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Skincando Beauty Giveaway {06/05;US}
SHOP skincando <> Find'em at Well and Good Studio <> Like'm on Facebook

There are very few occasions in my life where I can say, "I found something I cannot live without". My husband, my children, chocolate, and now skincando. Say it with me skin-can-do! Sara Damelio is the owner of skincando and she brings 16+ years of experience in the herbal industry. Try her products just once and you will see what all the hype is about.

My first experience with skincando was at a local wellness and nutrition studio called Well and Good Studio in Leesburg. I was scheduled to receive a free mini facial from Sara Damelio{the master herself}. She is so in tune with your skin. In fact, she could tell my face was sensitive to a product she was using during part of my facial{NOT a skincando product}! Of course, I am no wimp and said nothing, but she already knew.

Skincando Beauty Giveaway {06/05;US}
During the facial, I got to experience her luxe Miracle Creme and Eye Balm. Ah, mammy! The word "good" does not do these products justice. My skin is always dry and sporadically breaking out. I have VERY sensitive skin. The Miracle Creme keeps my skin hydrated and even. My skin feels radiant and as I result so do I! The best part? A little goes a very long way.

The Eye Balm reduces fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles. It helps with all those dastardly tidbits that make you look like a flesh-eating zombie first thing in the morning:} Seriously though, if you have children do not even hesitate to buy the skincando Eye Balm. It makes you look like you got 8 hours of sleep instead of 5. Sweeeet....thank you Sara!
Skincando Beauty Giveaway {06/05;US}
One more thing, I also got to try skincando's "Organic" Combat Ready Balm that is literally a soldiers best friend. Combat Ready is a powerful balm that can be used for minor scrapes, bug bites, itching, burns, chaffing, and more! My son spends all day playing outside digging in the dirt and he complained the other day about his arm itching. I put some Combat Ready Balm on his itch and now my 4 year old is asking for Combat Ready Balm by name! We are definitely getting the Combat Ready Kit for Summer!

Are you ready to try the best thing since kale chips? Enter to win the skincando Mini Miracle Creme below!

*This is a general guide that has been gathered over 5+ years of lavender growing and tending. I am not an "Official" lavender farmer. Seek one for more "Official" information.

Two things kill lavender plants: over watering{once established} and cutting into the "hard wood". 

1.) First, go to your local lavender farm and pick up a lavender bush before right before the blooming season in mid May. My local spot is Seven Oaks Lavender Farm in Catlett, VA. During this time, lavender farms are typically open on the weekends and you can swing by to pick up your lavender plant. Most lavender farms "officially" open in June. At this time, you can pick lavender. Picking lavender is fun, but I personally prefer doing it from my own back yard!

2.) Find a nice sunny spot for your lavender bush. Lavender requires full sunlight and well drained soil. A raised bed in full sunlight is the perfect location for your new lavender bush. Lavender also loves sand! So, I positioned the kids sandbox right next to my lavender bushes. Pretty smart, eh? :}

3.) Create a pitcher's mound. Lavender likes to sit atop, like a Queen looking down from her thrown. The mound helps keep excess water away from the lavender's delicate root system.

4.) Plant your lavender bush. Dig a hole slightly bigger than the plant itself. At the bottom, place small stones to encourage drainage and thus preventing root rot. Lavender loves sandy loam soil! A mixture of new Organic garden soil, the present soil in your garden, and a mixture of sand(or peat moss) will make your lavender a happy bush!

4.) Water your plant in and leave it alone for two weeks. The inclination when you first plant any plant is to water it every other day. If it has been especially hot during the second week of planting and your lavender is drooping do a water test. Lavender is really responsive to watering within the first 10 minutes if it actually needs it.

Water slightly and check back 10 minutes later. If it is still drooping leave it alone! It may simply be experiencing transplantation shock and it needs time to recover. If your lavender is standing straight up after the 10 minute re-check, water a little more and leave it alone. Lavender is like a crock pot. Set it and forget it. IF you try and tend to it too much then you will probably kill it.

5.) Harvesting and trimming. These two typically go hand in hand. Your lavender plant will typically produce a summer and fall harvest. You want to trim above the hardwood or "woody" portion of the lavender during these times of harvest.

You CAN enjoy lavender wafting in the breathe with these tried and true steps. Enjoy the process and the fruits of your labor will be an overflowing field of lavender! *Sniff, sigh, awesome*
BrookThere Organic Lingerie and Clothing giveaway
*I received a BrookThere panty set and shirt in exchange for this post.
SHOP BrookThere<>Like'm on Facebook

A woman's body is a thing of beauty and contrary to the media's portrayal we come in all shapes and sizes. Model thin is not the "reality" industry standard. BrookThere is an Organic lingerie and clothing company that understands the beauty of "you".

BrookThere Organic Lingerie Giveaway

Comfort and Sexiness. Every woman wants to feel sexy and comfortable, but to achieve the combination together is something truly special. BrookThere has achieved this rare combination of comfort and sexy with both her lingerie and clothing lines! The shirt I am seen wearing is a Summer 2014 BrookThere piece. It is called "Blue Liberty", a 100% cotton button-down shirt. Tres comfortable and a Summer staple for your wardrobe. Wear this classic button down shirt with cut-off jean shorts, white leggings, or a gorgeously flowing white skirt. The possibilities are endless with the Blue Liberty!

BrookThere Organic Lingerie Giveaway

Tailored and Engaging. BrookeThere clothing and bras are a tailored art form. They conform to your body and hug it. No gaps or sags, just seamless Organic clothing to skin transition. Your spouse will be drawn to you the moment you put on a BrookThere Organic lingerie set. You will undoubtedly have an engaging audience!

BrookThere Organic Lingerie Giveaway
Confident and self assured. "There is something about BrookThere Organic lingerie and clothing that breeds confidence. I am not itching at lace or pulling fabric out of my derriere. I am comfortable, confident, and self assured."
BrookThere Organic Lingerie Giveaway
BrookThere Organic Lingerie Giveaway
LOVE and quality. These two go hand in hand. You can feel the quality and love put into each BrookThere piece. Strong, sturdy, and long wear{with great care} underwearBrookThere is handcrafted in the USA using sustainable fabrics. Go Eco lingerie....GO!

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:)

Who is ready for the sustainable revealing of the BrookThere Organic lingerie giveaway?!?!
cute and little fashion blog color brigade
Twitter Etiquette a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms during Twitter use {*Ref 1.}.

This post has arose from increased frustration with other Twitter users. I have finally figured out what makes Twitter "tweet" and as a result my Twitter followers are now coming in groves. Social media by definition is all about the sharing and exchanging of information. With Twitter, the secret is sharing the work of others far more often then you share your own. Some Twitter users have grown very successful accounts by exclusively sharing the tweets and content of others{like @ExecTweets}.

Another popular Twitter account type, are those that stream motivational quotes{like @BusinessInspare}. Why am I telling you this and how does it pertain to Twitter Etiquette? The successful norms show you how to achieve social media success. Paying attention to what works is just as important as paying attention to what doesn't. Below are some tips to improve your Twitter Etiquette!

1.} Follow those who follow you. Start paying attention Twitter users! I daily go through and drop people who do not follow me back. Your initial safety net for keeping followers is by following them back. I get e-mail's so I know when someone follows me and then I can respond quickly and accordingly. The only people whom I do not follow is those without profile pics and those selling fake followers.

2.} Direct messages are a waste of time. Yes, yes, they are. They are automated and I never read them. When I do read them I get annoyed. The messages typically read, "Follow me on Facebook" OR "Purchase something..." OR "Thanks for following"! Even the later, however well intended, irks me. Stop sending direct messages unless you are sending a personal, "Hello!". Robots are not genuine no matter how you spin it.

3.} Stop using HootSuite. The exception to the rule are those that run five businesses with five separate Twitter accounts and even then you should simply pay someone to manage these accounts for you. Or need to delete some of your accounts. When you send out robotic tweets every half hour people start to hit the permanent mute button with your feed.

4.} Return the favor. If someone tweets for you, tweet for them. If someone favorites your tweet, try to favorite one of theirs. Common courtesy stuff. Build your good Karma and it shall return to you with full force. I promise.

5.} Keep it simple. Short and to the point. I have been know to go on some Twitter rants, but try and save it for Facebook.

6.} Show some love. Twitter is all about the love! Shout out to people you respect, tag them, or simply thank someone publicly. @AlimondPhotog is the master of making people feel appreciated. As a result, she is a master networker.

So, the next time you are "tweeting" think about how you can boost your Twitter presence by helping someone else! Gain more followers, more respect, and more viral tweets by following these common sense steps from above. Good Luck my little Twitter junkies...may the tweets be with you!;-}

References: 1.)
Which chalk paint is the best?
Shop van gogh<<<>>>Shop CeCe Caldwell's<<<>>>Shop Annie Sloan

I consider myself a chalk paint enthusiast and scientist, however, I am not a stockist or chalk paint expert.  It brings me great satisfaction to find new ways of using these very beautiful and incredibly versatile paints. I use three chalk paints regularly: Annie Sloan, van Gogh, and CeCe Caldwell's. Each of these chalk paints has their strengths and weaknesses. I am going to show you how to use these chalk paints and in what situation they work best.

van Gogh chalk paint in "bole" metal bistro table
Which chalk paint is best for the outdoors? 
Annie Sloan chalk paint is the best hands down! I have painted my shed and patio metal bistro table with great success. Even after a horrendous winter, I re-painted my Annie Sloan "Coco" metal bistro table simply because I wanted a new color. I repainted it with van Gogh furniture paintology paint in "bole". "Bole" is a beautiful brick red color. van Gogh is my #2 recommendation for outdoor use. van Gogh chalk paint flaked and bubbled a tiny bit. Annie Sloan drys very quickly and sticks to anything!

Which chalk paint is best for painting your walls?
Annie Sloan wins again. I painted my kitchen nook walls with Annie Sloan Country Grey about a year ago. I lightly waxed it. I have never retouched the paint or re-waxed the area and it has been almost a year. It looks the same as when I painted it a year ago. van Gogh chalk paint is my #2 recommendation. I just started painting my son's room with van Gogh as an experiment. It looks and feels satin smooth. I am impressed with the results thus far. I will update everyone in a few months.

CeCe Caldwell's natural chalk and clay paint
Which chalk paint is the best for beginners?
CeCe Caldwell's is the winner in this category. I am incredibly surprised with this clay-based paint made in the USA. I love it and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite "chalk paints". I recently used CeCe Caldwell's in Seattle Mist for a few pieces of furniture in my home office. It paints like a dream. Smooth strokes with great coverage. I never had to add water{not once} to this paint! The consistency is fabulous. Open the can, give a few stirs, and go! The drying process is fascinating for CeCe Caldwell's, because it dries like a clay mask would on your face. No fumes and it really gives you that chippy-rustic feel prior to waxing!

Which chalk paint has the best coverage?
CeCe Caldwell's is the clear winner. It will cover completely in one thin coat. If you are trying to hide another color or paint over another paint. Use CeCe's. However, do not use CeCe Caldwell's outside. Annie Sloan comes dead last in this category, because although you can build up several layers this takes time. Also, depending on the base layer color you never know exactly what your Annie Sloan color will look like until it is too late to turn back. When I am painting over an area with Annie Sloan it always feels like a surprise{a beautiful one}, but a surprise none the less.

Which chalk paint is best for doors and kitchen cabinets?
Biased, but Annie Sloan is my choice. The only choice. I choose Annie Sloan, because it dries fast and stays put! Check out my kitchen cabinet makeover in Annie Sloan's Napoleonic Blue. I would not use anything but Annie Sloan on my cabinets. I will be trying CeCe Caldwell's on my walls and door soon. I will let you know the results soon!

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
Which chalk paint is the most versatile?
Annie Sloan. I have used Annie Sloan chalk paint outdoors, on walls, doors, kitchen cabinets, furniture, floors, and practically everywhere you can think of. The most versatile chalk paint I have ever used. You are limited only as far as your imagination allows.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
Which chalk paint has the best color palette? #1} Annie Sloan, #2} CeCe Caldwell's, #3} van Gogh. This is my very personal preference. If you like circus colors and want your house to look like it was eaten by a rainbow then you will probably prefer van Gogh's color palette. Ha! Just kidding, I have a clear preference for Annie Sloan's muted palette. Annie and CeCe Caldwell's do have a few "popping" colors gracing their color charts as well.

Which chalk paint has the steepest learning curve?
van Gogh furniture paintology has the steepest learning curve. They have "furniture make up", which I have never used before. The van Gogh system does allow you to stop at clear and dark wax finishes. Annie Sloan is #2 on the difficulty list.  Annie Sloan is difficult for beginners simply because you have to get a feel for the paint. It thickens during use and needs to be thinned out occasionally with a little water.

Which chalk paint is the most Eco-friendly? I am simply going to say that all the chalk paints are water based. CeCe Caldwell's and van Gogh brand itself as "Eco friendly". No fumes are associated with either CeCe Caldwell's or the van Gogh system. In fact, the van Gogh clear wax is so Eco-friendly there are no worries about contact with the skin. My favorite wax of the three is definitely the van Gogh.

Sonett {Spring Clean Giveaway} 5/21;US #natural #SpringCleaning #household #cleaners #home #Organic
I received compensation for this post. All words are my own.
SHOP Sonett usa<>Like'm on Facebook<> Follow on Instagram

Sonett is a German run company that has a passion for creating efficient natural cleaning products that are also 100% biodegradable! That means when Sonett goes down the drain the water stays just the way it started{untouched}! At Sonett, you will find natural cleaning products FREE of allergens, enzymes, petrochemicals, fragrances, dyes, preservatives, genetically engineered organisms, and bleaching agents.

What I love the most about Sonett is they consider the entire environmental spectrum. Not just humans and not just mother nature, but both! Sonett is so incredibly affordable that I literally did a double take when looking at their prices! Let's get to cleaning{naturally} with the Sonett product that started it all: the Scouring Fluid.

Sonett {Spring Clean Giveaway} 5/21;US #natural #SpringCleaning #household #cleaners #home #Organic
I am in love love. The Scouring Fluid is great for the tub, sinks, granite counter tops, and ceramic tiles. You can also clean your silver with it! Check out the amazing before and after shots! My silver went from gross to whoa. The smell of lemongrass is "naturally-intoxicating". You will want to scrub everything you own!

Sonett {Spring Clean Giveaway} 5/21;US #natural #SpringCleaning #household #cleaners #home #Organic
The next sample I received from Sonett is the Orange Power Degreaser. This is a 100% plant derived natural cleanser that is ideal for removing grease stains or cleaning greasy areas{perfect companion for the kitchen}. Boy am I happy to hear that!

Last week, I was at an Italian restaurant sopping up bread with a high quality olive oil when a tiny drop fell onto my new Organic cotton skirt. Tragedy! I desperately tried to rub it out with some ice water, but the grease stain remained{until now}. I took photos, but it was pointless. I could not find the exact location of the original stain....poof gone! You can also use the Orange Power Degreaser for your floors! The orange and bergamot scent make it an aromatic pleasure to clean with.

Sonett {Spring Clean Giveaway} 5/21;US #natural #SpringCleaning #household #cleaners #home #Organic
Last, but certainly not least, is the Olive Wool & Silk wash. This is a product you can never fully appreciate until you really need it! If you are a business women or just love those pretty "dry-clean only" garments this is a must-have in your natural cleaning arsenal. It is gentle, smells like "clean", and really does the job with baby-like gentleness. I can now feel free to buy all the pretty silk shirts I desire, because now I have an amazing product to get them sparkly clean{naturally}.

Who is ready to roll up their sleeves for a natural, environmentally conscious, delicious smelling Spring Cleaning Giveaway with Sonett usa?

My family and I have an old home with minimal storage space. If you or someone you know has an older home than you understand how "spatially challenged" these charming abodes can be. Sure you can stuff things into your dirt floor basement or inaccessible attic, but let's be honest you'd rather give your stuff to goodwill then to go into any of these disgusting areas. Older homes, however, have a major selling point: their tremendous sturdy bones and impeccable detailing. My office has stupid good natural lighting. It also happens to be the area where we store our jackets, shoes, and other miscellaneous items. Challenging right? How do you create a beautiful work space environment among dirty, smelly shoes?

I found a way. First, my wonderful mother-in-law found a storage unit for cheap around $20 to $40 that was used at a kindergarten or preschool to store children's jackets. The problem is the exterior is less than appealing AND it is wide open. Wide open to all eyes who pass through this little room to get to our teeny tiny bathroom{that is another issue altogether}. Then the big "Aha" moment*chin scratches*? Curtains!

Yes, curtains! So, my son and I walked down to the local  fabric store called the Finch Sewing Studio. They have an amazing selection of gorgeous fabrics and yarns to choose from. I picked a fabric with a muted palette of lavender and chartreuse with feather imagery. I have zilch sewing ability so I did what any good non-sewing skillZ girl would do. Eye ball it! Yep, I am all about eye-balling it and just cutting. That's what I did.

The big puzzle factor was how to get the curtains up. I decided to take the numerous curtain rods and hardware extras out of the closet to see if there was a potential winner. I found one of those twist n' fit{no tools required} curtain rods. It was a bit short so I jerry-rigged it with some string and screws. I secured string from the curtain rod to the screw and that affixed it into place. Also, I used circular shower curtain hooks with my curtain rod and simply knotted the ends of my fabric to the hooks. Easy. Done.

For added ambiance I used Ce Ce Caldwell's Eco friendly clay paint in Seattle Mist to paint the visible exterior. This took about 30 minutes. I love this clay paint and will do a separate in-depth post soon! Moving on and the piece de resistance is the floral centerpiece at the top. I will be getting permanent succulents, but a gorgeous bouquet will be a fine temporary solution:)

So what do you think? The mud room and office blend surprisingly well together, right!?
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