dixie belle chalk paint

Dixie Belle Chalk Paint Review

A few summers ago I became infatuated with chalk paint.  It requires no sanding, or priming. Simply prep a piece to be painted by wiping it down and then starting to paint.  I was thrilled to be asked to review Dixie Belle Chalk Paint and I knew exactly which project I would tackle.


A while back, my mother gifted me these amazing cake tables. I loved the shape and height of them, but the color left a lot to be desired. They were an odd royal blue and went with nothing in my house. I knew that at some point I would paint them; it has not been a priority though. Now I can say they are done and they look fabulous!

I have tried other chalk paints before on the lower end of the price scale, but had not tried theirs yet. It is a better quality than the chalk paints I have used from Michael’s or JoAnne’s and sells at a higher price, still it’s not as expensive as the brand that shall remain nameless. I like that Dixie Belle comes in two sizes and a wide variety of colors.

Dixie _Belle_chalk_paint

For my cake table project, I choose their Buttercream. It’s a warm cream that brightened up the tables beautifully. I expected it to take multiple coats of chalk paint to cover the blue and it did. I painted almost three coats over the blue and let each coat dry before applying the next. I then painted a clear coat over it to give it a little glossy shine.

They sent me stain and a wax, but for this project, I wanted the tables to be less aged and more one-dimensional. I have a few other small projects I intend to work on as well, and will try the wax out then.

I have to admit; I did not follow the instructions, and realized I could have thinned out the paint with a little water. It may have helped it to go on more smoothly. Honestly, I do not think I would have had a better outcome had I watered it a bit.


Tell me what you think? Did these come out beautifully? I think they are my new found favorites.

*Sponsored Post – Dixie Belle Paint Company sent me some paint for the purposes of this review.

ten tips to curb clutter

Ten Tips to Curbing Clutter


If you’re like me keeping clutter at bay is a must. I know I can let it get away from me on occasion, which leads to a large scale clean up on my part from time to time.  The old adage ” Everything in it’s place” is for some, better said than done.  It’s something I am working on diligently, being married to a neat freak does help.  For those of that are clutter challenged, I’ve uncovered a few tips that may be worth making a habit.

Ten tips to Curb Clutter


  • Do a daily 5 minute clean up. Patrol “hot”spots through out your house to where stuff tends to gather and make a quick sweep. I usually do this right before Kevin comes home. I also keep a basket at the ready so when he starts picking up he has a place to dump my stuff, allowing me to handle it.  
  • Open mail over the trash can or recycling bin and conduct your bill paying on line. Mail is the chief culprit of clutter for some.
  • File Newspapers and Magazines once a week. If you haven’t looked at in two weeks, it’s better to toss it. I, on the other hand, have a filing system for my magazines. I used to hold onto all of my design magazines, but found they took up too much extra space in the office. I found an easier way to keep what I wanted without stacks of mags. I created a binder to store my “tear sheets” (I’ll have more on this shortly) 
  • No Wire Hangers! Purge those things monthly. If you have a bunch return them to the dry cleaners. They would be happy to recycle them. I found wooden hangers that make our closet look uniform and well, more stylish.
  • Clear closets yearly. My rule is if I haven’t worn it in a year chances are I won’t wear it again. Donate your items to charity, unless it’s Lilly, put it on ebay!  Another great option is to turn your unwanted clothing into cash by ordering a Thredup bag. You can stuff the bag they send you with what ever you don’t want, send it back and they will send you cash. Awesome concept.
  • Arrange wardrobe by type. Sort clothes into categories and then color, or use what ever system will work for you.
  • Fold sheet sets inside one pillow case and store in the linen closet as unit. It will take up less space and let you store several sets together.
  • Don’t over stuff drawers. Don’t let a drawer get more the 3/4 full. It will become a jammed mess otherwise.
  • Eliminate unused items in the kitchen. Go through cabinets and drawers, collect never used items for charity.
  • Make a list before you shop. Take stock of what you need in order to get things under control. More skirt hangers? Another storage box? Then figure out where everything will go.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to curb the clutter too.

housewarming gifts

Housewarming Gifts Ideas

Did you know that summer is one of the busiest times for moves?  It seems a lot of people are buying and selling homes this time of year.  Of course with a new home comes the much anticipated housewarming party and the gifts that go along with it.


Origins of the Housewarming Party

The idea of a housewarming party can be traced back to France with the intention of literally warming the home. It’s often thought that the bringing together of friends and family helps to rid the once empty home of “evil spirits” and provide warmth to for the new homeowners. Guests would bestow gifts on the homeowners, ranging from firewood  to  burden baskets, thought to keep ones burdens from entering the home.

Fast forward to today and housewarming parties are still quite popular. Gift ideas have been elevated from firewood to more useful items like personalized planter boxes, or items for the bar.  I’ve picked out a few of my favorite gift ideas in hopes of inspiring your next housewarming gift purchase.

housewarming gift ideas

1. Personalized Ceramic pot sourced from ATGStores
2. Pedestal Hurricane Candle Holders sourced from Pier One
3. Marble Coasters sourced from Williams and Sonoma
4. Kubu Basket sourced from Pier One
5. Slate Cheese Board sourced from Williams and Sonoma

One trick I like to employ is buying a basket or a planter and filling it with useful items, like candles, fancy dish towels, and luxury hand soap similar to what you can pick up at Bath at Body Works.  Often times I find unique options at HomeGoods, Marshall’s  or TJ Maxx.

All of these are priced under $100.00 and a few are less than $50.00.  As with any gift purchase think of it as something you would like the receiver to have, rather than something they want. If it’s something they have asked for it’s a present.

eclectic wallpaper

Eclectic Wallpaper Designs Created Locally

A few years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Given Campbell, Tampa’s own eclectic wallpaper designer, for a piece on Examiner. Examiner recently shut down their website and I couldn’t let a great piece go by the wayside.  So, I am reprinting it.  I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Given.

Untitled design (16)

The use of wallpaper in interior decorating is making a comeback.  Decorators understand the visual interest that a well-designed, colorful wall paper will add to a space and often times they turn to the big brand names such as Waverly, Schumacher and Thibaut. For a more unique look, designers may turn to a smaller boutique line such as Given Campbell, located right here in the Tampa Bay area.

eclectic wallpaper

photo courtesy of Houzz

Given Campbell, a modern eclectic wallpaper design firm that is conceptualized and printed right here in the Bay area.  It may seem like an unusual business to have launched here, but it is thriving with designer and owner Given Campbell at the helm.

Given is an artist at heart and she had a passion for interior design.  She knew she wanted to do something artistic within the home goods industry but hadn’t found a niche until a random conversation when the idea of designing wallpaper came up.  She noticed the wall paper trend taking off again and with the advancement in technology it seemed like a prosperous niche worth exploring.

After a few years of product development she began to market her designs to consumers. Soon designers were discovering her line and using them in their projects. Then the recognition and awards began.  “Working in a bubble,” she says, “it’s hard to know if I am doing the right thing. Winning lets me know I am doing the right thing.”

Seven years later she has been featured nationally, won numerous awards and had her designs chosen for the walls of MTV’s corporate headquarters.  She now designs and markets several collections, including a Couture & Custom line.

She designs to her taste and not to trends but will build around Pantone’s seasonal color forecast.  She favors classic lines and timeless designs with a modern twist.  Most of her collections will compliment a variety of design styles. She will also create custom patterns.

eclectic wallpaper

Any good artist finds inspiration in the world around them and Given is no exception. She considers herself a conceptual thinker and can be inspired by an idea, a conversation, or a song that she will build an idea around. She derives inspiration from the great design of others too. She said, “I kept an old magazine with a collection of student art in it. It was ragged and old but inside it had a stair armoire that was curved and seemed to dance to one side.”

Her inspirations lend themselves to eclectic wallpaper designs that are graphic, vibrant, bold and colorful. There is nothing meek or demure about them, yet they are works of art fit for any modern home.


buy yourself flowers

Ten reasons to buy yourself fresh flowers

Flowers are affectionately called Vitamin F and rightly so.  They make everything a little brighter, cheerier and beautiful.  They are a healthy dose of happiness wrapped up in pretty colors and patterns.  It’s long been known that receiving flowers boosts our moods, but what researchers didn’t know was that living with fresh flowers also had a positive impact on our well-being. If you ever needed a reason to buy yourself flowers, I have ten reasons for you.

ten reasons to buy yourself flowers

As Dr. Haviland-Jones, researcher for Rutgers University, said, “Flowers bring about positive feelings in those that enter a room. They make a space more welcoming and create a sharing atmosphere.”  I couldn’t agree more.

flowers by the bedside

Spark Joy

Flowers add a positive boost to your morning routine. The morning blahs, it turns out, are real with happiness, warmth and friendliness may emerging later in the day. Instead of waking up grumpy, nip it in bud by placing small bouquets in the bathroom, on your nightstand or in the kitchen. Researchers found that by placing blooms in the middle of a morning routine, they would spark of joy lasting the rest of the day.  In most cases, others will adopt your cheery mood in what scientists refer to as mood contagion. Is there a better way to spread joy?

Inspire Neatness

One study discovered flowers placed where clutter tends to collect inspire neatness. Flowers are a thing of beauty and, well, clutter is unattractive.  Of course, if there were an option to look at pretty petals instead of paper piles, most of us would pick pretty petals.  I know I would be inclined to keep the clutter out of the space.

flowers increase compassion

Flowers Feed Compassion

In today’s climate of division and intolerance, it’s nice to know that people living with live fresh cut flowers have reported an increase in feelings of compassion and kindness toward others.  It seems we could all benefit from a few fresh flowers in our homes.

Improves Emotional Connections

Flowers in the home improve our emotional connections to family. When there are pretty flowers in the house for the whole family to see, everyone benefits. Happiness, compassion and understanding strengthen our bonds, improving our relationships.

Increase Energy
Flowers are happy rays of beauty that seem to increase energy in those around them.  People in the studies reported having increased energy from daily exposure to fresh flowers.  The effect also carried over to their lives at work.  They all seemed to have more enthusiasm and energy.

Reduces Depression and Anxiety
Study participants reported that they had fewer episodes of depression and anxiety after spending just a few days with fresh flowers in their home.  They felt less negative, more hopeful and positive.  “ As a psychologist, I’m particularly intrigued to find people who live with flowers report fewer episodes of anxiety and depressed feelings. Our results suggest that flowers have a positive impact on our well –being,”says Nancy Etcoff, PH.D., researcher with the joint Massachusetts General and Harvard Medical study.

Improve Well Being
It’s scientifically proven that flowers increase happiness and improve wellbeing. One study, notes that patients in rooms filled with flowers responded more positively to treatment, and had lower pain, fatigue, and anxiety ratings along with more positive feelings compared to those in a control group.  Imagine what the effect of flowers would be on a healthy person.

flowers boost creativity

Improves Creativity & Problem Solving

Here’s some good news for those of us that work from home.  Studies show having flowers in your work space increases creativity and improves problem-solving skills.  I am on board with that!  I love having fresh flowers in my home office, and other rooms of the house.

You Deserve Them 

The best reason of all to buy yourself fresh flowers is that you deserve them.  You deserve to have a vase of flowers in every room of your home.  Nothing, in my opinion, is more of a pick-me-up than flowers. The simple act of stopping by the flower cart at Whole Foods is euphoric, at least it is for me.

These studies make a darn good argument for keeping fresh flowers in your house. The best part is adopting the tradition doesn’t have to cost the farm.  You can plant a cut garden, or find great deals at the grocery store.  Picking wildflowers won’t cost a thing, just be careful if family members have allergies. Some wild flowers could induce a bad case of hay fever, and nobody will happy then.