Kitchen Refresh – A Little Elbow Grease for My Dream White Kitchen

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!

Before

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?!

After

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:

Young House Love 

Home Talk

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.

Brush

Mini Roller

Foam Roller

Paint tray

Handy Paint Cup (oh my goodness buy these!!)

Paint Key

Behr Alkyd Enamel Paint (Link is for semi-gloss, I got Swiss Coffee in satin)

Zinsser Oil Based Primer 

Hand Sander 

Sanding Paper

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.

Future Plans:

If you are interested, here are my future plans for my glorious and beautiful white kitchen:

Paint walls

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

New appliances

(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!

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A Valentine’s Day Gift He Will Love & GIVEAWAY c/o Jord Wood Watches

The Infamous Story About A Vacuum

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!

Wooden Watches

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… 😉

GIVEAWAY TIME!

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.

Outfit details here:


Luxury Wooden Watch


Pictures by the amazing Bekah Scadding

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Add a Little Sparkle to Your Christmas Outfit

similar sequined shirt / similar pleated skirt / heels / earrings / wreath

Now that Christmas is only a WEEK away (how did that happen?!) I am starting to think about what I am going to wear for Christmas Eve to church and my Christmas outfit. What a better excuse to wear a little sparkle than at Christmastime! Pairing this sequined shirt with a pleated skirt makes for the perfect Christmas outfit. It is such a cute ensemble, plus everything can be remixed into other outfits. Can you tell I like items that have a lot of bang for their buck?! (Remember how I wore this pleated skirt here in the summer?). The silhouette is so flattering and the extra bling for winter is perfect.

My skirt and shirt are old, but I found some really similar options below.

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Organized Chaos AKA Family Pictures 2017

Family pictures with young kids is notoriously challenging. No matter the dynamic, there is some level of stress that is associated with these highly coveted pictures! I wrote a post last year about my best family picture success advice (check it out here!) so I am not writing today to give any advice, merely to share the result of the stress. It may take some preparation, work, or bribery (no judgement!), but it is always, ALWAYS worth it. (Husbands, are you reading this?!).

Now please excuse me while I cry over how perfect these came out and how adorable my kids are! You can shop our outfits if you scroll to the bottom of the post. But before you do, check out the cuteness! I mean, I may be biased but…. I am obsessed. Carry on.

Oh, don’t let me forget this. Help me not to forget the squinty eyed smiles, the insatiable desire to be held or the fierce independence and fearlessness (sometimes both at the same time). Let me never forget the giggles, snuggles, and sound of them calling out to mama. I am so thankful for pictures like this to help me capture this beautiful (and chaotic) phase of life!

Thank you to Bekad Scadding for these amazing pictures! Contact her here if you are local. She works some magic with kids (which if you have kids, you know that is hard to do!).

My Outfit:


dress / boots / similar necklace / similar jean jacket

Marcus’ Outfit:

tee / sport coat / similar jeans / chukka boot

Scarlett’s Outfit:

similar blouse / leggings / boots / bow

Levi’s Outfit:

striped thermal / jersey lined chambray / khakis / boots

Eloise’s Outfit:

peplum tee / similar hooded sweater vest / leggings / similar boots 

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Clothes You Can Wear During & After Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a weird and awesome thing. Your body is creating a human, a perfect combination of you and your partner. But all beauty and magic aside, there are aspects of it that are complicated and just plain uncomfortable . Take dressing, for instance; your body will get bigger. Some bodies more than others. Mine was in the latter category, but that is beside the fact…

Pregnancy seems like a long time in the moment, but the reality is that it doesn’t last long. That beautiful, round belly will be gone before you know it. Not a lot of people (myself included!) want to spend a ton of money on maternity clothes. Not that there is anything wrong with maternity clothes, and I believe that certain pieces should be invested in, but they are expensive and an investment for such a short part of your life. So what is a girl to do?

My friend Shelly (isn’t she adorable!) was talking to me about her frustrations with dressing her bump. She is pregnant with her third little girl in three years and is now 25 weeks along. Not only did she not have a lot that fit/lasted from the other pregnancies, but she didn’t want to spend a ton of money on items that would only be worn for a few more months. So we set out to get shopping! I mean, pull my arm 😉

At first I was super excited at the challenge. And then I admitted defeat. Was it really possible to find these unicorn items? And then Shelly tried on a few things and hope was restored! Check out what we tried on and worked for both pregnancy and after. (All sizing recommendations/shopping links can be found at the bottom of the post).

The Choices

First up was this funnel neck tunic. This had a split side hem, which allows for a little more breathing room for the bump. But when worn when not pregnant, it just has the perfect drape! The material is the softest waffle knit, making it a great option for a winter pregnancy. As the bump grows, you can get away with the front getting slightly shorter just by pairing it with a black camisole underneath.

I really want this for myself! It’s so soft and so comfortable. Super cute with jeans like shown here, but also would be perfect for lounging around the house with leggings #SAHM.

Next up was this adorable ruffle sleeve dress. Shelly picked this up and I wasn’t sure it would work, but I was pleasantly surprised! The material is more of a sweatshirt, making it super cozy. It also has the same split-side hem the tunic had, perfect for a little more body grace.

I need more church options, so this is sitting in my shopping cart! Super cute, but also functional. The material would allow me to chase children but look cute and appropriate while doing it!

This tunic is one I have had for a few years and was the first thing to come to my mind when Shelly talked to me about this subject. It drapes so nicely over the bump! I wore this through almost my entire pregnancy with Eloise. You can see it is longer in the back, but is roomy in all the right places.

So my brain can’t do too many things at the same time and I spaced trying this on in the store. But as you can see, of course I own this top! I wear it with leather leggings for a date, with jeans and a front tuck, and I’ve even worn it all the way tucked in with a high waisted skirt. This top is such a great investment!

This dress I know you’ve seen before so I’m sorry (but really, I’m not sorry because you need to buy it!). The ruching on the side of this dress is so beautiful, and it works so perfectly with the bump! It gives just enough room for a growing bump in the most flattering way.

Don’t be surprised seeing me in this dress. Would you just buy it already? I’ll wait for my thank you card in the mail… 😉 It is just such a versatile dress and so flattering.

Shop & Sizing Info

Click on the picture or on the text link to shop!

<<< zing for pregnancy] funnel neck tunic (size up) / leggings (size down) / ruffle dress (size up) / roll tab tunic (size down)/ ruched dress (size up two)/ cardigan<< ick on the picture or the text link to shop! [pre/post pregnancy sizing]

funnel neck tunic (size up) / destroyed denim (TTS) / booties (TTS) similar booties, in stock / ruffle dress (TTS) / roll tab tunic (size down) / leggings (size down) / ruched dress (size up)

So you see, it is possible! They may not last the entire pregnancy (I’m looking at you, month nine), but they can pull double duty for quite a bit. The key is to finding the right silhouette and the right size, and consider layering simple pieces like tees and leggings with open front cardigans (I LIVED in this through pregnancy!).

Did you have any items that you could wear through pregnancy and after the fact? Which item above was your favorite? Share below!

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