Five Years Without My Mom

Grief + Loss //

When I was a little girl my biggest fear was her dying. I was a strong type 4 as a child even, and my emotions often felt overwhelming. With her though, I always felt heard, needed, seen, appreciated.

My worst fears came true that cold morning in 2013, and now today we celebrate five years closer to seeing her again. Losing my mom was only the beginning of a string of losses and eulogies and grief so thick you can grab right ahold of it.

It’s been a challenge the last few years to decipher who to miss, who to think of, which loss weighs heavier that particular day - but when it comes down to it, as my sister said this morning, “They’re experiencing HEAVEN. They wouldn’t come back even if they could.”

And I smiled.

Because half of us there means half of us is here. And we have her to thank for us who remains. The mother who gave me the two best sisters in all the world.

Happy Heaven day, mama. We sure miss you, but know you’re surrounded by love and are grateful for all the light that you left.


My Wellness Story

My regret though, and it is sizable and tender, is that I let myself suffer and deteriorate - body and soul. And it’s naive to think that didn’t have profoundly negative effects on my children and my husband. I know it did. I cared for all (3) of them the best I could. But the person I was dragging back to our home, week after week, was a poor substitute for the wife and the mother I wanted to be. I was not well. But I was very, very productive. And it didn’t occur to me to stop. In a thousand ways you live by the sword and you die by the sword when you allow other people to determine your best choices, when you allow yourself to be carried along by what other people think your life should be, could be, must be? When you hand them the pen and tell them to write your story? You don’t get the pen back. Not easily anyway. 

-Shauna Niequist


I enjoy a good story. Hearing why people are passionate, what led them to where they are, what’s their why. It’s because of this I’d like to share a bit about my own.. Specifically, my wellness story.

For me wellness is both physical, it is emotional, and it is spiritual. It’s a fine balance of listening to my body, honoring gut instinct, and making decisions for myself and our family based on a lot of prayer, research, and open-mindedness.

This has looked differently over the years and it’s been an ever evolving journey, one that has twisted and turned, surprising me at nearly every corner. I’ve felt both empowered and terrified, strong and weak, but I’ve also come to a place of peace with the balance we’ve created.

The First Loss

When my mom died in 2013 of a rare, aggressive cancer, I was paralyzed with fear. I lost all trust in modern medicine, in most doctors, and certainly in the specific insurance network she had. I read all 1,200 pages of her medical records shortly after she passed, through the blur of wet eyes, and felt the pain of her loss in a fierce and surprising way. Those records were bursting with medical mistakes on the part of her care team and it would take years for me to come out of that anger.


My entire life anxiety has plagued me, though I wouldn’t understand the disorder until I was well into adulthood. PPD was an unexpected guest after two of my three babies, so needless to say, I have been wading in the waters of doubt and uncertainty when it comes to what wellness means to me for a very long time.


I’ve always leaned towards more holistic choices for our family - turning to things such as colloidal silver, elderberry syrup, essential oils, and good ole vitamin D before jumping the gun to the pediatricians office. We have found and enjoyed discovering all that this earth has to offer, created by a God who loves + cares for us. With that being said, I can appreciate the place western medicine plays in our society, despite the horror story my sweet mama endured in her final months.


My faith has brought me out of the darkness of those days, giving me more peace and certainty that the right balance for our family is, the right balance for our family. We have the unique opportunity to do what we feel is best for ourselves and our children - what a blessing!


Since losing my mom, grief has come calling again, not once but twice. In early 2017 my brother died of a Fentanyl overdose, devastating us all. Nine months later, my sister and I would hold our dad’s hand as he too entered Heaven. Medically, a fungal infection took him - but I know the brokenness of his heart was his ultimate demise. Emotionally, the last five years have been the hardest I’ve had to walk through and I’ve been exploring what this new normal looks like. It’s a continual search, but I’m beginning to find just the right pieces that fit this puzzle.

my heart

I’m a passionate advocate for mental health, living life after loss, breaking the stigma of addiction, and doing what is best for YOU. Not your neighbor or your cousin, but doing what is the best thing for you and your family. I share a lot about our emotional and physical wellness over on Instagram, as well as here.

My journey towards holistic health and the balance it plays in our lives has been shaped by an assortment of resources: namely my sister, a handful of lovely + incredible friends, and of course some women I’ve only had the pleasure of knowing through a screen - but none the less, I am inspired, educated, and better for it.

Thank you for joining me here. It’s really an honor to speak from my heart, and hopefully, encourage + inspire you as well.


Fruit + Veggie Wash Naturally

Natural Fruit + Veggie Cleaner /

A few years ago I shared my easy go-to for cleaning fresh fruits, I’ve since taken it a step further and wanted to give you an update. The method in my previous post about this still works fine, but I heard really good things about the Thieves Fruit + Veggie Soak, so I added it to my monthly wellness box and am really pleased.

The sheer number of oils included in this natural cleaner blew me away. Essentially it’s made up of Young Living’s very own DiGize, Purification, and Thieves blends. But what exactly does that mean? Here is a breakdown of every oil in this powerhouse, super concentrated, 16oz jug:

  • Tarragon oil

  • Ginger root oil

  • Peppermint oil

  • Juniperus osteosperma oil

  • Fennel oil

  • Lemongrass oil

  • Clove bud oil

  • Rosemary leaf oil

  • Citronella oil

  • Anise seed oil

  • Lemon peel oil

  • Patchouli oil

  • Cinnamon bark oil

  • Tea tree leaf oil

  • Lavandin oil

  • Eucalyptus radiata oil

  • Tunisian Myrtle oil

  • Moroccan Myrtle oil


I mean, that’s a flipping whole lot of gorgeous essential oils, to naturally remove build up, dirt, and who on earth knows what is on our produce these days, for as low as $19.75 (wholesale, retail price is $25.99). Incredibly, that breaks down to just .62c PER USE.

Natural Fruit + Veggie Cleaner /

Just look, at that, water. This was after soaking a carton of strawberries from the store. I couldn’t believe how much ick came off of them.

How to Use:

I toss about 1/2 ounce (or 1T) for every bowl (roughly half gallon) of water. Completely cover produce and soak (I give it a little stir) for 1–2 minutes. Then, I rinse with clean water in my strainer. It’s completely tasteless, and I trust that I’m not giving my family fresh fruits and veggies with a side of garbage.

Natural Fruit + Veggie Spray for On the Go /

Take it on the go!

I also added this little gem to my wellness box, so when we are out, I can quickly wash any produce we might pick up. It’s a little 2oz Fruit + Veggie Spray and fits perfectly in my purse! Simply spray, rub for about 30 seconds, and rinse. Easy as can be.


This post contains affiliate links. By clicking through, you help to support this blog and our family, so thank you! Read our full disclosure policy HERE.

What is Dry Brushing and Why Do It (bonus tips, too!)

Dry Brushing /

Earlier this year we were able to have our eyes looked at by our amazing Iridologist (lots more on this soon). One of the biggest takeaways for me was what she saw regarding my lymphatic system. It doesn’t drain well, which can lead to a laundry list of concerns, namely one of my biggest fears since losing my mom: cancer.

I began to research and study the lymphatic system and was surprised by what I found, but as always, knowledge is power. Dry Brushing kept popping up as a way to stimulate the lymph to move, so I ordered a set of brushes and haven’t looked back.

What is and Why Dry Brush?

According to Dr. Mercola, “Dry skin brushing promotes lymphatic drainage of toxic waste, which results in many other benefits such as improved immunity, refreshed skin, and reduction of cellulite.”

Our skin is our largest organ, (the one responsible for elimination) after all, and so often overlooked in the care of our bodies. Skin plays a massive role in detoxifying the body and when unable to do so properly, waste can not be removed, and we become sick.

When we Dry Brush, our lymph is woken up, and better able to release toxins and waste. It’s known to reduce cellulite, energize you in the morning, improve circulation, and most importantly, eliminate toxic waste.. All good stuff.

How to Dry Brush

First, be sure your brush is made of natural materials - this is super important. Mine is made of Boar bristles. Dry Brushing shouldn’t hurt, you’ll feel it, yes, but you shouldn’t wince with every brush. I made the mistake of getting my first brush at Target and thought “How on earth do people do this every day, ouch!”. Thankfully I did my research, and ended up with this set, which I love (the long handle option is amazing for my back).

  1. Always brush towards your heart, and begin at your feet. I like doing short bursts, not too much pressure, remember, this isn’t supposed to cause pain.

  2. I begin with the bottoms of my feet, moving to the tops, and up both legs. Especially concentrating on my thighs (go away cellulite, go).

  3. Next I do my tummy, and sides (small circles on belly) and moving up to my breasts (super, super important in allowing lymph movement to avoid breast cancer - also remember to be gentle here due to sensitive skin).

  4. Then, my arms/hands. Going from finger tips and “down” towards my heart, including armpits (again, important).

  5. I move onto my back and butt now, that long handle attachment is super handy here, and man it feels so good on my back!

  6. I love the Kit I got, as it includes a softer face brush, I use this on my neck and face (softer brushing here).

  7. That’s it! I like to shower after to wash off all the brushed skin (alternating hot and cold water helps improve circulation as well!).

I also like Hello Glow’s video if you need a little visual!

Dry Brushing /

What Then

After my shower, I like to massage various essential oils onto my skin in combination with a high quality, organic, cold-pressed coconut oil (I like this one). A few fave combos:

  • Grapefruit + Cypress

    Grapefruit (one of my top fave oils ever) is a powerhouse known to improve cellulite by tightening the skin + Cypress is known to increase circulation and tone the skin!

  • Rosemary + Cedarwood

    Rosemary is one of those great for moving lymph and improving circulation + Cedarwood maintains the appearance of healthy, youthful skin.

  • Lemon + Cypress

    Lemon helps reduce the appearance of aging + Cypress is known to increase circulation and tone the skin!

(Keep in mind that citrus oils are photosensitive, so be sure to avoid direct sunlight or UV rays for up to 12 hours after topical application.)

A few helpful links

Dry Brush Kit on Amazon

Dr. Mercola on Dry Brushing

Video on Dry Brushing via Hello Glow

Essential Oils for applying after Brushing

Coconut Oil for diluting Eos


This post contains affiliate links. By clicking through, you help to support this blog and our family, so thank you! Read our full disclosure policy HERE.

Learning How to Honor Grief

Learning to Honor Grief /

Fall and I have a love-hate relationship. What was once my favorite season became one scarred with loss and an aching I thought would never leave. A few years after losing my mom, autumn emerged and I began to enjoy the parts that once hurt.

And then I lost my dad.

Sometimes three losses in four years feels an impossible load to carry. My back hurts. My shoulders. My heart. Some days I feel immense gratitude, joy even. Light on my feet. Thankful for small wonders. The next day, the load weighs me down, in a deep and impossible-to-catch-my-breath sort of way.

I’m starting to remember and to honor both sorts of days. To acknowledge their place in my story. To stop apologizing. To just be in them, knowing the tunnel is just that. Light on the other end. Worth the walking.

I’m taking some new steps this week, to walk with more intent, towards what I know I need. And that’s the important thing I think. That we do the thing we must, even when we feel we can’t. We must fight. I must fight. So I am. Grace upon grace. Upon grace. Upon grace.


When the Missing is Too Much - on Grief

When Grief is Too Much /

Sometimes the missing can be so conflicting. Who do I think about next? My mom? My brother? My dad? There are certain things that instantly take me to one of them and I weep. But sometimes - sometimes it’s a combination of the three.

At these times my sister and I simply say, “I miss the family” and that about covers it. Still it’s hard. There’s a guilt/shame feeling for not missing one as much as the others (when in reality this is the normal order of things). There’s unfinished business. Unanswered questions. Words left unspoken. And just so much life to share.

It’s been five years since I last sent my mom our back to school photos. Up until this year, I could at least send them to my dad - who would rave at how big the kids have gotten, tell me how proud he is, and remind me how much he misses living close. Before that my brother was included. Now - it’s left to my sisters.

But it stings some. The missing of them. The calls and photos unsent. The updates, funny stories, wild antics. I miss all of that every day stuff. I miss it x three - and though time does heal, when it’s the dark, quiet of night, grief reveals itself again.

And I have to sit with it. Acknowledge it. And let it move through. It’s not easy stuff - and I may not talk about it publicly as I once did, that doesn’t diminish the truth of it: loss is inevitable, it’s unfair, it hurts, but it’s life. I’ve walked some hard, tough roads in my thirty-six years, but I’m here. I’m still standing. And I intend to be for a long time yet.


The Pinterest Lab - Week One

The Pinterest Lab - a Series - Angie Warren -

I'm pretty stoked to be bringing you an eight-part series all about Pinterest (and my experience with Jenna Kutcher's Pinterest Lab). This is going to be a totally unbiased, honest to the core, glimpse into me implementing the course + seeing what comes of it. Complete with my own analytics each week. I know it helps to read other people's genuine reviews and journeys with a workshop or course, so I thought perhaps you'd like to hop along for this ride!


Pinterest Lab - a Series - Angie Warren -

Essentially it's a 3-module, online, do at your own pace, workshop all about how to use Pinterest to benefit your business. The first module is Clarifying Your Client, second is Powerful Pinning Strategies, and the third is Automating and Analysis. It's full to the brim with videos, PDF downloads, a workbook (mine is printed and in a cute binder already), tracker, and tons of bonuses.

A few things I had already put into place, but the rest, so far, is BRILLIANCE. My Pinterest is a MESS ten ways to Sunday, oy. But, not for long!

I'm just about to work through module 2 and am real excited. There is a step at the end of module 1 that's going to take me a hot minute (or week or more) but, worth it. Every tiny bit.

I'm committing to her, 10 minutes a day "account clean up" (a bit more when I can) as well as working through the modules/videos and will check back here with a new post each week for the eight-week tracking schedule because seeing the analytics change SHOULD be the push to keep at it!

You can read all the rest on The Pinterest Lab site.


It's funny because, people are typically not quick to reveal these kinds of stats, but in my attempt at being completely authentic, I'd love for you to be able to follow along. So, without further ado, here are all the very beginning numbers. It's day 1 of officially implementing the strategies (disclosure: I got the course weeks ago, but have taken some time to work through the first module, because, life.)

Random note: as I work on cleaning up my Pinterest + using all the incredible tips and tools Jenna shares, I'm looking forward to seeing that banner up at the top reflect my brand a heck of a lot more!

Angie's Stats. As of today, June 13:

    Easy to find this number, these are how many people I have following me on Pinterest. I've had an account since the beginning of Pinterest time, but have never used it for business/marketing, or been strategic with it.
    Ouch! Two whole people came to my blog/website from Pinterest in the last 30 days, ha! One came from my profile, the other from this post (which was pinned).
  • PAGE VIEWS: 2170
    Page views here on my Squarespace site for the last 30 days.
    I've been "building" an email list since 2009 - long, long before I knew why or that I would even want/need to for my future small business and publishing of book goals. I recently sent a newsletter and lost about 25 people (very normal) so I've back below 2k, for now!
    This number is simply to keep track of my new goals, a certain number of new pins I'll be adding each week. Looks like I've not pinned a single recipe all week!
Pinterest Lab - a Series - Angie Warren -

Until next week! Thanks for reading. Anyone else do The Pinterest Lab?


A Free PDF, The Daily Do - Organize Your Bad Self

Introducing: The Daily Do. It's a sweet little best friend for your business. These planning pages were born out of my desire to be on top of my work day (and let’s be real, a sheer lack of organization)! Juggling multiple businesses is only possible when I am working ahead of the game.

We all need a good system in place - whether we are writing a book, a blog, own an Etsy shop, or sell products for a living (ahem, speaking to myself here - obvi.). What I found worked best for me was working in blocks, but not just blocks, I work better having specific areas I can toss my to-do items.

Included in this FREE download: Daily Do planning sheet for each day of the week, one for weekends, and one left blank.


Each section is for the basics of my day as I juggle all the hats. Here’s how it usually looks for me, it could be similar for you, or different - make it work however you’d like!

ADMIN - This is for daily email checking, updating my sales spreadsheet, checking other messages, etc.

CREATE - Here is where I list what design projects I’m currently working on for my shop. Maybe it means making a new Guide, a lead magnet, a promo graphic, or IG story.

SERVE - Nurturing those who graciously purchase from me, follow me, or are a part of my team is so important. Some days this looks like spending 15 minutes in a FB group or reaching out to someone to see how they’re doing. It always means taking small blocks of time to reply to comments and engage with friends and followers.  

UPDATE - This is for me usually in reference to updates to the digital products in my shop. It could mean any number of updating you need to do! 

WRITE  - I have a lot of writing to do! Aside from the book I’m working on, I have blogs to draft, newsletters to pen, posts to plan, etc.

I fill out the next day's page at the end of my current work day. It keeps me on track, allows for rollover, and is easy to toss in my laptop bag when I take work to-go.

Print them ahead weekly, or grab the blank one and stick that bad boy in a page protector for use with a dry erase marker. However you choose to use them, I hope they bless your business as they have mine.



So glad you asked! I'd love for this to be a blessing to your small business. Click the button below to grab your freebie.


Girl Wash Your Face

GIRL WASH YOUR FACE / Rachel Hollis /

This book, you guys. I haven’t felt so spoken to, empowered, or inspired since Present Over Perfect (and those who know me well know that is saying A LOT).
Here’s the thing. I’m a people pleaser to. my. core. (Thanks mama). I want others to be happy, and in turn I think that means I want others (read: the entire world) to be happy with ME.
NEWS FLASH: that ain’t happening, sister.

Girl Wash Your Face / Rachel Hollis /

We can not, will not, shouldn’t, aren’t created to, please the world. We will let people down. They’ll form opinions about us, our choices, our clothing, our career path, our creative outlet, what we post on social media, how we parent, how or who we love. The list goes on.
Do you feel me on living in this cage of care? Anyone else working on escaping it? Maybe you too, feel you have to explain your “no” or list your “why” simply for the approval of a person who, in all likelihood won’t give it to us anyhow?
Here’s the thing, the cold hard truth of it, and I’m speaking to myself here: there is NO JOY to be found in the desire to be accepted. There is only unrest, smallness, and hurt. There is only standing still in one place, tapping ones foot, wondering why on earth these bits of life aren’t any fun.
Let’s make life fun. Let’s decide in the brilliant words of Rachel Hollis that we will do what we want, in celebration of the ability TO DO SO.


* This post contains affiliate links. By clicking through, you help to support this blog and our family, so thank you! Read our full disclosure policy HERE.