The Most Difficult Story I Have Ever Told.



Update- Monday April 27, 2015.

I was hoping I would get a few more years before I would have to write this, alas God had other plans.

I had the distinct priviledge of witnessing my brother take his final breath on Thursday, April 23rd, at 11:45 pm.

After our family trip to Gatlinburg, he seemed to be feeling worse. I made the decision to come and stay with my family and visit with him on April 17th. When I arrived  it was obvious he wasn’t well, but I still felt hope.

As the days went by, the difference day to day was astounding, and soul crushing.  He hadn’t eaten in in two weeks because of a neck tumor blocking his esophagus. Drinking was difficult for the same reason. He would take sips, which would result in very painful coughing fits that would sometimes last several minutes.

He was always thirsty, always in pain. He didn’t feel hungry, that urge had left him weeks ago.

Many family members and friends came, and showered him with love. My sisters laid by his side, rubbing his feet and legs. Helping him drink, wiping his face. We spent hours watching “Dirty Jobs,” because that what he wanted. ( I really didn’t mind, since I have a bit of a crush on Mike Rowe.)

Except to bathe and eat, my mom rarely left his side. The entire week, I can count the number of times she left him on one hand. She was his constant companion. She was his giver of pain relief in the form of medicine, the giver of love in the form of leg massages and quiet words. When she wept, she wept quietly so he couldn’t hear. I have never seen so much capacity to love.

On that night, she was completely spent. I was asked to stay with my Aunt, who was also giving her precious time and love to help my mom. The plan was to let my mom sleep in an adjoining room, and my Aunt and I would stay in the room with Justin. My brother was very attached to my mom, there were many times he called out for her, and she wanted to be close in case he needed her.

I arrived to Justin’s house around 10:30. I had spent a few hours with my Dad. We watched “Hot Fuzz” and laughed and laughed. The previous afternoon had been very stressful, so I took a break. I think it prepared me for what was to come.

My Dad dropped me off and went back home. We began getting settled in for bed. My Aunt Joy gave him a dose of his medicine, but he was still restless. I was laying on the bed next to him, thinking to myself…

My Brother isn’t going to be with us when I wake up in the morning…

Aunt Joy got down on her knees at the foot of the bed, and prayed, for what seemed like a very long time. I felt no comfort in this. I wish I did, but I just didn’t.

Aunt Joy laid on the floor next to the bed. We had started out sharing the bed, but she told me she wanted me to sleep next to “your baby brother.”

I laid next to him for a few more minutes. Watching him grimace in pain. I asked him if he needed anything.

He said he was thirsty.

I asked him what he wanted.

He said it didn’t matter.

I was dreading giving him that drink, because everytime he drank, he coughed, and it hurt him. I hated watching him cough and choke. I hated watching him in pain, but there was no hesitation. I got out of bed, and I grabbed a bottle of 7-up that was sitting on the shelf.

I went over to him, and gave him a towel, that he put down on his chest. This was his routine, because he would dribble whatever he was drinking due to his Bells Palsy.

I opened his drink, and handed it to him. He hesitated for a second, so he could get his strength to lift the bottle.

He took a drink of the 7-Up, and handed the bottle back to me.

He didn’t choke. He didn’t cough.

He laid back, relaxed and I watched his eyes open wide. He was looking at something. Intently.

Then I realized.

He was gone.

It was almost instant. It was almost as if he was waiting for that last drink.

My brother, who had been talking to me, moving around, and put his own towel down on this chest only seconds before, was gone.

The next few minutes were a blur. I grabbed my Aunt, I grabbed my Mom, I grabbed my sister in-law who was asleep on the couch.

I made a phone call to my sobbing sister. I called my husband and I couldn’t even speak.

At one point I collapsed onto the floor, because my legs wouldn’t hold me.

Family came. Friends came. Everyone he loved was with him until the funeral home came and took him.

I am crushed. My heart feels a void that can never be filled. I feel immense guilt for being the one who was with him when he passed. I feel such priviledge for being the one who was with him when he passed. I feel like I robbed my parents of a moment that should have been theirs.

The thing I feel the most?

I wasn’t ready.hands





Monthly Sub Monday- Your Bijoux Box for July

*This was sent to me for review. My opinion is my own*

I LOVE this monthly box. I love getting the surprises in the mail. I LOVE jewelry..what more can you ask for? Let’s check it out!

This months theme was “Happy Fourth of July.” I received a necklace, bracelet and earrings.

Art Deco Collar

“Art Deco jewelry is marked by its geometry and symmetry, and this gorgeous collar necklace reminds us of the beautiful lines of the Chrysler Building in New York. Solid colors and simple lines will highlight this timeless stunner.”11722030_436591113187088_1968772053_n 11713431_436591093187090_118571916_nIsn’t this piece simply gorgeous? I love anything with a vintage/art deco feel, and you can’t get any better than this! Click on the photo to view it closer up, the details are just wonderful!

Tiny Fishie Earrings

“Sweet little preppy-chic earrings are a whimsical nod to summer. Wear our fave outfit of the season, a starched poplin midi skirt, comfortable tee and a pair of barely there gold slides.”

11693161_436591043187095_1634463739_nThese earrings are very cute. They definitely fit in with the Fourth of July theme with the blue and white stripes. They have cute little details, with the crystal eyes. Honestly, these are not my style, but they do fit in well with the theme. 

Meridian Silver Bracelet

“This sparkler was designed to compliment the Meridian silver pendant in the May box. We love the beachy vibe! It pairs well with blues and greens and will give a pop of color to any all white ensemble.”11694157_436591076520425_330966247_n
This piece is GORGEOUS, but it doesn’t really fit in with the theme of the box. Aside from that, the vintage feel I get from this, makes me so happy. The glass cabochons, the crystals, its just perfect.

Here is the pendant that it matches.11692893_436591066520426_1428803804_nIsn’t this set wonderful? I am secretly hoping we get some earring to match :-)


Your Bijoux Box is $35 a month, and in my opinion worth every penny. You can join here, if you are interested!

Beauty Blog Coalition Roundup!


Su:um Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick- Review

I saw this cleanser on Refinery 29 several months ago. I immediately searched it out on the internet, which wasn’t easy because it was sold out everywhere. ( I wound up finding it on Amazon.)

The cleanser was touted as a miracle cleanser, and several people interviewed said it was the best facial cleanser they had ever used. So of course, I had to have it!


11657420_432070063639193_351679875_nFrom Sokoglam,com:

“SU:M37 is a luxury beauty brand based in Korea that specializes in naturally fermented skincare. Fermentation is the process in which yeast secretes enzymes that are beneficial for the skin. Amino acids, such as glycine, encourage the production of collagen and increases cell vitality.

“SU:M” represents the Korean word for respiration and “37” signifies the optimal fermentation temperature. SU:M37 products are also free of fragrances, artificial colors, and synthetic preservatives.

It’s clean cleansing without that tight, squeaky clean feel.

The good: An advanced cleanser with a delicate lather that will melt away daily impurities naturally. Contains fermented damask rose extract and more than 90% natural ingredients, eliminating dryness without leaving any residue behind. Free from artificial colors, parabens, and synthetic preservatives. Recommended for all skin types.

The really good: The convenient twist-as-you-go tube packaging makes it easy to travel with the SU:M37 Cleansing Stick. The non-liquid formula means easy cleansing on the go, from air travel to the gym.

– See more at:

This cleanser is amazing. It works incredibly well. I use it with my Clairsonic device and my face feels like butter when I am done. It takes such a small amount, that this stick lasts a very long time. 11692938_432069860305880_1760335116_nThe instructions are all in Korean, but the illustrations are self explanatory, and it is easy to use. I throw it in my bag for travel, and keep it in my shower for everyday use.

It has actual rose petals in it for gentle exfoliation!11653210_432069326972600_434967613_nThe rose scent is very subtle, but it is there. It lathers up very nicely, when you apply on a wet face. It doesnt remove mascara very well, but I honestly don’t think that is what it is meant for.

The range of cost for this cleanser that I have seen is $34-$36. I honestly think it is worth every penny. It works well, lasts a very long time and is so nice for travel. Not to mention it makes your skin feel so nice and soft!

I purchased mine on Amazon, but you can also purchase here.

Restful Sleep by Botanyst-Review

*Powered by Restful Sleep and Brandbacker*
Since I lost my brother, I haven’t been sleeping as well. Slowly it has gotten better, but it was really bad for awhile.
I knew when I had the opportunity to try this, that I should, because I was feeling extremely drained and exhausted, and needed some help.cIX106KnRMeP7P8RqjsH_RSP.a.zoom[1]
About the Product

“Natural sleep supplement calms your mind, so you can wake up refreshed…but not drowsy.Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs and essential minerals in Restful Sleep™ help to:

– Calm and quiet a restless mind and body
– Promote a full night’s restful sleep
– Nourish chi to bring harmony and balance into the body
– Promote calm throughout the day
– Restore vitality to the spleen and heart organ systems

Can’t fall asleep? Wake up several times during the night? Trouble feeling rested even after a full night’s sleep? Oftentimes an overactive mind is what keeps us from getting a full—and good—night’s sleep. But did you know your spleen is KEY to healthy sleep? That’s why Dr. Yan Ping Xu, certified practitioner of Oriental medicine and board certified herbalist, developed safe, non-addictive, Restful Sleep natural sleep supplement to help restore balance to your spleen’s—and whole body—chi (energy) so you can have a full night of restorative sleep and wake up refreshed, never drowsy.

Great sleep starts in the spleen…

Restful Sleep natural sleep supplement is based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine belief that sleep issues start with the spleen. That’s right—not the brain. Because in traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s believed that when you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s your spleen’s chi that is off balance. In fact, in Chinese medicine, the spleen is a VERY important organ that every other organ in your body relies on. Here are just a few ways the spleen is central to your body—metabolism, digestion, even circulation—all of which can have an impact on your sleep.

The bottom line is, when your spleen chi is out of balance, you can experience worry, fatigue, anxiety, and restlessness—all of which can contribute to a poor night’s sleep! The good news is you CAN get your spleen’s—and your whole body’s—chi back in balance, and Restful Sleep can help.

Ancient Chinese herbs restore and rebalance chi for a good night’s sleep

The ancient herbal blend that the Chinese have been relying on for thousands of years to remedy sleep problems by rebalancing chi is called Yi-Fang. Restful Sleep’s formula uses the same exact Chinese herbs in Yi-Fang that have been used for over 2,000 years! And to make sure the herbs are pure and top quality, Dr. Xu personally selects each herb on her yearly trips to China, then makes sure each herb is processed, purified, and sterilized to remove any toxins—all done right here in the U.S.A.dI6AWUr2SFerTvgH7p8N_RSP.b.detail[1]

Essential minerals absorb overnight, for overall health

But, not only has Dr. Xu included ancient herbs to rebalance your spleen chi, she’s also included modern-day nutrients to help prepare your body to accept the herbs. This includes calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

These nutrients help the herbs absorb into your body more efficiently so they can get to work even faster. And the best part is—unlike other traditional Chinese herbal remedies where you have to make some kind of herbal concoction or mix with tea (and the smell and taste can be awful)—she’s put all these potent herbs and Western nutrients into one daily dose of easy-to-take capsules!

Getting the most out of Restful Sleep

Restful Sleep provides a gentle, restorative sleep. It doesn’t knock you out like other sleep remedies. Dr. Xu knows that most people can’t sleep because they can’t stop thinking, so she created Restful Sleep to work like an “off switch” to a hyperactive mind. If you’ve have not been sleeping well for years, it may take a short while to achieve great sleep so you use it consistently for best results. Dr. Xu tells her patients to “keep taking Restful Sleep and in a couple of weeks you’ll see that you are sleeping longer and better than you have in years.”

A full night’s sleep, without the drowsiness

Restful Sleep natural sleep supplement provides the exact herbs your body needs to bring the spleen, heart, and entire body into harmony so you can switch off your mind and turn on a great night’s sleep—without waking up drowsy!

Plus, for even more calming of the spirit and help to balance your mood—both key for achieving a good night’s rest—try Dr. Xu’s Serenia alongside Restful Sleep. Taken together, these two botanical blends provide optimal support for a balanced mood, relaxed mind and body, and a great night’s sleep!”

I have used melatonin in the past, with good result. This product also delivered fairly well. I felt relaxed about 20 minutes after I took a dose. I was able to fall asleep within 25-30 minutes. I usually take a good hour to get settled in, tired and actually fall asleep, without the help of a sleep aid.
I found this works a bit slower, and gentler than melatonin, and sometimes I like to have something that works quicker. This product is good, but not as good as melatonin, as far as that goes. However, if you need help falling asleep, I would absolutely recommend this product, because it really did work for me. -if you wish to purchase.

20% Off for my readers is: SAVEREST

Use the code at checkout for 20% off, expires Dec 30, 2015.

Monthly Sub Monday- Pet Giftbox

*This box was sent to me for review. My opinion is my own. (and my cats)*

This box has been so much fun to receive. My animals have loved all the toys and treats and lovies they have received.

Junes box had a dinosaur theme- ” Purrasic Park.” (how clever is that?)11280619_425950557584477_1128273007_n(That dinosaur sticker cracks me up!)

But what is inside that red and white paper, cleverly sealed with that cute sticker? Lets find out!

Plush dinosaurs and Catnip Spray-$13.99

This innovative, play activated spray will release bubbles of catnip like a scratch and sniff sticker!

10814128_425950500917816_224516062_nI gotta tell you, my cats went CRAZY over these little dinos! They carried them around in their mouths and slung them around the house. The catnip spray is potent, and definitely adds to their enjoyment. I love finding the little plus dinos all over the house. They are just so darn cute!

Purely Natural Buffalo Bites- $3.99

Leaner than beef and higher in protein, these all natural treats will bring out the saber tooth tiger in your kitty.11535196_425950487584484_802605451_o
Ok, I am not going to lie. I don’t know what it is about my cats, but they won’t go near treats. They sniff them and walk away. However, the dog seems to like them just fine, so he has been enjoying them. My cats are weird.

Bungee Teaser Wand- $4.99

Take cover as your cat swoops down like a Pterosaur to grab the feathers or toy at the end of this wand. 11414479_425950530917813_658908209_nSo when it comes to this toy, we had good news, and we had bad news. The good news was the cats went CRAZY over it. The bad news, they tore it up in just a few days. I am not upset about it, because isn’t that what toys are for, to play with and break? Seriously kitties though, SLOW DOWN!!!

Scratch and Roll- $7.99

Infused with catnip to lure the fiercest feline pedator, this toy will provide hours of fun.11297927_425950510917815_1274893279_nThey were not joking when they said this toy would provide hours of fun. My cats play with this constantly. The little feather hasnt fared well, but the ball and bell are still hanging tough. This toy is constantly rolling around my house and it is hilarious.

Chicken Dental Chews- $3.99

If your cats breath could knock over a Brontosaurus, it’s time to freshen their breath with these grain free morsels that help reduce plaque and tartar. Now that is something to roar about!

Again with my goofball cats hating treats. I DO NOT GET IT. Lucky for me my cats don’t have stinky breath, so it is all good!

The total value of this box is $34.99. The most expensive sub option (which is month to month) is $27.99. The value of this box once again exceeded the monthly cost, which includes free shipping! I think this is a great value and so fun to get month to month!

(and psssssst. Use code “stella” to get 25% your first box!)


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