I had been reading up on a couple of blogs regarding the staining process and tried to follow them closely. The blog Monica Wants It (http://www.monicawantsit.com/2012/02/staining-oak-cabinets-espresso-color.html) was the main source of information for this undertaking.
I'll just give you an update and a couple of tips of the job so far and will later go back to write a post about the whole experience once we're done (and when it hopefully turns out well!).
First off, I found the coveted General Finishes Java Gel Stain. You can order it from Amazon or if you're in the Greenville area Uncle Jake's or Woodcrafts carries it (I would call first though just to check as this type of stain has taken off!). Even though it says gel stain, I still figured it would be liquid and overestimated how much we would need. It is seriously gel and you need way way less than you think. We are about to embark on coat 3 and we've barely dented the 1/2 pint.
With all that work, we decided to have a low key Sunday evening and figured a little seasonal fun was in store. We found a post online about the best Christmas Light houses in the Upstate and wanted to give it a shot.
Most of the houses had lights synced to music for a true light show.