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!
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.
I get asked all the time is how I can get everyone ready and out of the house on time in the morning. Mornings can be a cluster when you have kids ifyouknowwhatImean. Three days a week Scarlett has to be at school for 8:30, so that means we all need to be out of the house by 8:15 (because every mom knows it takes almost 10 minutes to get on shoes and coats and load into the car, amiright?!). I am not perfect, but one thing I can’t stand is being late. I try my best to get ready and out of the house on time and hopefully have everyone out of pajamas! Actually, some days it’s just leggings for me, but that’s #momlife. Here’s my six tips for a smooth and successful morning! (Scroll to the bottom for outfit details!)
Secrets to Success:
Wake up way before kids
If you’ve followed along here for any time (or follow my instastories), you’ve noticed I wake up really early. Like way earlier than you think necessary. But, this is my number one secret to success. I get the things I need to get done for the day that are more difficult to do when the kids are awake. That includes waking up in general (I need a few minutes of quiet or I wake up like a bear…), coffee (see next point), devotional, exercise, and shower. Usually, but not always, in that order. (I can go into more detail about how I wake up so early another time, so if early waking isn’t for you, continue on to the next tips!)
To make it to school on time and fit in all those things, currently I wake up at 5:00 am. I know. Right now I am between Bible studies, but when I start my new one I will start waking up at 4:45. I get right up and start my day off right! Then once the kids start to wake up, I am in control of the day instead of the day controlling me. So, think of a time you’d like to wake up. Now wake up 3o minutes earlier than that. It will take time, but you’ll get into the habit!
Have coffee programmed
We invested in a grind and brew coffee system when our old Keurig died a couple years ago. It has a setting where I can prepare and program the coffee the night before and this has become a huge time saver! Instead of me preparing the coffee machine when I go downstairs and then waiting for it to brew, I walk down to a fresh cup waiting for me. Otherwise I would be waiting another 20 minutes by the time I prepared the coffee maker and waited for it to brew! If you aren’t a coffee drinker or have an instant coffee system, then you can ignore this one. But the difference in coffee is crazy!
Downstairs hair station
Hair is a big issue in our house. Scarlett has very snarly hair and it is super sensitive, so every morning it is a bit of a project. Instead of having to run upstairs with Scarlett (& now Levi too, he loves to have his hair done like daddy!), I have a little station in our powder bath downstairs. It is right outside the kitchen so I will either do their hair while they eat, or after they are done and dressed. It saves the hassle of rounding up the kids and going up a floor! (Believe it or not, a big time savings!). I keep everyday hair supplies down there in a drawer like a hairbrush, clear elastics, and hair gel. Her daily hairstyle is a small portion in front pinned back with a bow. We pick out a bow the night before with her outfit. Which brings me to my next point…
Set out outfits & pack lunch the night before
Part of our nighttime routine on school nights is picking out the next day’s clothes and setting them out. It also gives us a chance to talk about weather, appropriate layers, and styles for the activity of the next day. Scarlett loves to dress herself and is surprisingly interested in different sillhouettes and what pieces go with what. She’s totally my daughter 😉 Most mornings Scarlett will bring her outfit downstairs and she will put it on after breakfast. Picking it out the night before relieves me of having to have the conversation in the morning where time is so valuable!
Since Scarlett does lunch bunch at school, I also pack her lunchbox the night before. I can take my time and make a well-balanced meal for her when I am not rushed! I have forgotten to pack it at night and then had to make it the morning of, and let’s just say it wasn’t my best work… I leave her lunchbox insulator on the island counter so I remember to take it out of the fridge in the morning and put it in her backpack.
Need-to before want-to
Efficiency is key in the morning. We do all the things we “need” to do before we can do the things we “want” to do. That means we have to eat breakfast, clean up, get dressed, and be ready for the day before we can play! I try and hold myself to the same standard, although I have been slacking lately. That should mean no social media checks for me until I have crossed my need-to items off my list! As a reward I will let the kids watch a show once everyone is all ready. This also helps build teamwork skills to assist in getting each other ready for the day! Most mornings the kids will watch an episode of something in the morning if they get ready efficiently. I usually finish getting myself ready (hair/makeup) during this time.
This one is a weird one, I’ll be honest. But it works for me! I use Plackers and floss on the way to school. Normally I may skip flossing because it takes time and we are rushing to get out of the door. If I do it while driving to school it maximizes my time! There’s nothing like a healthy habit that saves a little time. Also if you haven’t used Plackers, you need to try them! I haven’t had success with other brands, so stick with these (no, not sponsored!) They work so well and you can do it with one hand. Bonus points because I have a small mouth and it is easier for me!
Are you still searching for last minute gifts for Christmas? I’ve rounded up a bunch of items for your hubby, kids, or even for your wife or girl in your life that are guaranteed to make it to your doorstep before Christmas! But quick, don’t wait any longer! You’ll need a few minutes to wrap 😉 Nearly everything on this list is under $50, and most under $20! I am actually really excited about these gift roundups. Most of these we either have or I bought this year (or I am saving the idea for my next excuse to buy a present!). Scroll down to see my picks. I have included links for easy shopping!
My oldest daughter is OBSESSED with horses (no surprise there!). This is such a cute little stable that she asked for, even though she already has one. This stable is so cute and also includes four horses. It is a great alternative to a dollhouse and a really good price!
The only way I can get ready in the morning is having my girls “get ready” with me. This cosmetic set is so perfect because they feel like they are actually doing their makeup, just without the mess!
What child doesn’t love superheros? This superhero book looks absolutely adorable. I love books or toys that encourage creative thinking and building up confidence!
This tool set is perfect for boys or girls. Screw stereotypes, all my kids play with our tool set! They love to build things and will pretend play with this foreverrrr.
My kids saw this bouncy horse at the mall one trip and they could NOT stop playing with it! They are very durable and bonus for parents, encourage active play (and tired babies!).
Do your kids love bathtime? Whether or not they do, these bath crayons are a great invention. It lets them make a controlled mess that is easily cleaned up! If your kids aren’t a fan of the bath, these will encourage some fun playtime during it!
My friend introduced me to these doodle pads and her children love them! And so did mine… they tried to steal theirs they loved them so much! Going on a car trip or airplane? These will keep them occupied forever!
These Magformers are a gift that they won’t get bored of. Let your child’s imagination run wild and build all sorts of cool things! These have amazing reviews too.
These busy books were actually something we bought for a friend on a whim for her birthday years ago and they were such a hit! Plus, they come in all sorts of themes for any show or character you could think of.
What mom wouldn’t love a pair of classic earrings? This price is amazing for Kate Spade too!
This jewelry cleaner is one of those gifts she wouldn’t think to buy herself, but will love it! It is so useful and can be used to clean more than just jewelry too.
Even though I live in New England, I don’t have a great pair of gloves. These touch screen gloves would be a great gift and bonus, you can still use your devices with them on!
It is no surprise that I am a huge hat wearer (I’m looking at you, 5 day hair and 10 degrees outside!). This beanie is adorable and is fleece lined!
I don’t have a tumbler that I really love. This tumbler would be perfect for me! It works for hot or cold.
This jewelry organizer is another item that will blow her mind! It is so pretty but so functional.
This tile mate is more of a gift for anyone in your life in general. Do you know someone who loses their keys a lot? Or even their phone? This tile mate is a little device you attach to whatever item you lose and it helps you find it! Lose your phone and it’s on silent? It will make your phone ring for you so you can find it fast!
My absolute favorite candle scent is macintosh apple. It is just so fresh! Shopping for someone difficult? A candle is a safe gift you know she will love!
My love for Amazon runs deep. I have three of these Echo products in our house! These dots are so great to place all over your house so you are always connected to your music and lists or whatever you need! Need to set a timer for a time out? Speak to your dot and she will do it for you!
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