Self Care, Java Cabinets & Fall Vibes


I really have zero excuses for my one month blogging hiatus. While my blog has been on my mind and I hated taking the time away, I needed time to adjust to a variety of changes that are going on in my life right now. With a new career, major family transition and just my overall health- I felt the need to hyper focus on my new reality, myself and my family. Looking back on the last year, I am constantly shocked at where things are now, the progression of my family and simply how I feel. I am so grateful for all of the amazing transitions in my life right now- I am so blessed with my life and my goal is to stay mindful in that blessing all the time.

During my one month blogging vacation- my husband and I took on a major ( well major to us) kitchen refresh that I am currently obsessed with. As I have mentioned before, our new home was on major beige overload. EVERYTHING was beige- the flooring, the countertops, the carpet (which I HATE) and all of the walls. While we have taken a major step in painting almost every room, the kitchen was by far the most underwhelming room in the house. The flooring matched the faux vinyl countertops and there was no backslash whatsoever. The size of the kitchen is large and all of the beige made the space feel very dark and dated compared to the rest of the house.

The first step we took on in our kitchen refresh was tackling the honey beige cabinets. To update the cabinets, we decided to use General Finishes Gel Stain in the color Java. This product is super popular in the blogging world because of its ease in application and dark finish. The thing that attracted me most to using the Java gel stain was the lack of prep required to do it. Unlike cabinet painting (which we have taken on before), the General Finishes stain requires ZERO PREP WORK- yes, zero. Forget having to pull a muscle sanding and priming before painting- the gel stain just requires a good cleaning of the surface with basic soap and water which is a total WIN. When you first use this product, you WILL be scared. You WILL feel like you made a major mistake because it looks like crap upon first application. The first several coats are so streaky and ugly and it takes a minute to find an application method that will work best for you.

We decided that applying the first 3 coats with a foam brush ( the kind you get for like $1.99) worked the best. Unlike traditional wood stain, the java gel stain is more like a paint because you do not wipe off your finish after each coat. Since it is similar to a paint, thin, even coats of the stain give the best finish even though it takes forever to dry.

When applying the stain, it is crucial that you allow for ample drying time in between coats, at least 24-48 hours each. Yes, that means that your kitchen will look crazy for awhile. You will start to feel crazy looking at an unfinished kitchen and the entire project will feel like it takes forever. For our kitchen cabinets, it look 4 coats of the stain to really cover the old finish. By the 3rd coat, I felt like the clouds had started to lift and I was excited to see the end result of the space. After everything was dry ( we worked in sections), we reapplied our old hardware until we could decide on new hardware that we liked. In total, painting the cabinets took over a month.

In all, I think the General Finishes Java Gel Stain product is amazing. It is self leveling and requires little to no skill in application. Our entire kitchen took only 1 quart of the stain and at only $35 bucks, it is a very cost effective way to give your kitchen a whole new look. Keeping it all the way real, updating your kitchen cabinets is NOT EASY whatsoever. It is very time consuming and labor intensive and will make you feel like pulling your hair out most of the time. Despite the labor and time, the difference of staining your cabinets is amazing. Our kitchen instantly looks way more updated and modern- not at all dated and dark like it was before.

After our cabinets were done, we tackled several other kitchen updates that I will blog about soon. What can we say, we were inspired. Updating the kitchen gave the lower level of our home a whole new look and made me feel instantly inspired to see how all of the other updates would come together. One thing I will say about this house, or any home in general is that you are NEVER DONE with updates. There is always something new to update, DIY or simply refresh. I love the never ending projects and more importantly, I love seeing the progress. I mean, we have only been here since June and the progress since then has been amazing.

With the cooler fall weather now upon us in Georgia, cuddling up in our family room space and making large meals in the kitchen gives me a feeling of home and comfort. Slowly, I am enjoying watching our home come together in a way that really represents our life and personal style. It is crazy to believe that when we moved here in June- we didn't even have a couch to sit on. The work that we have completed in this house is substantial and my favorite part is we have done it not only together, but on a budget as well.

Until Next Time Loves!

~Nikki

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