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*I was NOT monetarily compensated to write this post. All words and thoughts are my own.

Donate relief to our troops<<>>Shop Skincando<<>>Like'm on Facebook

Sara Damelio is the founder of Skincando. She started her business based on her own problematic skin issues: acne. Searching to solve her own skin issues, she set out to create a natural skincare line with no parabens or petroleum. Her knowledge about the biology of one's skin and how Organic beauty plays a vital role is massively impressive. Sara could tell how my face was feeling just by observing it. I believe she has nearly 20 years in the skincare field, so she is a true expert!

Skincando has many incredible products. My personal favorite is the Miracle Creme. I use this heavy duty{yet gentle} moisturizer day and night. I am here today to discuss the one that started it all: The Combat-Ready Balm. This balm truly belongs with summer as it moisturizes as well as soothes summer agitators like sunburn, bites, diaper rash, and minor scrapes. It is also a balm that belongs with our troops both active and veterans alike. Personally, I gave a sample to my brother who is a professional Firefighter in Baltimore, MD and I think he is going to be "secretly" asking to receive Combat-Ready for his birthday;-)

*Check out the Pay It Forward Video with Skincando and Jonathon Mullen on DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

More importantly, Combat-Ready Balm has a mission: to bring relief to our troops. I wrote an article about a week ago about Jonathon Mullen, whom lost both his legs during an IED explosion. His prosthetics used to be very irritating to his skin and now with the use of Combat-Ready Balm he has nearly no skin irritations to speak of. Natural skincare does change people's lives. People like me with extremely sensitive skin, a child with eczema, and the veteran who has a life-altering injury. Your donations do change lives. Bring relief to our troops today.

Who is ready for Skincando's Combat-Ready Balm Giveaway that Hercules himself would approve of?
Visit HomeTalk<>Shop Annie Sloan<>Shop van Gogh Fossil Paint<>Shop CeCe Caldwell's

The short answer is yes, but I would like to discuss specific scenarios. Most chalk paints work best with their companion waxes, but let's say{for example} you are looking for a more "Eco" clear wax alternative to Annie Sloan's. I started using other clear waxes while working on my Annie Sloan projects. The results may surprise you. From this day forward, you may find yourself working with two chalk paint systems at once*shock and awe*. Put on your cheap sunglasses, trench coat, and turn your smart phone to vibrate. We are on super secret status. This is the information chalk paint businesses don't want you to know.

Recently, I had a YouTube fan ask if there was a way to wax a piece for outside use? My initial answer was no way José! Then, I came across a natural furniture polish last week called Daddy Van's furniture polish that completely changed my mind. It is 100% USDA Organic and I have been using it for my outdoor wooden table for minor protection from the elements. This in my opinion, could be used outside over a small chalk painted project, but you would need to reapply it frequently if constantly exposed to the elements{about every 2 weeks}.  

I polished a front door centerpiece painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Coco with Daddy Van's Furniture Polish. It will off minor protections{thanks to the beeswax} and give it a nice sheen, but it is not "sealed" in the same way as if you were using wax{which is actually a good thing because it still "breathes"}. Never use wax over chalk paint for an outdoor project. Water, moisture, humidity gets trapped underneath your piece. Your paint will bubble up and flake off....promise! If you want a glossy finish for outdoor use, I suggest you use a different type paint or simply embrace the "matte finish" that is chalk paint. 

Can you use a different wax brand with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint? Yes, again. The natural clear waxes of Cece Caldwell's and van Gogh's will seal an Annie Sloan covered piece, but it goes on very greasy. It appears that the wax has trouble seeping in. No surprise there. Let the piece sit for 48 hrs and it will seal just fine. If you are doing a major project like painting your kitchen cabinets{for example}, I would use the same chalk paint system. Major projects require extreme diligence and consistency or you will have a less than desirable outcome. Here is an Annie Sloan chalk painted dresser{base of Napoleonic Blue} and van Gogh{top coat of Confidence} that I waxed with the van Gogh clear wax. She's a beaut!
Wait a hot second! Have you heard of Hometalk? It is a fabulous place to share your crafts, diy projects, renovations, ideas, and more! Also, it is a combined forum. A place to ask questions and learn. Check out "12 ways to transform your stuff with chalk paint!". Curated by yours truly*grin*. It is full of informative and fascinating chalk paint posts. As always, leave any and all questions below. I love hearing from you. Get inspired and then get refreshing! <3
Summer is all about the tan. A deep golden bronzed glow! No one wants to be signaling airplanes as they are splashing in the surf. Back in Grandma's era, the only way to achieve the "golden goddess" look was by slathering their skin in baby oil while baking in the sun. Evidently, the American Cancer Society frowns upon this method. During the hay day of my teenage years, radiation emitting tanning beds was all the rage. Today, we have all-natural and plant-based tanning options from the Organic Bronzing Station. Hallelujah!

Organic Bronzing Station has perfected their plant-based "Bronzing Mist" aerosol spray tan recipe. You can purchase the "Bronzing Mist" online if you are unable to travel to Northern Virginia for their all-natural spray tanning services. I will tell you, however, that traveling from afar has not been an issue for many of Jennifer Wignall's{Founder and CEO of Organic Bronzing Station} out-of-state clients. When you want natural and the will travel. The "Bronzing Mist" is very light and did NOT irritate my extremely sensitive skin. I cannot wait to spray down my entire bod. To be honest, I am looking forward to Jennifer spraying every crack and crevice for my trip to Miami in August;-)

Spray Tanning is certainly the main event at the Organic Bronzing Station, but they have other natural products you simply must try! For starters, their all-natural sugarcane scrubs that come in grapefruit and coffee! As a caffeine addict, the coffee sugarcane scrub is my favorite. I am certain that I stood there sniffing and whiffing far longer than politely necessary:}

Organic Bronzing Station also has some very luscious 100% all-natural lotions. Some of which are specifically designed to prolong your au naturel "Organic Bronzing Station" tan! These lotions are paraben and mineral oil free The grapefruit lotion is the perfect scent for summer and I have been personally using it everyday! Happy Skin <3

Another Organic Bronzing Station product that is an Eco gal must is their all-natural deodorant. It is chocked full of tea tree essential oils with a starting base of coconut oil. It seeps right in. Simply apply, let dry, and get dressed within a matter of minutes. You can feel satisfied knowing that you smell fresh and that no nasty chemicals are touching your skin.

Are you ready for a "naturally sweet" Summer Giveaway with the Organic Bronzing Station?

*I was monetarily compensated to write this post. All words and thoughts are my own.
Donate relief to our troops.

The military is my family. My husband served in the 506th Army Infantry Regiment during the Iraq campaign. We have two boys named in honor of soldiers my husband served beside. These soldiers were phenomenal men who made the ultimate sacrifice for their family and country. We also have soldiers who are returning home from service with major life-altering injuries. Men like Jonathon Mullen. Jonathon lost both of his legs from an IED explosion. Life altering, life changing, but a military man never gives up. Never.

Jonathon Mullen has a true passion and incredible raw talent for photography. He is currently living his civilian dream right now in Maryland with his wife Gemma and his photography business Jonathon Mullen Photography, LLC. His photos are REALLY outstanding in every sense of the word. I adore his black & white shots of the "everyday man". As you can see from the video above, Jonathon is having no problems getting about, but he was living with daily stump irritations from his prosthetics. That is...until he got a job shooting a product line for Skincando. It was a true blessing in disguise.

*Check out the Pay It Forward Video with Skincando and Jonathon Mullen on DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Sara Damelio, the owner of Skincando, has a special natural product in her line called Combat-Ready Balm. The Combat-Ready Balm is composed to do it all! Sunburn/wind relief, jock itch, eczema, minor abrasions, bug bites, and keeping the dastardly sand fleas away. Hence the name "Operation Sand Flea". Jonathon states how he uses the Combat-Ready balm everyday before applying his prosthetics, "...with next to no irritaion to my stumps". Skincando and Jonathon Mullen have since teamed up and are now working to change the lives of other injured veterans through Operation Sand Flea.

Last week, There was a Twitter Party for Well & Good Studio located in Leesburg, VA. The swag bag has loads of goodies from some of my very favorite Eco small businesses. We happened to have a few swag bag leftovers, so it is your lucky day! TWO lucky Spunky Real Deals fans will win a mystery grab bag chocked full of goodies. I am not trying to be completely mysterious though, just alluring. Scroll down to visit the incredible donating small businesses and simply dream about what you might win! Fun fun. 

*images are examples of what you might win and not actually grab bag items.

An item from Zoet Bathlatier will be in your grab bag. Zoet Bathlatier is gorgeous from head to toe. All natural beauty from the core of the product to the impeccable packaging. The sun-kissed Rose Berry tint is one of my favorites. Be sure to peruse their luxurious natural bath salts and 100% vegetable wax candles! The Blue Agave nectar candle is a scent that cannot be described!!! Maybe, "I love you to the moon and back". Yep, that adequately describes my feelings.

Another grab bag item will be from Karmalades: Natural Cleaning with a conscience! I am quite fond of all their natural cleaning products, but the scrubbing souffle reigns supreme. Souffle sounds mighty dainty, but believe me this product packs a mean natural-cleaning wallop! You can clean/deodorize toilets, counter tops, granite, glass, sinks, and dishes. And the smell! It can only be described as delicious{no eating please}! Try the lavender sugar cookie scrubbing souffle.

Each winner will also get a trendy magnetic accessory from Magnificuffs! Adorn your shirt cuffs, pant legs, shoes, hair, your curtains{I have seen this lately}, or anything else your heart desires. The magnets are VERY strong, so you do not have to worry about your accessories going anywhere! The use of the magnet also means your clothes are completely safe. Bravo Magnificuffs! Practical and super trendy.

You will also find a little something from Mullein and Sparrow in your mystery bag. Mullein and Sparrow has a little bit of handmade herbal luxury just for little ole you! The owner Anit has a fascinating background which incorporates herbal medicine techniques from India and draws from her experiences in the fashion industry. Both are readily visible within her herbal skincare line. LOVE her lip and cheek tint. Just a dash will do and is smells fab too!

Last, but certainly never least is Everyday Natural Mama! This warm-hearted mama handcrafts delectable preservative-free, all-natural, & Organic skincare goodies. Say it with me, "Tangerine, Lime, and Geranium". WOW, the scent is completely unique and this all-natural body lotion seeps right into your skin. The stick is ultra convenient. I would keep this in the cooler at the beach! They also have natural deodorants, lip balms, facial creams, baby balms, and oh so much more!

Goodness me, can you even imagine what you might be getting if you win? Enter now!

A compost pile is something I tried my hand at once before. I decided that I did not need to spend the money on a compost bin, so I just started a tiny pile in the corner of our yard. That was all well and good until my giant German Shepherd starting digging into it. She may have even pooped on it..HA! That was the end of my first attempt at composting.

Attempt numero dos. My brother-in-law from da Burgh and I were talking compost over the weekend. He talked about the great soil and minimal garbage output they have incurred since starting to compost. The composting promise land! The hamster wheel started turning once more. A-ha! I will make a compost bin out of a laundry basket. Don't ask me how my twisted mind and I got the idea *shrug*.

The extra tall laundry bin makes a perfect compost bin! The white colored bin was too much of an eye sore, so I painted the outside with Van gogh Paintology Chalk Paint in Bole. I love the brick red color of Bole! Around the open eyelets I added a pop of color with Van gogh in Confidence. The two colors look smashing together.

*I am not responsible for any injuries that might be incurred from this next step:) All legalities and jokes aside be careful cutting a hole in the top. Use a sharp knife or small scrolling saw. I also cut a hole near the bottom so I could reach my hand in from the bottom and pull out the freshly composted soil as needed.

What I love about making a compost bin yourself is you can personalize it the way you like! I do not even need to mention the loads of dough that you just saved by making one yourself versus the fancy boy tumbler....your welcome:) My boys and I are also having a blast searching for earth worms to add to our compost bin! Helping Mother Earth and entertaining the boys...priceless!

Happy Composting Earth Friends!
Visit Well & Good Studio

Well & Good is a little oasis with a rustic ambiance of wood and stone. Cozy, peaceful, and charming. It certainly seems fitting that Well & Good resides in the heart of historic Leesburg, VA. The owner of Well & Good Studio is Lauri Bosserman, RN, CHHC, AADP. Lauri is a warm-hearted breath of fresh air. She has the patience, understanding, and compassion associated with her nursing profession combined with years of nutritional knowledge. If you are looking to move towards a healthier "you", then Lauri is the extensively trained nutritional professional to guide your journey. What's new at Well & Good?

RMS Beauty!!!! I am totally in love.

This post could become quite lengthy, but I shall restrain myself. The big difference maker for me in comparison to other local wellness stores is the quality of the vendors represented at Lauri's studio. These small businesses truly care about their ingredients, how they are processed, and how they interact with our bodies. It is incredibly refreshing. Most are also local yocals, which is a huge plus. So, what are you waiting for? Come see what wellness is all about at Well & Good Studio! Join us at the Well & Good Studio Friday June, 13th during normal business hours for massages{by appt. only} and free make-up touches throughout the day. At night, get ready for a private{invite only} Full Moon event with special VIP guests including:
Carin Kilby Clark from Memoirs of a Clueless Woman
Aubrey Griffin Johnson from Home Grown and Healthy
Photography by visionary Blaire Ring of Second Ave Photography
Delish eats are being provided by the incredible Belladi Treats..CUPCAKES!!!!<3
AND Maryland's own Christin Vickers Wade of The Blue Crab Martini! Is your mouth watering yet? 
Ambiance provided by the floral magnificence of J. Morris Flowers
Special Thanks to the phenomenal Eco beauty small businesses that are contributing to our Twitter Party swag bags on Tuesday, June 10th from 7 PM to 8PM! Use the #wellandgoodstudio to find us and play along! Sara Damelio from Skincando is our expert panelist with years and years of herbal expertise. <3 to our special swag bag donors: Zoet Bathlatier, Karmalades, Mullein and Sparrow, Magnificuffs, and Everyday Natural Mama!
*I received nothing in exchange for this post. That's right.
SHOP Caru Skincare Co.

One sniff and you will fall in love. It is like that with natural soap, but especially Caru 100% natural soap. Their soap is gentle enough for your face. I remember saving my Caru French Green Clay Soap strictly for face washing. I would wrap it up each night and tuck it away from my husband. You know something is really good when you are hiding it from you spouse*grin*. Caru deploys the finest natural, Organic, and sustainable ingredients. They also boast transparent labeling! Every "Organic" beauty business should be as open and honest with their labeling.

Honesty is not the only thing you get with Caru. Their Eco beauty goodies are handcrafted in New York with a wrapper that epitomizes earthly Eco-love! Plant the seed-lined outer wrapper in a special sunny spot, water, and soon little sprouts will appear. Now that is Eco-conscious packaging. LOVE.

Without further delay, this is a Flash Giveaway:-} One of you lucky ladies or gents will win an Activated Charcoal Dead Sea Salt soap{see above} from Caru Skincare Co.!!!

If you don't know, now you do. I am working day and night to get my bath business Eco Bathhouse off the ground. We are two months out. The biggest barrier to a quick start up are my time-worthy tinctures. Tinctures take 4 to 6 weeks to steep and get all the herbal goodness retrieved from your fresh herbs. Today, I am going to teach you how to make a fresh Organic vegetable glycerin tincture for your bath and body products. I learned from the master at The Herbal Academy of NE. They have an incredible plethora of herbal information that you will go GA GA for! Let's get down to it.

Obtain your fresh herbs and/or flowers. Wash, dry with paper towel, and then let dry in the sun. This requires hours. Your herbs and/or flowers must be completely dry.

Sterilize your Ball Jars and create a clean/dry work environment. I use two methods. I will bring my Ball Jars to a boil, let cool, and then dry completely. I then use a 70% isopropyl alcohol undiluted rise. I do this for jars and lids. Each step requires the Ball Jar to dry completely. I am using this tincture for bath and body purposes so I do not want to introduce water. Water introduces bacteria.

After everything is dry, it is time to get started. Dawn gloves. Fill your steril Ball Jars with 2/3 herbs and/or flowers. Cover the rest with Organic vegetable glycerin. Make sure your herbs and flowers are completely covered. Use a sterile chopstick and gently stir your herbs and/or flowers to ensure complete coverage.

Cap your Ball Jar. Keep your tincture in a cool, dry location for 4 to 6 weeks. Shake gently every day or every other day to keep your herbs and/or flowers completely saturated.

Strain with a cheese cloth into a NEW sterile Ball Jar. Cap and label. Shelf life of a year. Store in a cool, dry location.

There you have it! Fresh Organic herbal tinctures straight from your garden. Again, I will be using these tinctures for my bath and body products. If you want more information about anything herbal I urge you to visit The Herbal Academy of NE! Making your own tinctures is another way to reap the benefits from your fresh edible herbs. Good luck loves!

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