This is how I distress my mantle and it's so easy! How to "distress" painted wood furniture. The technique she uses is a little different than what I've done. Looks easier.with a little less dramatic of an effect.
Neat quote to remember for when life throws you a curve ball. "Someday everything will make perfect sense. So, for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.