xoxo Rebecca

My Brother

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash


My little brother was born on May 31, 1983 in Ft. Wainwright, Alaska. His name was Thomas. I don't remember the day he was born, as I was still so young as well. We were only fourteen months apart. But he was my best friend growing up. He was tragically killed on December 4, 2017, on his way to work that cold Monday morning. It will be a day in our lives we will never forget. We will never forget when we were told he was pronounced dead at the scene. We never even got to say goodbye until his funeral. He told my mother he was coming over that evening after work for dinner to visit with her. But he never got the chance to show up that night.

I had been wanting to write this sooner, but I hadn't. It's been a little over a month now that we have been learning to deal with him no longer being with us. I'm crying as I write these words. It hurts so bad. I don't think I can ever get over the pain that eats away at my soul. All I do is think about the two of us together and the memories we had growing up.

He was very special. I look back and think about everything from my very first memory, and everything is running in a circle in my head. As if his life keeps flashing before my eyes non-stop...especially at night when I'm lying alone in bed. I cry so much thinking about the horror and tragedy of his death. Of how scared he must have been....the pain he may have felt. Why is this happening to our family? Why out of every second in the world, did it have to happen at that exact moment? I keep thinking why didn't his alarm not go off that morning so he could have been late leaving for work? What if he left for work two minutes earlier?

Would he still be alive? I know he would have been. The police told us that the only good thing to be thankful for was that he did die instantly and would have felt no pain. If there were any moments of him surviving, it would have been just seconds. But then I think those seconds, was he screaming? Was he crying? But they said they are honestly sure it was so instant, he would have never known it happened. And that is the only thing I'm glad for because I can't imagine thinking anything else. That scares me and hurts me so greatly to think he suffered.

As the tears are now hitting my keyboard more and more, I just wish so bad he was still here. He was a good person. He was so happy with everything in his life. He finally met the girl he was going to marry. The only girl he ever cared for and loved and he wanted to start a life with her. He had a good job he loved so much and was a very hard worker. Everyone enjoyed being around him. He also made sure that every stray animal he came across found a home.

The morning of December 4, 2017, keeps playing out in my head like a broken record. I remember waking up around 6:10am to get ready for work and my children off to preschool. The tv was already turned on and the 6:00 news was showing. As I was getting dressed, I glanced over at the tv when I started hearing a news report about a fatal car crash on a major road outside of town. This road is always having reports of crashes. As I took two seconds to look at the tv, I saw an image of a white car, the majority of it covered under a tarp and the police talking about the accident.

I turned off the tv and continued to finish getting myself ready. All I remember thinking to myself was, "Man, not another freaking accident on that road. What is up with these stupid drivers?" ..... little did I ever stop to even think once, I just saw what was left of my little brother's car under a tarp on tv. And I went to work as normal.

It wasn't until I went on my lunch break at noon that I saw a text from my parents telling me to call them ASAP. They had just left earlier that morning to go to Kentucky, which is twelve hours away. I called a bit perplexed why they didn't just call my desk phone at work if they needed to talk to me so bad.

Needless to say, that's when I found out that the car crash I had seen earlier that morning on the news was what was left of my brother and his car. I started screaming, running down three flights of stairs to my boss's office and just collapsed screaming and crying, "My brother's dead!!... my brother's dead!! He was my baby brother"..... I just remember the ladies grabbing me and holding me as I just screamed in their arms.

My parents rushed back home as best as fast as they could. But the timing wasn't important anymore to anyone because there was nothing anyone could do since he was pronounced dead when police and medics arrived on scene. So there as no hope of having ay final moments with him or seeing him or talking to him, praying for a miracle. He was gone on impact.

How it happened was he was driving to work. It was still very dark outside and the road has no lights, no stop signs, nothing.... it's just a long, dark stretch of road that runs about 35 miles long. The speed limit is 60 mph I believe. But people who tend to drive this road always drive much much faster and very dangerous as well.

My brother was like the perfect driver. And I'm not just saying that. He really always followed all the rules. His phone was always in his pocket so he would never be distracted by it while driving, he always took every precaution by wearing his seat belt, making sure his lights worked perfect, his gas was all filled, and everything worked perfectly on the car. He never took his hands off the steering wheel and always was on point with his driving. He even drove under the speed limit everywhere he went.

We found out that when he was hit, he was going 58 mph, which was still under the limit, he had his seatbelt on very securely, and his phone was in his pocket. A 20-year-old decided that he was going to go around the car in front of him, becoming too impatient to wait for an opening to pass. So he decided to pass anyway. My brother was coming around a curve when the other driver was in his lane and smashed into Tom head-on killing Tom instantly. It was a no passing zone and the driver could have waited five more seconds for my brother's car to pass by and then go around the vehicle in front of him. But he didn't. He decided he could get in between them and make it. 

The 20-year-old driving walked away. He was not wearing a seat belt, he had expired license plates, no insurance, on probation right now for a felony he had committed that year... he did suffer a few injuries but is out and living his life normally. He has not be arrested and not charged yet for this incident. I'm hoping justice comes through. 

Tom no longer is alive. He can not go on living a normal life and neither can any of us now. They had to cut the seat belt off of Tom to remove him from the car. He had just bought that car too. A brand new 2017 Ford Fiesta he was so very proud of. He loved that car so much I remember the day he bought it. it was only about a month or so prior to this accident.

When my parents and I went to the car to try and remove what we could of my brother's belongings from it, it was just so horrific to see in person. You couldn't even see into the car. Everything was so smashed in. There was a little blood but not as much as we expected. We were able to find his wallet and the lunch he packed that day to eat while at work. My father and I cut our hands while digging through all the glass trying to look for Tom's phone. We couldn't find it. Later we found out, they found it on his body and had it at the funeral home for us to pick up. There was no drivers side to his car, it was completely ripped off.

From what it looks like, the other vehicle went head on and hit Tom but they Tom's car swerved and his entire driver's side was ripped off. From what we saw, there was no way anyone could have survived the accident in his spot.

We got to see Tom the day before the funeral. Finally, on Friday, they let us see his body. But it did not look like Tom. He did look a lot better en what we were all expecting. There was so much trauma to his head, that he was very swollen. I got so emotional I screamed out that they had the wrong person, this wasn't my brother. But it was my brother. He had just been through so much that they did everything they could to make him look like him. But it didn't feel like him.

Saturday was the funeral. It was the hardest day we could ever imagine. The last and final day we could see him and say our last goodbyes. About 100 family and friends showed up from all over...coming from all over the country to be there for us and to say goodbye to Tom as well. He was so loved by so many and touched so many people's lives.

I brushed my fingers through his hair, kissed his head and held my little brother's hand for so long. I kept talking to him, telling him that I loved him and forgave him for the tension we had as we grew into adults. But I never stopped loving him ad I wanted so bad for him to know that no matter what, he was forever my little brother and my best friend.

I'm crying so bad right now, I'm starting to gag so bad I may throw up. But the service for him was so amazingly beautiful and amazing. It was everything we could have asked for and I know Tom would have liked it as well. Tom is now sitting in an urn on my parents' side table in the living room with a beautiful plaque and his photos surrounding it. This year on his birthday, they want to bury his ashes. At Christmas, his urn was placed under their tree. It was hard and upsetting at Christmas with him not being there this year. His girlfriend and he always went over to my parent's house for Christmas to spend time with them. Then the kids and I would come. This year, there were no presents with Tom's name on them and that really hit my oldest daughter really hard. It made her cry so much missing him since she loved him dearly.

My brother touched so many people that a group of his friends started up a GoFundMe account to have a memorial pavilion built in his honor at his favorite park he was seen at almost every day to go jogging. I'm only posting it so you can see how many people really did love my brother and how they want to keep his memory alive. You can view that HERE.

Every day seems to be getting harder for me. I cry so much lately, I don't even understand why isn't it getting easier? Then I realize...it can't get easier. It's never going to. And it's only been one month. The thoughts, the tears, the memories... they are going to continue to flood me making it harder and harder to concentrate on anything but this at the moment. Then I sit and think I can't even imagine what my parents are going through. Losing their only son, their baby boy, their sweet boy who went through so much as a child and came out to do great things in his life. Only to have it end so early and so tragic. I cannot imagine what it is like to bury a child. I cry so hard for my parents as well...for their pain.

The pain my brother's girlfriend is going through is unbearable as well. I'm so glad he loved her as much as he did because he waited his whole life to find someone like her. She's the most sweetest girl and I'm so glad me and her are going to stay friends and she will always be considered family because she really was.

I'm glad to have gotten to speak these words. To tell my feelings. To talk about what happened. Whether or not it was appropriate, it was something I needed for myself. Most of my friends were also Tom's friends. They know just how important he was to this world and to everyone and he was going to do great things. But now, he will do great things as our angel. He will be forever loved and never once, not thought about. I just wish I could speak to him and give him a hug. I'm glad a least at his funeral, I was able to say my final words of peace and love. 

I was his big sister. I was supposed to protect him. I did growing up, but I can't protect him now. Now, I'm hoping he watches over me and protects me and knows I love him so dearly. My little brother will forever be in my heart. And will always be, my little brother.

It's in the Bag: 5 Cases to Streamline Your Beauty Routine


Who doesn’t love a good beauty kit? These handy little carryalls are designed to help you store and organize all your favorite beauty essentials so that they’re right at arm’s reach when you’re at home or on the go. Pack them in your luggage, carry-on or gym bag or keep them in your purse or backpack for an anytime touch-up. This roundup includes everything from pro makeup bags that you can use to organize your existing haul of makeup and skin care products to curated cosmetic kits that already come with all the basics you need to achieve gorgeous skin. 


  • Farmacy Renewing Anti-Aging Kit — Anyone looking for a good all-in-one anti-aging skin care kit will definitely want to try out this triple-duty set from Farmacy. It comes with a trio of essential anti-aging products — an anti-aging serum, a hydrating night treatment and an AM moisture cream — all of which come neatly packaged in a cute, zippered carrying case.

    You get a full-sized version of Invincible Anti-Aging Serum and compact versions of the other two products so you can easily toss this skin kit in your luggage, gym bag or purse for a major skin boost anytime, anywhere. Bonus: Farmacy skin care products are made with naturally derived ingredients and are never tested on animals.



  • Kate Spade Classic Nylon Micah — If you need a good-quality makeup case that can take the heat of everyday use, you won’t want to pass up this practical and stylish option by Kate Spade. It’s made of ultra-durable nylon and has jersey backing, making it super-easy to wipe down when it becomes soiled with powders, creams, and products. Plus, this all-in-one makeup carrying bag is equipped with tons of extra pockets and closures to store your beauty essentials, brushes, and makeup tools. Oh yeah, and did we mention that it’s finished with 14-karat gold plated hardware? Yes, please!



  • Sephora Tough as Nails Manicure Kit — Don’t go anywhere without all your most-used manicure tools. The Tough as Nails Manicure Kit by the Sephora Collection comes with everything you need to keep your mani on point while you travel, and can be used as a convenient all-inclusive nail care kit at home, too.

    This seven-piece nail toolkit includes a cuticle clipper, two types of nail clippers, scissors, a cuticle pusher, a cuticle trimmer and toenail clippers. Plus, it comes in a super-cute, striped bag that you can toss in your weekender or gym bag. You can use this kit as your go-to travel nail kit or keep it in your desk drawer at work to address unexpected nail snafus. 



  • Chi Essentials Travel Set — If you’re crazy about Chi hair tools — the eco-friendly styling tool maker that propelled the use of the ceramic hair straightener — then you’re going to want to get in on this awesome Chi travel set. It comes with everything you need to take your fave tools on the go, including travel-sized versions of the Chi Tourmaline Ceramic Hairstyling Iron and the Chi Hair Dryer. Plus, it also comes with a compact paddle hairbrush and heat-protecting hairspray. This set is ideal for traveling since it comes with a convenient thermal-protectant carrying case that keeps your hot tools safe while you’re on the go.


  • Too Faced Teddy Bear Hair Brush Set — Every makeup-lover needs a good set of high-quality makeup brushes, and we’re especially crazy about the Teddy Bear line from Too Faced. The brand’s brush kits are made with silky-soft “Teddy Bear Hair” that’s similar to natural hair fiber but comes with none of the animal cruelty required from traditional animal brushes.

    This all-in-one makeup brush kit comes with five essential brushes — a powder brush, a blending brush, an eye brush, a small crease brush and a brow brush — all of which come packaged in an adorable zippered carrying case with a cute teddy bear charm for taking with you wherever you go.




Happy New Year

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

2017 was the hardest year yet in my entire life. I sadly feel I cannot say one good thing about the year at all so as you could imagine, I'm so glad to see it gone. With so many terrible hardships and a tragic death in my family, the destruction of my marriage, and finding out the truth of those that I thought I could trust .... it's been a really terrible year. More than I could have ever imagined.

So I am very hopeful that 2018 is much kinder and caring and better to me and my family then 217 turned out to be. As you can see, I've not blogged in almost a year. I've wanted to, but couldn't deal with everything going on at the time plus writing. I would begin to write then delete it, thinking that maybe I shouldn't say anything.

But here is to a brand new year, a brand new look on life, and a brand new beginning to happiness again.

I'm hoping this year is very positive and brings out so much happiness and peace ... which I really need in my life right now. 2017 seemed to be a very tragic one and now with a brand new beginning ahead of us, I hope to look forward to something more peaceful this year. It will be a hard struggle but I am hopeful this year will be of much more happiness.

I don't really have any resolutions this year. Not like those I've made in the past. I think my only resolutions are more like wishes. I wish for peace with in myself and my family. Especially through this time of hard tragedy we just had to go through last month with the tragic and sudden death of my little brother. I also wish peace with my children, my husband and myself and that we can get through the hardships we dealt with this past year. Maybe we can reconcile the past and feel free for the future. 

Whatever 2018 may bring, I do know I hope it brings us peace. Peace in our minds and peace in our hearts. That's all I'm asking for because I cannot go through anymore hurt and pain that 2017 had brought every day to me.

This year will be a better year. I can't wait for that to finally kick in. I'm also hoping to finally get back into blogging again more. I really do miss it and I hope to really kick back off my art career again. I've been applying to several jobs now to get back into my field. 

So to start off this year right, I searched Pinterest and came across this really great printable from Clementine Creative. I really was drawn to the first one on her list. 



So I downloaded it and printed it off right away and hung it up to remind myself and our family to always stay positive. There is always good in things so keep looking up no matter how hard the situation may be. Which is something we really need right now.  

I also really love all the fantastic and fun and beautiful calendars you find on Pinterest now. I'm also drawn to how creative each designer is with theirs. So this year, I found this particular one from Short Stop Designs and decided this was the one we would use for the year.


It looks so lovely all printed out and hung up in our kitchen. I wanted to thank both the designers I mentioned today for their gracious contributions to making their hard work free to download and use. I encourage everyone to stop by both these blogs and check out their sites and take a look around a bit. Both blogs are just fabulous. 

Happy New Year everyone! I really hope this year makes for the best one for you too. Let me know what you are looking forward to this new year and what you are hoping from it.

Top 7 Skin Care Tips To Slow Down Skin Aging


Aging is an inevitable physiological process for humans. Everyone is bound to age through time. Although unavoidable, however, it doesn’t mean that there’s no way for you to slow it down or make it less obvious.

If you are on the hunt for effective tips on how you can make signs of aging slower, here are 7 things you should do.


1. Avoid sleeping with your face pressed against your pillow

Sleep is one of the most essential things to slowing down signs of skin aging and getting healthier skin. You need to have at least 6 to 8 hours of good rest at night to help your skin repair and rejuvenate itself. Apart from having ample rest, your sleeping position is crucial to how your skin looks, too.

Frequently sleeping with your face against the pillow can put you at an increased risk of developing “sleep lines”. Over time, these lines can turn into fine lines and wrinkles.

Sleeping in such way is also one of the reasons why you always seem to wake up looking puffy and bloated. The position allows blood and fluid to pool in your face.

Other than wrinkles, pressing your face against your pillow at night can also lead to skin breakouts, especially if you’re not always changing your sheets or linens. Using irritating fabrics is bad for the skin, too.

Frequent replacements and sleeping in a supine position will save you from having to constantly use the best concealer for acne prone skin just to hide your skin’s blemishes.


2. Add an anti-aging serum to your skincare routine

Moisturizers are great in maintaining your skin’s moisture and hydration level. However, for aging skin, they may not be enough.

Anti-aging serums contain potent ingredients to address your skin’s specific needs, like antioxidants to protect your skin against free radical damages. Some of these serums can also boost collagen production so your skin can regain its elasticity and suppleness.

Serums are best used way before you see signs of skin aging.You don’t have to wait until you are 40 before you start using serums. In fact, the earlier you start, the slower wrinkles and fine lines will appear on your face.


3. Don’t skip your skin care routine

If you haven’t started on one yet, now is probably the right time. Failure to establish an appropriate skin care routine is like neglecting your skin. It can hasten the formation of wrinkles and skin blemishes that even the best foundation for acne prone skin will have a hard time covering.

Start with using a gentle facial wash twice a day to get rid of the day’s dirt and oil. Follow up with a toner to bring back your skin’s natural moisture and to prep your skin for the creams and serums you’ll be applying after.

Exfoliating twice a week can also help you keep younger-looking skin. With exfoliation, you’ll be removing dead skin cells, dirt and other impurities that are making your skin dull. It can also help improve product absorption, too.

You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money on skin care products. The trick is in finding which products will work best for your skin type.


4. Be sure to hydrate

Aging skin is often accompanied by dryness, flaking, and roughness. These things are commonly caused by the thinning epidermal layer, decreased cellular turnover rate and skin’s diminished capability to retain water. Over time, the skin can lose its suppleness.

Before any of these things happen, be sure to keep yourself hydrated. Although it’s generally recommended that you drink 8 glasses of water per day, you can increase it up to 12 glasses, especially when it’s hot and humid.

You should also keep your water intake in check during the cold season. Because of the temperature, it’s relatively easy to not feel thirsty and lose count of your glasses. Apart from water, it’s also a good idea to drink one glass of milk per day.


5. Eat a balanced diet

This tip can sound like a cliche, but it’s frequently advised for all the good reasons.

For one, eating a balanced diet supplies your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to maintain its function. Fruits and vegetables are also loaded with antioxidants that can help slow down skin aging.

Eating junk foods, on the other hand, can accelerate your skin’s (and even your teeth’s) aging process, especially if you indulge on a continuous basis. Foods you should avoid include too much sweets, alcohol, and salty foods.


6. Spend more time outdoors

Stress is often a culprit for dull, tired-looking skin. One way you can beat it is by spending more time outdoors. Being under the early sun can improve your mood and make you feel more energetic throughout the day.

However, before you head out, it’s very important that you use sun protection. Apply your sunscreen before heading out and make sure your sun exposure isn’t between 10 am and 4 pm.

If you aren’t sure about what to do outdoors, try exercising. It can help flush out toxins from your body. Apart from that, it can also improve blood circulation and oxygenation to your cells, including your skin.


7. Ditch smoking

Smoking isn’t only detrimental to your health. It can also make you look older than your actual age.
The more cigarettes you smoke and the longer you’ve been smoking, the more obvious nicotine’s effects on your skin will be.

Nicotine is a potent vasoconstrictor which means it has the ability to constrict your blood vessels. The narrower your vessels become, the less blood, oxygen, and nutrients can reach your cells. As your cells become deprived of these things, the more your skin becomes saggy and wrinkly.

Apart from its effect on your blood vessels, there are also other chemicals in cigarettes that can adversely affect your skin’s collagen and elastin production. These two are what make the skin supple and elastic. Pursing your lips every time you smoke can also create lines on your face.


"Hannah Do is the founder of Thank Your Skin, a beauty blog dedicated to providing honest skin care advice and information. She aspires to help her readers achieve their most beautiful skin by sharing personal tips learned through both years of experience and thorough research. Check out her latest articleYou can find her on TwitterPinterest and Facebook"



Free March 2017 Calendar Printable



Hello lovelies! It's been so long since I sat and wrote a blog post and I have some good reasons for that. Life has been a big whirlwind since the start of this year and so many changes have happened and my family has needed my time. But I'm trying hard to get back into the game of blogging again. I miss everything about it, including all of you!

So I sat down today and decided to give a few things a try. I wanted to design my own calendar for the month of March since it's fast approaching. And I wanted to share it all with you! So I have created two similar, but different designs to choose from. My inspiration came from the night sky with these. I wanted something gold foil and dark blue. Something a bit different and bold that would stand out.

I decided I wanted to try a new thing called Freebie Friday. I would love to offer something free on Fridays to all of you. It may not be every Friday but I am going to try to make this a habit to keep on designing each week and get back into the habit of it.


And the best part, it's free to just download, print, and start using! Easy peasy.




To grab a copy of them for yourself, just click on one of the share buttons below to share this post and you will see a download button appear. Just click on that and save to your desktop. Then print and use! These files are in PDF form.



Share via Facebook / Twitter / Google Plus to see Link Download




I typed out before printing all the important dates so far that I need to remember and keep track of. I'm sure I'll be handwriting more in there as well as things come up. I prefer typing them in, but that's just a personal preference. You can take this PDF into a photo editing software and add in your own type. I used Adobe Illustrator because that's what I used when creating this so it was just easy to pop in the text.



If you enjoyed this, let me know. I am always happy to hear feedback from everything. This will always be a free download and I would love to create more in the future. If you guys liked these, I may do one for April as well.


What Happens If My Neighbor Builds Over The Property Line?


You've been watching construction over at your neighbor's house, and now you are realizing that they have crossed over onto your property with their project. Now, what do you do?

Make Sure First
Don't rely on your vague notion of boundary lines to make your judgment on your neighbor's building project. Check on your own property deeds or with the council office to find out precisely where that boundary really is. If this information is not available or you simply can't make out the lines on your own, you can hire a professional residential property surveyor to do the investigation for you.

Remember, you have a right to protect your boundaries and that usually also includes a certain amount of space on their side as well. In other words, if your neighbor’s new shed is literally up against the line of the boundary, you still may have a case against them.

Ignore It
To maintain good relations with a neighbor, you may want to consider doing nothing. If his new shed is a foot on your property and it genuinely doesn't impact your own use of the space, you may not want to press the issue simply because you can.

One thing to remember with this choice is that legal action left too long will be less successful than anything you do immediately. If a structure or fence is over the line, but was not a concern for 7 years, then your claim will lose some credibility. If you decide to ignore it, you should expect to ignore it permanently.

Talk to Them
Nobody wants an expensive legal battle so you can try to come to an agreement unofficially between you. If the structure or fence can be moved, that is one option or you can come up with something that works for both of you. Perhaps you can have access to that new pool occasionally, or store your weed trimmer in the new shed. Just make it clear to them that they have crossed the border and you do have the right to legal action if you can't agree on something.

Or you can simply let them know that the problem exists just so that it's out in the open and known to both parties. It might come in handy later to remind them of this infraction when you need a favor or something else has to be arranged between you.

Take Legal Action
Hopefully, you won't simply jump to this option, but it is definitely within your rights to do so. If you take this route, prepare for a lengthy process and plan on having as much paperwork as possible to back up your claim. Your word against theirs isn't going to hold up in court to establish a boundary. You'll need ownership documents as well as an official map or survey of the property.

The specific process will vary by region as the local laws involving property boundaries are not universal. Talk to your council office and they can probably tell you the right steps or help you contact a lawyer that specializes in property disputes.

Take time to consider your options. Creating a permanent rift in any neighbor relationships because you insisted a shed be torn down may not be worth gaining back a few square feet of property.