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Social media can feel downright overwhelming to any small business owner. The sheer number of social media networks that one small business owner must manage, as well as understand, can make one's head spin. The natural reaction is to outsource it. Sometimes outsourcing is the right answer, but most small businesses just getting started simply do not have the monies to go this route. As a sidenote, I have a very affordable social media consulting month-to-month service here. We are going to{for lack of a better word} dumb it down. No technical flashy words, just business.

1.) Set-up. Setting up your social media accounts is the most crucial part. This is your foundation....make it count. Go through every tab and every setting. Fill out all the information about your business, profile photo, and company URL. Fill it out completely. Like Santa's list, make sure you check it twice.

2.) Set-up Part Deux. Every social media from Twitter to Instagram allows you to cross-connect one to the other. Do it. For instance, when you go to post your photos to Instagram you have the option to post to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Four for one. This cross-connection between the social media networks saves valuable time and energy. That being said, try to avoid linking Twitter to Facebook. Nothing will annoy your friends and family more than getting every single one of your tweets. Thank me later.

3.) When do you post? When you have something interesting to say:) You will get to the point where you are saying, "I have to Instagram this"! Practice makes perfect.

4.) Instagram. Speaking of Instagram, it is my new favorite social media. You connect with your audience through a photo and a quick attention-grabbing sentence describing your photo. Follow with some relevant #hashtags. Your followers{potential customers} have the opportunity to interact with you and you have the opportunity to gain a new customer by interacting back. Talk to people. Spend your time here. I wrote a Instagram post specifically for small business owners here.

5.) Facebook. Facebook is still a necessity, but I hate it. I find it a chore. I try to stay away from the salesman pitches and simply talk to the people. Ask people questions like, "What's for dinner"? Stay on current events or hot topics and away from your 50% off sales pitch. Be genuine.

6.) Twitter. Love Twitter! The best way to gain new followers is to have fun. Follow people who follow you. Interact by retweeting content that coincides with your niche or Brand. I very seldom create a tweet on twitter, because I have my Facebook page connected to Twitter{see #2}. I also have my Instagram account connected to Twitter and if I choose will post my photos throughout the day. Make sure your Instagram photo has a captivating comment or your will be tweeting a link and no one is clicking on that!

7.) Pinterest. Pin relevant content from your brand and others in the evening before you go to bed. Keep your boards clean with fresh content daily. Create boards surrounding your products without making it too obvious;)

8.) Communicate. Interact with relevant brands and people that are in line with your brand's culture{Psst...your customers}.

9.) Share. Do for someone and they will do for you. Share and share some more, especially if it is relevant to your brand and something your followers will find useful.

10.) Google +. Everyone checks their e-mail. Use your time wisely. While I am checking my e-mail I am also adding people to my circles. In Gmail you can hoover over a contacts name and add your contact to the appropriate circle. Share your business blog posts in Google+ and be sure to add appropriate clickable #hashtags.

You CAN do this. It is about spending your time wisely. Best of Luck!
Fresh. Brightening, exfoliating, and moisturizing. The Avocado Sea Salt face & body scrub is everything your skin needs no matter what your skin type. I have a deep rooted passion for all-natural beauty products. I have incurred the wrath of some DIY beauty treatments via the interwebs that have left honey stuck in my hair for weeks and cinnamon burning my various orifices{I don't wanna talk about it}. The inspiration for this scrub came from LUSH's Ocean Salt scrub. The concoction is straight from my brain. I wanted to capture a scent reminiscent of the beach. I miss it madly. The dregs of February have me longing more than ever! Well, I won't keep you waiting then. Let's DO it!

What you will need:
Recipe will fill 1 pint Ball Jar

Large Ripe Avocado
1/3 to 1/2 cup Coconut Water
1 to 2 cups Sea Salt{personal preference}
6 heaping tablespoons of Organic Coconut Oil
2 Lemons squeezed
2 Limes squeezed
5 drops of Organic Orange Essential Oil
Hand mixer or food processor
*Safety tip* Essential oils do not dilute in water you must have a carrier oil. Go here for more info.

Step 1.} Whip your ripe avocado and coconut oil together until well combined.
Step 2.} Add your lemons and limes. Continue whipping.
Step 3.} Alternate your coconut water with whipping. You want to a smooth mixture when you are finished. Step 4.} Gently hand stir in your orange essential oil and sea salts until just combined.
Step 5.} Place into a tightly sealed ball jar and keep in the refrigerator between use.

You are done and ready to use your fresh avocado salt scrub. Use daily or once a week. Avoid getting water into your mixture as it introduces bacteria. After a month, make yourself a fresh batch. Enjoy mother nature working her magic!
Fluster Buster
SHOP Annie Sloan vs. SHOP van Gogh

Before I begin, let me just say Annie Sloan and I are connected for life. My walls, shed, and many pieces of painted furniture are coated in her glorious color palettes! That being said, my Eco-friendly heart cringes every time I use Annie Sloan's soft clear wax. The wax has noxious fumes and if you accidentally get it on your skin it is very irritating. Not very Eco-friendly. Of course, I am merely reporting my personal experiences. I have been looking for more Eco-friendly chalk paint alternatives to Annie Sloan and that's when I found van Gogh!

I have been looking at van Gogh chalk paint for awhile now. The natural furniture wax is sooo natural you can manicure your fingers with it and if you felt inclined edible too! My Google research turned up barren when looking for more van Gogh vs. Annie Sloan comparisons. So, I decided to do a little research of my own. This is not a sponsored post and you are getting my true and unbiased opinion. I have way more experience with Annie Sloan's system, which will surely come through in this post.

                     Annie Sloan VS. Van Gogh Chalk Paint

1.} Where are you from? Annie Sloan is from Europe. van Gogh is Canadian.

2.} Opening the can. Annie Sloan's chalk paint is 99.9% spot on and ready to paint when you first open the can{no stirring required}. van Gogh chalk paint requires vigorous stirring.

3.} Clear wax difference. Annie Sloan's clear wax requires gloves and proper ventilation. Made from high grade mineral spirits. The wax is very soft{margarine consistency}. I find I go through it quickly. I feel because it is so soft that it is easy to over wax your pieces and for a beginner accidentally ruin your piece from over waxing. You can buff your piece as you apply the wax. Less is more.

van Gogh's natural wax is a refreshing change of pace. I waxed my first piece and it smells delicious! I did not fret over my boys leaning on the table afterwards or accidentally getting some on their skin. It worked great and because the wax is stiffer it stretches much further than Annie Sloan's.

Obviously, it is best to use any chalk paint system as a system, but curious minds want to know. I am waxing a few of my Annie Sloan pieces with van Gogh's natural clear wax and do you know what? It works just fine. No problems thus far. I will keep you updated on my research.

4.) Color palette. Annie Sloan's color palette is the stuff of dreams. Classic colors that are fresh and co-mingle effortlessly with one another. Obviously, I am in love. van Gogh's palette is bolder and feels tacky at times. I do believe the bolder colors will look awesome in the play rooms. I am going to give it a whirl!

"...And then one note about the color palette- it's vibrant because Kathy says you can always make a vibrant color more pastel but never make a pastel color more vibrant. Have you tried mixing colors? It's very easy and the colors of Van Gogh were specifically chosen for color mixing. You can make just about any color you want with our palette. " -Scottie Vosburgh at Saved by Scottie

5.) Paint. Both are water based. They both apply nearly the same. van Gogh's seems a tad more thick. After drying, van Gogh's dries matte with a velvety feel and has great coverage. Annie Sloan dries matte as well, but feels more Organic. You can see and feel the ridges of your piece a bit more.

5.) Where are you from? Annie Sloan is from Europe. van Gogh is Canadian.

6.) Can you paint the walls and floor? Annie Sloan, absolutely. You can paint anything. van Gogh makes it clear on the can that it is primarily for furniture use. van Gogh looks very velvety on the walls and I am going to seal it with the wax as well.

"You "can" use our paint on walls, it's just not recommended because latex does a good job as a wall paint and you have to seal it- because it is absorbent and will show the oils from hands etc... Much sooner and easier than latex." -Scottie Vosburgh at Saved by Scottie

7.) Thinning the chalk paint with water. Annie Sloan, yes...yes you can. Thin down Annie Sloan as much as you want. If you thin it down too much just let it sit to thicken up. van Gogh says it discourages thinning the chalk paint more than 10%. I thinned it a tad during use and it needed it. If you thin van Gogh more than the recommended 10% it is a mess. The paint will go everywhere but on the surface you are trying to paint.

8.) Prepping the area. My friend Nikki of Nikki Lynn Jewelry, brought up a good point. Do you need to prep the area first? No. The answer is the same for both Annie Sloan and van Gogh. You want to start with a clean and dry surface, but other than that paint over everything! No prep necessary.

9.) Do you need to wax your piece. Annie Sloan no. van Gogh yes. I noticed van Gogh wipes off very easily with just a little water. You will want to wax your van Gogh furniture. Annie Sloan's chalk paint will stay put when dry and would require vigorous scrubbing to get even some of it off your piece.

10.) Can I use it outside? Annie Sloan absolutely. 12 to 24 hour cure time and you are good to go. I have painted my shed here and my outdoor enamel table here. DO NOT wax your outdoor pieces. Water will get underneath your paint and flake it right off. I will be posting updated photos of their winter survival and you would be shocked! It still looks really good and our winter here in Northern Virginia has been terrible!

"You absolutely can use it{van Gogh} outside, just let it cure for 48 hrs first. You don't have to wax it- and it'll be super soft to the touch." - Scottie Vosburgh at Saved by Scottie

This is just the beginning of my Annie Sloan vs. van Gogh exploration! Please leave your questions below and I will try my best to answer them for you! I will add it to the collection of questions above, because if you have a question someone else does too! Thanks for stopping by and Happy Refreshing XO.


 *I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Jimmy Dean. This could include Jimmy Dean providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.


SHOP Jimmy Dean<3>>>Like'm on FACEBOOK



Meat lovers Corn Chowder Soup Recipe
Feeds a family of 4 to 6 plus delicious leftovers
Prep Time: 20 min. Cook on low 4 to 6 hrs

1 to 2 cups Jimmy Dean Sausage Crumbles in original style
4 cans of cream corn
3 cups of whole milk
4 to 6 medium sized white potatoes
1/2 pound of thick-sliced bacon
1 medium sized onion
2 cloves of garlic
Pinch of Paprika, Salt, & Lots of Pepper








There is something about sausage that drives my meaty heart wild! The good folks at Jimmy Dean have given me the opportunity to create a creative dish using their NEW sausage crumbles. The Jimmy Dean sausage crumbles offer busy folks like you and me a convenient way to incorporate sausage into our culinary creations. The sausage crumbles are fully cooked, so you really just have to heat it up and you are ready to eat!

After much deliberation, I decided to use Jimmy Dean's sausage crumbles to put a creative twist on my mum-in-laws classic southern corn chowder soup by transforming it into a meat lovers meal! The weather is still pretty freezy and this is a hearty dish that will warm you right up. First, chop your thick sliced bacon into medium sized chunks and place into your skillet on med-high heat. Cook{or render} the bacon down. Second, chop your medium-sized onion into medium-sized chunks and place into the skillet. Third, wash and chop your potatoes into medium-sized chunks. By the time your potatoes hit the skillet, the bacon fat will have rendered down and your onions caramelized. The goal is to lightly brown the outsides of the potatoes. The slow cooking will take care of tenderizing the potatoes.

Grab a large pot and put the bacon, potato, and onion mix inside. Add the four cans of cream corn, milk, and seasonings. Last{but certainly not least} mix in your Jimmy Dean Sausage Crumbles! 1 cup for a mild sausage flavor to 2 cups for a strong sausage flavor. Cook 4 to 6 hours. Stirring occasionally. Keep on lowest heat setting. *The milk will scorch if allowed to get too hot with infrequent stirrings. The test of a good dish is going back for seconds, which my husband did. Enjoy!

Fluster Buster


SHOP Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Your home is your creation, your labor, and your love. Enjoy it.~Heather P.

My favorite Annie Sloan Chalk paint colors have been{without a doubt} Arles, Napoleonic Blue, and Coco. I have always maintained when you are using Annie Sloan Chalk paint you must work with your piece. Play to the strengths of the piece you are working on. If you are feeling frustrated with a color or technique you are employing just STOP. Take a step back and re-evaluate. The whole process should feel Organic and natural. You should love the colors you picked from the moment the first brush stoke hits your piece. If not, why waste your time? Okay, enough soap box action...stepping down:)

The centerpiece coffee table painted completely in Arles was calling to me. Paint me. The lines of the top of the coffee table are very demarcated. Fashion was really my inspiration for painting this piece. Do you know the term color-blocking? Color-blocking is very popular with the fashion industry right now. You take contrasting very demarcated prints or colors and piece them right next to one another. It is very visually stunning and that is what I aimed to do with my coffee table. The coffee table is my central piece in the family room. I brought in the surrounding colors: Coco{the color of my wall trim} and Napoleonic Blue{The color of the surrounding kitchen cabinets and fireplace}.

For me, the results are stunning! I rubbed clear wax on the coffee table and buffed to a shine. I love it. The rest of the room is a work in progress, but I plan to paint the walls with Old White and the trim in Coco. My plan for the whole house is to hide dirt on the walls. I clean, but I also live with three boys. You can understand my strategy now I am sure:) I will keep you posted on my family room progress, because I have sooooo much more planned! Please leave your questions below! I know you have some. XO
Valentine's Day is tomorrow. The hubby and I are opting for the stay date! Good thing, because our only other option is sledding to the local wine bar! We are expecting more from the snowpocalypse tonight. I am definitely ready to move to Miami. During the day today, The boys and I galloped through the snow and I made my hubby special V-day cupcakes. Tomorrow, the hubs is preparing a Valentine's Day feast! He knows that I love fettuccine alfredo, but I never make it{for obvious fattening reasons:}. My toddlers and I eventually exhausted ourselves in the snow and got bored. That is when the play dough usually comes out.

The play dough is normally a mixed up mess of psychedelic colors combined with a few strands of German Shepherd hair. In light of V-day, we wanted to create hearts! Then somewhere in my crazy mind I thought to bake these little hearts and hang them on my wall. Then, I also got the bright idea to do a LOVE theme for the entire kitchen nook. My hot glue gun and I went crazy creating stick frames. I framed some V-day art my boys painted as well as a family photo. The whole area looks lovely, but the crab art is sticking out like a sore thumb. Ah well, you can't win them all!

Basic Salt Dough Recipe from busybeekidscrafts.com 
1 cup salt 
2 cups all purpose flour 
1 cup luke warm water

For more information on how to make the stick frames go to my DIY post here. If you do not have play dough handy follow the basic salt dough recipe above. Mix all the ingredients together and add your favorite food coloring to color the dough. Bake at 200 F until dry.

Happy Valentine's Day to my loves!


*Emily sent me her lovely Tea Dress in exchange for this post. All words are mine.
SHOP Whiskey Dog Wares<<>>Find them on INSTAGRAM<<<>>>Like'm on FACEBOOK

Whiskey Dog Wares sounds like your rowdy, local hang out spot. Close, but no cigar. Whiskey Dog Wares is an eclectic Eco Fashion clothing boutique run by designer Emily Miller. Emily is like the best friend you wish you had;-) She is pure awesomeness! Speaking of awesomeness, Whiskey Dog Wares is your Eco fashion refueling station for the upcoming Spring and Summer months. Watch out warm weather, Whiskey Dog Wares is bringing the heat{solar powered, of course}.


Emily generously sent me her gorgeous Tea Dress to review for all of you. Occasionally, I am at a real loss of words. The Whisky Dog Wares Tea Dress is that freakin' good. First, it fits like a glove. No need for a bra, but you can wear one if you want without it showing in the back. Second, the dress is so full. I really feel like Cinderella without all the fru fru colors. Third, the modal cotton used to create this dress is unbelievably comfortable. No bra needed, sexy, and comfortable? This hits all the YES marks for me. I have already spied with my little eye on another Whiskey Dog Wares piece that I am just MEOWING for:)

I can already see myself wearing these kitty cat printed bottoms! They are in the high waist style and very flattering to that tummy. After two children, my 20-year old belly is officially gone...so high waist it is:) I am hard pressed to say when I have seen a cuter piece of clothing. These cat printed bottoms can be ordered as shorts or swim bottoms! Good luck choosing just one Whiskey Dog Wares piece you love, because one of you lucky cats is going to win a single piece of your choice! That's right! Any one piece of your choosing....EEEEgads, that is insane right?

A BIG Bear-HUG Thank You!!!!
Thank you to Blaire Elizabeth of Second Ave Photography in Northern Virginia for the amazing photography. Please visit her page on Facebook and give her a well deserved thumbs up for her amazing work:)

What's the deal pussy cat? Enter the Whiskey Dog Wares Giveaway now!!!!
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SHOP Vietto<<>>BLOG Vietto<<<>>>Lik'em on FACEBOOK

Vietto is one of my great Eco fashion loves. I am already planning out my 2014 Spring wardrobe based on their latest designs! My Vietto love affair started back in 2012 with the slouchy, Turban beanie. I wore this versatile and oh-so comfortable Eco-cotton Turban beanie until the black faded....then I lost it{spawning a total mass destruction of my bungalow to try and locate it}. It was my most coveted fashion accessory*Que the violins*:) Ahem, Let me introduce to you Minna Kaartinen. She is the incredibly talented Eco designer of Vietto located in Helsinki, Finland. Thankfully, Minna has created a lighter version of the Turban beanie. Please welcome the Turban headband.

{Tea Dress by Whisky Dog Wares, Bangles by Amy Waltz Jewelry, Turban Headband by Vietto}

The Turban headband is made of Finnish black merino wool fabric. "Wool" is slightly misleading. It is far from the itchy wool fabric we come to think of here in the US. The fabric is very soft, stretchy, and tremendously comfortable. The leather accent in the front is courtesy of existing leather materials{upcycled leather}. The Turban headband is mending my broken heart from the loss of its cousin. The Turban headband is very versatile and perfect for the cooler temps. The leather accent gives the headband an edgy feel. The intro Vietto model rocks the Turban headband perfectly in all black. I tend to think women who wear all black lead tremendously exciting lives.

Turban headband aside, Vietto has a 2014 line-up that will leave you squealing with delight! I am absolutely longing for the black Eco cotton full skirt and you could never go wrong with Vietto's classic Triangle Fringe scarf. The scarf is hand knitted using tricot yarn. Tricot yarn is left over materials from the textile industry and therefore 100% Eco friendly. Good luck trying to narrow down your favorite Vietto designs.

A BIG Bear-HUG Thank You!!!!
Thank you to Blaire Elizabeth of Second Ave Photography in Northern Virginia for the amazing photography. Please visit her page on Facebook and give her a well deserved thumbs up for her amazing work:)

Vietto how do I love thee let me count the ways 3, 2, 1.....GIVEAWAY! a Rafflecopter giveaway
SHOP Olivvi<<<>>>ABOUT Olivvi<<>>Like'em on FACEBOOK<<>>INSTAGRAM

"Olivvi is for the stark adventurer with an open heart and an eye for natural beauty."-me

The Eco fashion mindset is slowly changing here within the United States. Hemp paper sack designs are now a thing of the past. Eco fabrics are now being paired with sleek-modern detailing and sustainable practices. Cindy Taylor{The Eco fashion guru of Olivvi} truly embraces the "Modern Organic" fashion forward styling. At Olivvi, you will find fresh "hand cut" designs wrapped around a muted color palette. Olivvi has a laid back, day at the beach vibe. Olivvi colors and designs co-mingle effortlessly, which affords you the opportunity to be your very own fashion stylist. Mix, match, and layer to Eco chic perfection with Olivvi Eco fashion.

Cindy generously sent me the Shave pull over sweater in Shadow. The feel and texture of the sweater is cozy and breathable. The Shave pull over has a youthful cut and feel. A peek of the shoulder or mid-drift gives it a sexy feel. The Shave is earthy, yogi, and innovative. What I love about Olivvi designs is the creativity and flexibility each piece gives you over the composition of your outfits. Cindy's line includes 100% Organic Cotton sweaters as well as the NEW Daily Dress. The Daily Dress is absolutely stunning and will be available for purchase starting March 2014! Just in time for Spring.

Olivvi makes me feel stylish without a whisp of sweat on the brow. Olivvi is for honeymoons, special adventures, avid beach bum goers, and perfect for everyday wear. Anytime is Olivvi time, but prime time Olivvi wearing is right around the corner in Spring. Olivvi pieces are hand dyed and cut. The beauty of each Olivvi piece is totally unique just like you and me.

Ready to go hog wild and snag some Olivvi Eco fashion for your Spring 2014 wardrobe? Use SPUNKY20 at check out and get an additional 20% off! As always, FREE SHIPPING. You're Welcome;-)

A BIG Bear-HUG Thank You!!!!
Thank you to Blaire Elizabeth of Second Ave Photography in Northern Virginia for the amazing photography. Please visit her on Facebook page and give her a thumbs up for all her hard work:)

Are you ready for a Sunshine State, Eco chic, day at the beach giveaway from Olivvi?

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Spring Into Cash Event 
Organized by: Mom Powered Media 
Grand Prize: $1,000 Visa Gift Card 
Event dates: 3/20 – 4/10 
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Tell them Heather Paulding sent you! *wink wink*

 
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