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How to paint a wall with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. #DIY
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is the only chalk paint I recommend for painting your walls and floors. Why? Because, I have used other brands of chalk paint and Annie Sloan passes the test of time. The real test. My Annie Sloan walls, lightly waxed, look like they were painted yesterday. My little kitchen nook with heavy traffic was painted over a year ago! The video below shows me painting the other corner of my kitchen while giving some tips on painting your walls with Annie Sloan chalk paint. Let's take it step by step, because painting an old piece of furniture is not nearly as scary as taking it to your walls!

How to paint a wall with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. #DIY
1.) Clean your walls. Wash them with warm water and a mild soap and let dry. The same first step as if you were painting a piece of furniture. Easy-Peasy.

2.) Prepare to paint. Get a separate container for your chalk paint and drop cloth for your floor. If you need to tape your trim do it now*Arnold Schwarzenegger voice over*. Pour a quarter portion of your can into your new container and STIR.

3.) Start painting using even strokes. If the paint gets "hard to work with" add a small amount of water. As hard as this may be, DO NOT go back over previously painted areas during the drying process. The wall will look different and splotchy while the paint is drying...completely normal. Look at the wall when it is completely dry and in good natural lighting before deciding whether or not you would like to go back over the area(s) in question.

4.) Do watch for drips. Check frequently for drips and catch them before they become permanent bumps on your wall. Take a damp brush and brush out the drips.

5.) Final Step. After you are satisfied with the look of your chalk painted walls, now it is time to wax. Lightly wax your wall with the Annie Sloan clear wax. I like to wear gloves, open a window, and use a "throw away" rag to apply to the wall. You can buff as you go. If you do not wax be prepared to wipe the chalk paint from your walls when you clean them. The clear wax keeps your walls looking fresh, new, and wipe-able(the most important part).

I hope this post helps you confidently take the next step with your chalk painting adventures! Be advised that it is a daunting task to take on painting a large room, but smaller areas are a pleasure to paint. Get ready for the complements to flow from your house guests. Good Luck! XO.

Beauty Giveaway American Made Martha Stewart
Skincando is back with another tremendous giveaway! Among the giveaway items are the Miracle Creme and Eye Balm, both of which I personally use. One creamy application and you will raise your hands to the heavens screaming, "It's a moisturizing miracle"!  I am not just feeding you a line*The sound of a fishing pool reeling*. I purchase Skincando products with my own monies, because I believe they are among the very best. Well..it is official! Skincando is a finalist for Martha Stewart's American Made Awards! Now that is definitely *squeal* worthy!

Beauty Giveaway American Made Martha Stewart
Here's the deal. You help Skincando become a finalist by sharing the love and buzzing about her from Martha Stewart's American Made Awards finalist page featuring Skincando. What do you get in return? Feast your eyes on the beauties below!

One lucky winner will receive the: Miracle Creme 2 oz., Eye Balm 0.5 oz., Vegan Miracle Creme, and Brew.

Good Luck and may Martha Stewart be with you!;)
Depression
And there I was sitting in the rain, not just literally, but figuratively too. Photography by Second Ave Photography in Northern Va.

Women are so much more than a waist and cup size. Life experiences, struggles, and sometimes tragedies mold us into the people we are today. If we are talking true beauty(and we are)...true beauty lies deep within. Sounds cliché, but it truly does. "Real beauty" cannot be exposed with a simple layer of lipstick. You....YOU must shine from within with all that you are. That light includes the good and the difficult life experiences(perhaps especially the difficult ones), which can combine magnificently to reveal the strongest and most beautiful "you" that you have ever known!

 
My heart sings and feels delighted to be apart of a "real beauty" campaign featuring the Organic Bronzing Station and some truly incredible women. These women are beautiful to the core of their being. They have overcome so much and have not only survived life, but have chosen to thrive in it. They are true warriors.

I have chosen to be a part of this campaign to bring awareness to mental illness. Too long have I sat in the rain and too long have I seen my own parents suffer. I in turn have suffered greatly and in ways that I am still learning about. In the video, you will notice that we are all wearing drapes. The drapes signify vulnerability and the strength to show it to the world.

My mother suffered so much in life that she tried to take her own life. That is Suffering. I found my mother on one of her suicide attempts. I was just coming home from working my high school job at the local pizza parlor.  She was sitting on the phone agitated, stuporous, and bleeding. She begged me not to call an ambulance. I drove her to the hospital, got lost, and had to ask for directions at a local fast food establishment. Once we arrived, she yelled at me for being hysterical and crying. I sat alone in the waiting area and drove home alone in the morning. Alone at 16.

Silence(I believe) is the breeding and root cause of mental illness. Staying silent and suffering alone can bring about a tragic end. IF you or anyone you know is suffering in silence reach out and ask them to talk. Speak your pain! Scream your pain! You must talk to someone. Someone loves you and more importantly you should love yourself. Be the light for yourself.

Giveaway Time!!
My bath and beauty business Eco Bathouse is a proud supporter and partner for the #RealProductsforRealPeople campaign. I want to show my love and support by hosting a beautiful Eco Bathhouse bath salts giveaway! One winner will be receiving the entire Eco Bathhouse Bath Salts Line! You will receive 7 oz. of the Ultra Lavender, Fresh PeppOmint, and Lemongrass/Tea Tree/Coffee bath salts. Good Luck!

Eco Beauty Warrior Business Advocates:
Blaire Ring of Second Ave Photography
Debbie Love of Embrace and Love Change
Heather Paulding of Eco Bathhouse


Giant Cinnamon Sticks
Sniff sniff....scent is a powerful thing! Fall brings about lovely home-style scents of pumpkin, apple, and let us not forget cinnamon! Cinnamon invokes spice, warmth, and feels just like home. AND...if you have a small bathroom with three boys then this could be your natural air-freshener life savior;-) It just so happens that I had a very large jar of stale coffee beans from the "Super Awesome" owner of Weathered Elegance(a spectacular shabby chic shop here in my hometown of Leesburg, VA)! Coffee and cinnamon just happen to co-mingle deliciously and effortlessly! Now...Let's make giant cinnamon sticks!

Fall DIY project

Giant Cinnamon Sticks DIY
First, gather some freshly dropped sticks. The straighter the sticks the more they look like giant cinnamon sticks. Second, take your Elmer's glue stick and coat your stick leaving the bottom portion of your without glue. Third, take a paper towel or towel covered area and gently shake your spices on top. Clove, Ginger, Nutmeg, and Cinnamon all work fabulously! You can roll the extra from your paper towel onto your glue covered stick. Place your sticks in a jar or vase to dry. Presto! The perfect centerpiece that naturally scents your party and home<3

 
*This post is inspired by my husband and I's favorite sports authority Deadspin's Drew Magary. He writes the infamous and utterly pee-worthy, "Why your team sucks" columns. In honor of today's post please enjoy "Why your team sucks 2014: Ravens" by Drew Magary. Why? Because I hate them.

The West Virginian state motto: "Wild and Wonderful" is truly bulls eye accurate. Large rolling hills, lush greenery, tall trees, lakes, and a bountiful supply of wild flowers make West Virginia pure eye candy to any fortunate visitor. West Virginia is also incredibly "wild".  WV is full of a robust wildlife(both animal and people alike). I am certain that you could not have a better time anywhere if you tried! Over the weekend, we saw snakes, hawks, very BIG spiders, turkey, deer(who proceeded to look at us like,"What you want"?), and a baby skunk. This is not counting the many dogs who greeted us at every turn from the local neighborhood. Everyone is just so darn friendly in WV!

Our family spent Labor Day weekend in the middle of nowhere called Canaan Valley in West Virginia. The "very real" intro photo gives you a teeny tiny idea of just how picturesque this area really is! We even got a visit from a local neighbor who generously dropped off some firewood for our weekend bonfires via his four-wheeled vehicle(that is apparently how everyone gets around locally). The cabin had a hot tub, fire pit, and was complete with an area to play horseshoes. Now that is what I call country luxury! Uncle Steve even found a vintage Schwinn bike and took it for a spin! Across the street from our cabin was a small private air strip, so we even got to check out a few planes taking off.

Despite the luxurious accommodations, we did take in mother nature first hand with some scenic hikes in the local Canaan Valley state park. A perfect area for hiking and skiing(during the winter months). The trails are picturesque, well marked, and highly trafficked. Moderate in difficulty. So many trails! A true hikers paradise.

 
If you find yourself waking up in Canaan Valley and are thirsting for caffeine look no further than Boom Town Java located in Davis, WV. It is hip, modern, a lovely scenic porch, music, AND a fenced in playground for the kiddos. Just awesome! Sip that Joe while your kids are fenced in. That is what I call wake-up perfection!

So, The next time you are looking for adventure, beauty, or a romantic getaway look no further then the bounty of West Virginia. One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Happy Trails!


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