A Shared Journal

A Review and a bit more: Brain on Fire

It took me a long time to do this review because it hit me pretty close to home. This post will be a little bit more than a review.

Brain on Fire is a movie based on the true story and book Brain on Fire My Month Of Madness by Susannah Cahalan. She writes her battle with her own mind as she waits for a diagnosis. It is an absolutely compelling story of human strength and resilience and also highlights the flaws in our perception of healthcare for the mind.

Be prepared with a box of tissue because this is a movie we can all relate to. I asked a few of my friends and family to watch it as I felt a little exposed because of all the symptoms she was showing and her struggle to try to tell anyone that something was not right.

I can honestly say that this movie depicts and most accurately describes what my brain goes through before and after seizures and complications from brain damage caused by Multiple Sclerosis. The hardest part to watch in this movie was the confusion and the withdrawal she goes through. I have felt this first hand. It’s a slow decline where I would notice I was “spacing out” and couldn’t focus on my computer screen. To this day when there are a lot of noises and people it can overwhelm me and I literally can’t understand what anyone is saying although they are speaking perfect English. Over stimulation and stress can leave me so confused I become bedridden for days from brain exhaustion. To be so misunderstood as “lazy” “bitchy” etc. my entire life only to find out that my complaints were more than legitimate. The brain damage caused by MS is irreversible and equivalent to a traumatic blow to the head, only nothing externally has happened. Like in the movie, when your own brain is sick and injured it is the worst feeling of loss, confusion and frustration any being can go through. I will also agree with the recovery process. It is a long and ongoing travel to a full recovery and I’ve learned how to adapt to some of my inabilities. I can tell you first hand, it is not easy relearning how to do basic things like walking, writing and learning to trust your own mind even though it has failed me time and time again. I have to tell myself daily who I am, how many kids do I have, who my family members are.

The impact her condition caused on her entire family is also a very difficult thing for me to watch. I still struggle with not wanting to ask for help for fear of burdening my loved ones. I accept that I do have positive people around me who do enjoy helping me and it’s not so bad asking for help.

It is so important that I share my personal journey because I see it every day. More and more people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, BiPolar disorder, Depression… it’s overwhelming and terrifying to know and feel that you are losing your mind and you don’t know why or what is real.

I wish I could tell you that everyone is helpful and that everyone is understanding and kind, but that is what Hollywood is for. I’ve experienced bullying, abuse, disbelief.. the truth is not everyone is kind and looking out for your best interests. Some family and friends didn’t believe me when I said I felt like I was dying. I’ve been called a liar, a “great actress”, “she’s not really sick” and once the initial shock of the diagnosis, I was still told there’s nothing wrong and I need to get over it. I look back on how wrongly I was treated and I think about those who remain trapped in their minds and lose their ability to even verbalize how they feel before they even get close to a proper diagnosis. All of the negative parts of finding a diagnosis are born out of ignorance and there is a quick cure for that. Knowledge.

I highly recommend this movie found on Netflix and I hope it helps you to understand how to navigate through finding a diagnosis for yourself. I hope it also helps you understand how complex the disease of the mind is. It is a terrifying and life threatening road that many don’t make out of alive. Susannah Cahalan received the cure in time and this movie leaves a lot of promise for future research and cures for brain diseases.

My next stop will be to pick up the book!

Hope you enjoy the movie!

Much love,

SS

A Shared Journal

Review: Le Petit Marseillais

I was sent some samples of Le Petit Marseillais Shower Gel in Mandarin & Lime scent for review. It couldn’t come at a better time right in the hottest days of summer and when I’m on the hunt for a new summer soap!

The shower gel has a green tint and it the scent was full of fresh citrus and sweetness. I have extremely dry skin, especially when my skin is transitioning to the humid heat.

I applied it directly on a washcloth and began to scrub. The gel didn’t lather up with suds like previous shower gels I’ve tried, but I gave it my best effort. So as far as suds it’s on the low-key side. My skin was left feeling refreshed and squeaky clean.

After my shower, I made sure I didn’t add any lotion or moisturizers to get the full before and after effects of the gel. My skin began to dry up and look scaly. The package did say it was “extra gentle” but I don’t think my skin agrees. I tried it a second time ( I was given 2 samples ) but this time I added the shower gel to my getting ready routine to see how it held up under more normal conditions. I, again, applied the shower gel with a washcloth and the same results of no suds and no lather. This time I used moisturizer as usual and my skin was still dry just not as bad as the first trial.

I didn’t particularly find anything life changing about Le Petit Marseillais’ Shower Gel. Yes it is milder than other soaps and gels with a fantastic scent and I found a 400ml bottle at Walmart for $4.97 CDN. I would recommend this product as a mild daily soap for use in travel to the beach or camping. A great alternative to messy bars of soap for children.

Final thoughts

My favourite feature is the scent, it is mild and lingers pleasantly on your skin which is extra nice during hot weather. I was expecting a thicker gel consistency but it was more liquid like the consistency of syrup. If you like bubbles and suds you won’t find them in a bottle of this product and it left my skin dry. It’s affordable for families, it’s available at stores like Walmart and you can find it on Amazon as well.

Score: 3/5

✔️ Affordable

✔️ Great Scent

✔️ Available in Walmart and Amazon

✖️ Left my skin drier than normal

✖️ Very runny not a gel consistency

More reviews to come! ☺️❤️Much love,SS 💃🏻👠

*Product provided for review complimentary of Influenster

A Shared Journal · Reviews · Stiletto Vlogs

Fried Frog

Vlog #30: Fried Frog

The heat is on and it has been scorching hot outside over the past few days. With weather history in the making we have the lava flowing in Hawaii and poor air quality readings which seem to be triggering a lot of allergy suffers. I don’t have allergies, but even I notice how hard it is to breathe outside. I’m praying for safety and good health for our dear friends in Hawaii.

Summer Umbrella is up!

So much is happening that I was starting to feel like I was even giving myself enough time to rest. I evaluated my current status and I was slowly starting to slip back into my workaholic tendencies. My worst “crash due to exhaustion” left me so mentally drained I couldn’t even remember how to write my name! I had orders booked and was working at a great pace, I was trying new techniques and really having fun, BUT I was working around the clock. I was designing as I was doing detailed work then taking pictures and shopping for supplies.. I was all over the place. The thing that was the most exciting was how productive I was and how ahead of schedule I was in all that I did. I was down to my last two orders and I remember working all day and I stayed up until 4am. The birds were chirping and I got up from my desk and stood out on my patio deck staring at the rising orange sun. I stood out there for, what felt like hours, 20 minutes and felt all my lack of sleep hit me so hard my knees buckled a little. I had to struggle to keep myself balanced. I went right into the house and straight up to bed. I was completely exhausted and in bed for 4 days. My deadlines were getting closer but I was done. I could hardly stay awake. I do not need a repeat of that!

Dog Days of Summer

I decided to keep the weekends as my designated “No Work” days, so far so good. 👍🏼

SS

Video: Fried Frog

A Shared Journal · Stiletto Vlogs · Travel With Me

A Fresh Place to Shop

Another very interesting week of up and down weather. BIT I’m still not complaining! I’ve been looking forward to coffees outside in the mornings and afternoon barbecues.

I decided to go to the local farmers market (Trails End) for some fresh produce. This is my favourite place to shop, I like to travel to small towns to shop, I find so many great deals! This visit, I purchased some smoked mackerel fish, broccoli, asparagus and mushrooms. This is one of the kids’ favourite meals, of course with a side of rice, lol.

I browsed around the furniture section ( I’m redecorating the basement ) and got some great ideas. There were also some beautiful summer dresses for sale that I found. I’ll definitely be going back to stock up. The resort will be open this weekend so I need to get prepared!

If you get a chance, please support the local farmers in your area and fill yourselves with some fresh fruit and veggies!

SS

A Shared Journal

My Nest Won’t Empty

A subject that has come up quite a lot but I really feel strongly about. Strangely a topic that seems to peak the curiosity of many and that is… “Don’t you think you’ll miss them terribly when they move out?”

The answer in every fibre of my being is N-O! Some msy say I’m “cold” but I honestly feel that is my job as a mother. To raise and release our children into the abyss of adulthood. I’m ancient enough to know that if we have any expectations of our children we will feel that low blow of disappointment, so I choose to stick with hope and a prayer.

I believe that is truth in all our relationships. Life has an interesting way of keeping us grounded and my children ground me and keep me going ensuring that I’m guiding and leading and on top of my parenting game at all times. Once they’re ready they will let you know.

I touched on the subject a bit on my last livestream. Now that things are more steady in my life I will be able to share more and it’s going to be so fun!

For now here’s my last livestream I will have videos uploaded very soon too so hold tight!

Thanks guys and cheers to a new and fabulous week!

My Nest Won’t Empty

SS

A Shared Journal

10 Things I love about Summer

10 Things I love about Summer

For many of us Canadians, the winter of 2017-2018 has been a long and bitter journey so when the Weather Channel reported high double digit temperatures, I immediately began packing up the winter gear.  I feel like this summer is so long awaited that I have spent a few sleepless night planning all the things I want to do with the boys once school is done.  In the meantime, here are the 10 Things I love about Summer.

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  1. Pedicures. The cold winter days had us covering up with socks and leg warmers so every year, I look forward to my first summer pedicure.  I always purchase the package that includes all the extras like leg and feet massages.  I’m booking an appointment as soon as I’m done writing!IMG_4082
  2. Sandals.  Goodbye to clunky heavy winter boots and HELLO to sandals and flip flops.  As much as I love the fashion of layering clothing, nothing beats being able to slip on some fancy slides.  That flip flop sound is like music to my ears.IMG_4081
  3. Summer Clothing.  I tend to be in denial throughout the winter months and I wear my summer dresses under layers of sweaters and hoodies.  Now that summer is bringing on some humid high temps I am all about wearing next to nothing flowing breezy clothing.  I can’t wait to be lounging around in my dresses outside instead of a pyjama option.IMG_4080
  4. Napping Outside.  Ahhh that fresh summer air and the sounds of birds chirping and leaves dancing in the breeze.. Yup, one of my absolute favourite things to do is NAP!  BUT the option of being able to sleep outside in the shade is no doable!  I just purchased a new patio umbrella and am waiting on some new furniture.  No, there will be no dining furniture, just straight up lounge chairs and sofas this year.IMG_4079
  5. Picnics.  With a crazy busy schedule over the last few years, I really haven’t had a picnic with just my family in a long time.  We used to go to the city park, buy a bucket of KFC and play football and frisbee.  I think I’m going to implement that in my summer routine.IMG_4078
  6. Beaches.  Canadian beaches have been hiding under blankets of ice and snow so once all of that melts away I can’t express how beautiful the beaches around the Great Lakes are in my country, yes, some have white sands.  I hope to get on a boat this year, I haven’t been sailing in years!IMG_4077
  7. Campfires.  After a full day of sun, it’s almost a given that there will be campfires in my summer future.  The smell of burning wood and the sound of the crackling fire are so relaxing.  It’s guaranteed that my hair would catch all the wood burning scents, but it’s worth it.IMG_4076
  8. BBQ. It isn’t a summer without a good cookout.  I make requests for feasts of charcoal BBQ treats every year from my family and they never disappoint me.  Not only do the children love fresh noms off the grill, but I love that there are no pots and pans to scrub after a BBQ dinner at my house.IMG_4074
  9. Quiet Days.  I am very blessed that I live in a quiet neighbourhood and since I’m early retired, the mornings get so quiet with everyone at work.  I have a new cardinal bird that has been showing off his vocal skills lately and it is the most beautiful sound to hear.  I named him Mr. Wallace (*Pulp Fiction reference) and I look forward to hearing the breezes from right outside my bedroom window.  I know my quiet days are numbered, the kids will be on summer holidays so I’m going to soak up every bit of silence I can get!IMG_4075
  10. Windows Open.  I know it may not seem like a big deal, but being able to leave the windows open at night and in the early morning is a dream to me.  I don’t hear traffic or people.  Just the sounds of wind through the leaves of the trees, birds and crickets chirping.  Oh Summer, thank you for waking up!

Think about all the things you love about Summer.  If you, like me, realize that you haven’t done some of your favourite things in awhile, I hope you put it as a priority on your Summer To-Do List!

Cheers!

SS

A Shared Journal

Review: Evil Genius

This documentary series is one of the best ones Netflix has released. It raises intriguing questions like if someone is mentally ill are they capable of murder? Could love and obsession be the driving force in this case? The beheading of the victim was not necessary, how could they “ok” that? How did it get so far?

It took me on a psychological journey, complete actual footage of the victim’s death. I remember, back in 2003 watching this on the News. Evetyone just stood watching him. You feel so helpless listening to this man crying out to them that he can hear this ticking bomb going and all the policemen could do is stand around with their guns out and just wait for something to happen. It was such a tragedy to watch and for the families to even get the news through the media.

One of the most astonishing points of the series was when the several law departments scattered all over the place were more concerned about who was in charge rather than who committed the crime!

I’m so intrigued by this story and wonder if there is another season in the making. Until then, make sure you add this show to your summer nights when you want a bit of creepy intrigue.

Let me know your thoughts!

Happy Watching

SS