men here. They also have a collection for women too! Check it out here. I’m a little sad I don’t have one myself now… Also, side note darling husband if you are reading this: I just noticed they sell an apple watch band. But I suppose I need an apple watch first… 😉
Who wants to win a gift card towards a JORD WATCH?! Obviously that was rhetorical. Anyways, Jord was generous enough to offer up a $100 gift card to one lucky winner! There will be one lucky winner, but all entries will receive a 10% off discount code once the giveaway is over. You can enter by clicking here. It will just take a second, promise! Easy! Contest ends 2/11/18.