We updated our kitchen! All your questions about our kitchen update will be answered here in this post...
A message: Let me preface this post by saying that I am over-the-top thankful for my collaboration with Cambria USA. They went above and beyond to make this partnership happen, and to provide a stunning kitchen. As many of you know, we are leaving our beloved home (and thus our beautiful kitchen) behind in Dallas due to a job relocation to Washington, DC. The relocation opportunity was presented to us mid-kitchen renovation. This makes me sad for many reasons. Namely because of the craftsmanship that Cambria and I put into this project to make my kitchen dream a reality, however, through the process I am thankful to have been introduced to such a phenomenal brand and I cannot recommend Cambria USA enough.
Countertops: Cambria USA (company), design is called Brittanicca
Backsplash: Cambria USA (company), design is called Brittanicca Block
Fabricator/Installer: Granite + Marble Design Co. (214)356-7018
Farmhouse Sink: Sinkology
Pendant Lights: Goodman Pendants
Why did you update your kitchen?
We bought our home in August 2018. The home was brand new construction, but also known as a spec home. What is a spec home? A spec home is a home that a builder builds more than once in an area. It usually has the same exterior, floor plan, fixtures and finishes with maybe a few minor tweaks from house to house. Builders keep things the same to save on time and money, which differs from a custom build (also new construction), where the buyer is able to custom pick everything in the house - from countertops to flooring to floor plan. Everything.
The great thing about a spec home is that you can (usually) get a better price on the home than you can on a custom build. The bad thing is that certain design choices have already been selected for you. This was the case for our home. We found the house after the builder had finished. Thus, he was in control of the design elements. Not us.
While choosing a spec home takes away the headache of having to choose and deliberate over every last detail, it also means that you might end up with design elements that aren’t your favorite. That was the case for our kitchen. As much as I loved and appreciated our home, I wasn’t head over heels about the kitchen. Was this the end of the world that I didn’t love the speckled gray granite countertops? Not at all. But! Did I always wonder about switching them out? You bet.
I gave myself two years of living in the house to make up my mind about the countertops/kitchen update. At the two year mark, I decided I’d start understanding costs, and began reaching out to countertop experts in the area for bids to see if I wanted to move forward.
After having met with several granite and marble install companies, I had a pretty good understanding about cost. I knew that the countertop and backsplash install would be an investment, but I felt confident that if I used the right products that it would add value to our home in the long run, AND I would LOVE it while living in our home. The kitchen is the heart of the home, is it not?
I didn’t want to use just any material, I needed to understand the cost-benefit analysis between marble verses quartz verses granite, etc. I easily narrowed my choice down to quartz. Quartz is a manmade material. This means it is not porous, like most natural stone products, and doesn’t absorb residue. Quartz is also kid-proof and essentially indestructible. With three boys who like to eat, color and generally make messes, I needed something that looked nice, but could withstand wear and tear.
After I narrowed down the material, I needed to choose a quartz manufacturer. I quickly learned that some quartz products are better than others. What does this mean? Well, it means the “look” and construction of the stone is different in terms of quality depending on who you choose. After doing my research, I learned that Cambria USA was top of the line.
Cambria is the only company that begins with all white and clear quartz. This guarantees that the final product will be consistent with what you see in a showroom. Cambria also uses up to 93% quartz in every slab ensuring a more natural look than most other quartz products. In learning more about the workmanship of their particular product, I was drawn to this excerpt from their website, which eludes to why I chose this particular product. It says, "From cutting to polishing, the stone is slowly transformed. Nowhere is that more evident as when a slab moves through the polishing stage. Like artisans perfecting gemstones, Cambria’s craftspeople soften the grit of the stone with each successive polish, coaxing out the natural luster of the quartz. With every pass, its innate brilliance shines more deeply, revealing a beauty that is not only pleasing to the eye but also—because quartz is one of the hardest minerals on earth—incredibly durable, suited to everyday wear and tear."
Not only that, y'all know that I feel strongly about supporting family-owned businesses and American made products. The company's mission statement was a huge draw for me personally. It states: "Cambria® is American-made by a family-owned company in Minnesota where legendary craftsmanship, hard work, and a relentless commitment to the highest quality are the cornerstones for everything we do. There is no second best. No exception. If it isn’t perfect, it will never carry our name." As such, I felt that Cambria USA hit all the marks.
Choosing a Cambria USA Design
Now that I chose to use Cambria USA quartz, I needed to select a design. I worked with Laura Wendling, a Cambria rep, who has impeccable taste, to help select a design that would compliment my existing kitchen. I had dreamt of a predominantly white kitchen and hoped for a design with some pronounced, yet natural veining that exuded both elegance and style. I wanted to achieve the look of marble without all of the baggage and heartache that goes along with it.
This is when Laura introduced me to a Cambria USA best-seller called Brittanicca. Brittanica offers a creamy marbled background of neutral white that provides a stage on which gray islands and peninsulas meander among intertwining ashen veins dotted with veiled charcoal speckles. Needless to say, I was sold the instant I locked eyes with it in the Cambria showroom.
While I wasn’t considering updating my grey subway tile backsplash, Laura mentioned that Cambria had recently launched a new design called Brittanicca Block that complimented Brittanica. I went back and forth about whether or not I wanted to also update the backsplash (since my subway tile was in perfectly good condition), but ultimately decided to update it, as well, to complete the look. Ultimately, this was a GREAT decision. The use of both Brittanica with the complimentary Brittanica Block transformed my kitchen entirely.
Fabrication + Install
Laura put me in touch with one of the most talented fabricators in the DFW area, Isidro. His company is called Granite and Marble Design Company. Not only is Isidro the nicest and most pleasant man to work with, his craftsmanship is incredible. Why is this important? Well, I decided to do things like include a 2 inch mitered edge, which meant that they’d make the countertop look thicker by adding a border to the existing edge to thicken it by two inches. In doing so, the fabricator must match up the seams of veining or it won’t look right. Izzy is a master at this!
In addition to the mitered edge, Isidro went above and beyond to ensure that the job was done right, including a farmhouse sink install. Everything from demolition to install and caulking to cleanup, I give Granite and Marble Design Company an A+.
Additional Design Elements + Final Thoughts
In addition to the countertops, I decided to add new pendant lights, a farmhouse sink and a new faucet.
The pendant lights you can find here.
The farmhouse sink you can find here.
And the faucet, you can find here.
Overall, I am beyond grateful for this beautiful kitchen. I really do think a kitchen update/renovation is TOTALLY worth it. It not only adds financial value, but also adds emotional value! For me , the kitchen has always been and will always be the heart of the home and creating a space that evokes joy and comfort is what Cambria USA provided. As a family, our kitchen brings family together together in a way that no other part of the home does. It is the space where we congregate in most often, and needs to be an inviting, open, enjoyable, happy place. We created this with Cambria USA.
And for those asking, here is a before and after shot...
This content has been sponsored by Cambria USA.
As a stay-at-home mom, I've had to get creative with how I keep my day organized, productive and joyful. With three boys under the age of six, it can be a challenge. As much as I love my job as a mom and seek to yield the best results, so much of how my kids behave and how our day turns out is outside of my control.
Through this, I've realized that the only thing I CAN control is myself. And I've had to find constants in my life to promote stability and self-care when my days at home with kids can be so crazy. What are these constants? Well, they are self-care practices that I do each day, preferably in the morning, that set my day up for success. Three of the constants I practice each morning include making the beds, working out and getting myself ready for the day. If I can do all three of these things, I consider my day a success. There is also a fourth item I practice all throughout the day. This is the use of Young Living Essential Oils.
My Introduction to Essential Oils
Before I became a mom, I had dabbled in the world of essential oils. I used lavender nightly to help with sleep, and found that it helped significantly. Then, when I became pregnant, I used both peppermint and citrus essential oils to help alleviate morning sickness. Again, I was surprised that the essential oils worked wonders. Because of my success, I decided to look further and understand the history and meaning behind the oils, and also research the differences between certain brands.
What Are Essential Oils?
As found on the Young Living website, "Essential oils are aromatic, concentrated plant extracts that are carefully obtained through steam distillation, cold pressing, or resin tapping." There are essential oils, blends, and oil-infused products with the optimal levels of specific, naturally occurring essential oil constituents to maximize their potency. Essential oils have the ability to:
Why Young Living?
I was introduced to Young Living Essential Oils, and quickly learned more about what differentiates the brand. Not only has Young Living been the leader and first mover in the industry, but they also promote the highest grade essential oils.
Young living provides: "Non-negotiable benchmarks for delivering a product that our customers can feel great about are multifaceted and exacting. We’re proud to offer an extensive line of essential oils and essential oil-infused, plant-based products that represent the best of nature—through the standards of our Seed to Seal program.
Young Living embraces a rigorous quality control standard to help ensure our products meet strict specifications. Seed to Seal is our set of standards that helps ensure that with every pure essential oil and Young Living product your family uses, you’re enjoying the benefits of our global resources, industry leadership, and over two decades of innovation. The result? A pristine final product that you know has been created with conscientious Sourcing, Science, and Standards—the three pillars of Seed to Seal.
As the leader of the essential oils movement, Young Living is paving the way for every other essential oil company to improve processes that protect our planet and ensure the highest quality standards."
Young Living has proven that they are top-of-the-line when it comes to quality and standards. Additionally, I love the variety of products they offer. Everything from laundry detergent to hand soap to lip gloss to baby wipes to roll-on oils, Young Living has it all. For the essential oil junkie or the mom dabbling in oils, your needs will be met with Young Living.
While I have many favorite Young Living products, I wanted to share my go-to favorites, especially for those just starting out. These are great for moms dabbling in the beginning stages of using essential oils.
First, I highly recommend the Aria Ultrasonic Diffuser. A diffuser is a device that breaks down essential oils into smaller molecules, dispersing them into the air for a pleasant or calming effect—depending on the oil that is used in the diffuser.
Using a diffuser is a low maintenance way of providing self-care throughout your day, while permeating wellness inside of your home and transforming your space into a tranquil abode! Again, diffusing certain oils (and I will tell you which are my favorites) will help evoke a certain mindset.
If you're a mom and are anything like me, sometimes you need to be inspired. Other times, you need energy. Other times, you need to be calmed. Using a diffuser partnered with the use of essential oils is a quick way to get myself into a certain mindset that I may not be able to get into on my own.
Not only is a diffuser great at getting you into a good state of mind, but the particular Aria diffuser also acts as piece of jewelry in my home. It is made with natural wood with a delicate glass top. People compliment it all of the time! Simultaneously and possibly my favorite aspect, is the calming sounds that the device plays (at your selection) while turned on. Or, if you want personalized sounds, you can plug your device into the diffuser and play your own beats.
Favorite YL Mixes
The great thing about using a diffuser is that you can mix and match different oils to fit your particular vibe or to evoke a certain mindset. Young Living recommends using five to twenty-five drops, but starting with five and then working your way up as you get used to using the oils.
A great way to start (and how I started) using oils is the use a scent you already love! That way you won't be overwhelmed by a new smell and your brain will associate the familiarity. For instance, I love the citrus smell, so I began using citrus throughout the day. Also, the Starter Kit is an absolute must. It is a great introduction to some of the best-selling essential oils. For moms on the go, I recommend the roll-ons. I keep them in my purse, in my makeup drawers and travel with them for an added pick-me-up throughout the day.
Back to using the at-home diffuser. After you get the hand of using your diffuser with one scent, Young Living recommends going to the next step: pairing two scents. Just like anything, think of scents that will pair nicely together as wine might pair nicely with food. What scent compliments the other? As a basic starting point, YL recommends beginning with these classic pairings:
Below is an infographic from Young Living that might help you begin to pair and compliment essential oils...
Here is another infographic that shares some great recipes...
The great thing about essential oils is that your kids will also get the benefits! Is your little one feel restless? Try a calming recipe. Is your little one distracted? Use the focus recipe. Is your little one feeling scared? Try the courage recipe. When using essential oils around your children please follow Young Living's recommendation here:
Question: Can essential oils be used on children?
Answer: Many essential oils are appropriate for use on children but should be diluted with a carrier oil prior to use. Some Young Living products come prediluted with carrier oil, as indicated on product labels, and are intended for direct application on children. You can dilute 1–2 drops of essential oil such as SleepyIze™, RutaVaLa™, Gentle Baby™, and Peace & Calming® with a carrier oil and apply to the bottoms of the feet.
There you have it! The possibilities are endless with essential oils, and especially with Young Living Essential. As I mentioned, Young Living carries everything from baby wipes to laundry detergent to makeup. The sky is the limit!
I believe that mothers need tools up their sleeve to be able to bust out in times of need. Essential oils are one of my favorite tools that help ensure a successful day!
This content was sponsored by Young Living.