Monday, May 4, 2015

Five Ways to Combat Identity Theft as a Military Family

 This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I hope you like these awesome tips and take them to heart. Identity theft and fraud are a huge deal, especially in our military community. Tips gathered through my own research and experience, as well as an amazing partnership with Lifelock Military.

 

It is no secret that Identity Theft is a real concern these days. We've had numerous attempts to clear out substantial amounts of money from our bank accounts; and as a young military couple with dreams of hopefully become homeowners eventually, the thought of our credit being damaged in seriously frightening. According to the 2011 FTC Report there were over 17,000 military consumer complaints, and 27% of those were related to identity theft. That is an astounding number that I can't imagine has gone down significantly in the years since that last full report. So what can you do to protect yourself?


1. Research the type of protection your bank offers - If you're lucky like we are, you belong to a bank that really takes care of protection your bank account and any credit cards you have through them. Be intentional about this and don't be afraid to ask questions. It's your money and it deserves to be protected.

2. Monitor your Credit Score - Once a year you can pull up your credit score. Do it. You can request it from each of the three major companies - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Keep a couple years history of this in your files. Its not a full proof way to protect yourself, but keeping track of your numbers through the years is important. 

3. Get Educated - The FTC has some amazing information about identity theft, warning signs, tips and tricks and just information. Information is power!

4. Try Lifelock - Lifelock is one of the premier identity theft protection companies! Think of them as an extra layer of protection between you and the bad guy. They have three different levels of protection to pick from, all of which include things like lost wallet protection, live member customer service and a $1million total service protection. Lifelock is offering military members one month free, a free gift and reduced monthly fees! Visit this link for all the information, plus your discount code.  

5. Request an Active Duty Alert during deployment - Did you know that you can put an "Active Duty Alert" on your credit file. This is important because it requires creditors to verify your identity before they open an account in your name. These "alerts" are valid for a year. 'Active Duty Alerts' are easily activated by calling one of the three companies - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

Don't be caught without protection of some kind. This type of theft will probably only get worse, and grow bigger and time goes on. Having gone through attempts on my bank account, it can be really crazy. And who among us hasn't lost a wallet or an ATM card, and then proceeded to have a mini-freakout!

Have you had any experience with identity theft? What did you do?
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Five Tips for Boot Camp ~ For a MilSpouse


While the title specifies MilSpouse, these tips really apply to anyone with a 
service member at boot camp.

~ a little peak at my old school Creative Memories album ~


 It's been years since my man was there but after getting some good feedback to some tips I gave to someone I thought I would share what I learned. At the time I didn't know anyone else that had gone through this so I made it up as I went along. What I learned from experience was really by luck, but I would have loved to have someone tell me what I was doing was the right thing, or at least someone to talk to about it.

check out those boot camp glasses!

1. Keep Expectations Low - Everyone's boot camp experience is different; so it can be hard to predict exactly what to expect. In my twelve years as a military girlfriend, fiance and wife I have heard many different stories. I heard from my Airmen twice on the phone during boot camp, but we exchanged many a letter. This experience can vary with branch or just whoever their drill instructor is. Maybe there's a stupid person in their flight (Air Force term) who is causing all of them to get phone rights cut. It happens. It is just the way it is. Keeping expectations low is really important for your sanity. If your experience is less or more than I just stated then you will keep your fragile emotions better in check.

2. Your service member might go through a temporary personality change - No joke! This was probably the strangest experience. My then boyfriend/fiancee' was a confident, sure of himself dude. He wasn't cocky or anything, but he could handle his own. On our first phone call I heard him be emotional for the first time really ever in our relationship. When we arrived for his graduation I encountered a somewhat timid, nervous kind of dude. While always a rule follower in general, he was nervous about where we were driving to, what we were doing and how much PDA we had. By the end of our graduation weekend he was much better, but it was still a really interesting experience.

3. Cool it with the mail - This was also something I kind of learned on my own, but also tips from my man before he left. Not everyone has a super research hubby, so just in case you don't this is important! Keep it simple is a good motto. I wrote a couple paragraphs everyday and sent him them all in one letter a week. Nothing to bulky and everything very plain. Nothing that could garner negative attention. Plain white envelopes and nothing smelly. There were plenty of stories from Mr. Air Force from guys who were embarrassed by their TI's over mail, singled out to do a million push-ups to get it, or teased for things that were frilly. And don't send anything but letters. I did however send him one picture at the end, but never assume that they are the only one who will see everything.  Good rules to live by!

4. Keep the pressure low and follow the rules yourself (for attending graduation) - This will make your life easier, as well as his. There are rules for where they can go, what they can do and those apply to you as well. NO PDA!! Quick hug when you finally see them and that is it! Use the time in the car to hold hands, steal a quick kiss in the elevator when you can take them off base.  This is really connected with 'Tip #2", but warrants its own number. Now sometimes you can do arm linking, but respect the nervousness of your service member.

5. Take in the experience!!! Go to Boot Camp graduation! It is an experience unlike any other. Tech School (or MOS) graduation is fine, but the Boot Camp graduation is just really neat. Go to all the informational meetings, even if you don't think you have to. Listen to what those in charge are saying, even if you think its lame. Attend all the events, experience the local culture of where you are (I love love love San Antonio). Go to Chapel on base. This was probably one of the greatest experiences because this is the one place that a lot of the Airmen could be relaxed. They had their tops off, they were sitting relaxed, they were vocal. It is sort of like a safe haven on base and it was really special.

I hope this list is a good start for anyone currently experiencing or getting ready to experience this.
If you have already been through this, what has been your experience?
Do you have tips you would add? I want to hear them!
If you have questions please email me any time. I'm happy to help with anything.
cammostylelove {at} yahoo {dot} com
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Disney's Cinderella ~ What Did I think and is it for Little Girls?

My sweet princess and I had the wonderful opportunity to preview Cinderella before it came out. You can now see it in theaters everywhere and I definitely would recommend it hands down! Whenever live action movies come out, especially ones where they are recreating an animation classic, I pause. Will they do it justice and will it be appropriate for my daughter? We've been watching live action movies for a little while now - we go for the classics and so far haven't been disappointed, but new is different.



First off Disney did a fabulous job casting. I was a little bit concerned at first, but whoa..blow me out of the water! Disney captured the sweet without being too much you know. I was most impressed by Cate Blanchett. Her ability to be so beautiful while being so horrid and ugly was amazing. Disney has this way of making these ugly/beautiful evil queens, witches and bad guys. It messed with your brain because its not what you expected from Cate as an actor. Simply marvelous! The step-sisters were also cast well and I thought they were perfectly silly!

The one part that kinda did fit was the Fairy Godmother. She was kind of a dingbat and it did not fit with the rest of movie or the image I had of the Fairy Godmother in my mind. I'm not sure why Disney chose to go that way, but it didn't ruin the movie experience or anything.



Fair warning - the movie is sad. They did cover over it like the animated versions do. Its out there and up front and people mourn. Its sad! I was really worried about how this might impact Ladybug but she didn't really care. I'm going to take that as a parenting win! Maybe that meas she's well-adjusted with a good understanding of life. Or maybe she's only six and who really cares. But, can I just take the win anyway?

5 out of 5 Stars
This will become a part of the household DVD Library!

We received this opportunity from Blue Star Families, whom I volunteer with in the DC Metro area. If you are a military family or a military supporter, or connected in any way, please look into volunteering with Blue Star Families. They are all over the United States and abroad! check it out here.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How Irish are You? Noble, The Movie #SheIsNoble

The quiz and giveaway are made possible by the new film, NOBLE, about Christina Noble, an Irishwoman who's saved over 700,000 orphans in Vietnam. Deirdre O'Kane and Brendan Coyle (Mr. Bates on Downtown Abbey) star in the award-winning film.

 

After seeing the trailer for this movie, man, its going to be a tear-jerker. I want to read the book too. What an incredible story. I think its wonderful that it is being shared as a movie....and seriously, Mr. Bates? Sign me up!! Has anyone else heard of this or read the book yet? I want to hear all about it if you have.

 Visit the Movie Website to learn more about the #SHEISNOBLE campaign

While we are waiting for the movie to come out I have a few things to keep us all preoccupied.
First - Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Take this fun quiz to see how Irish you are! http://thenoblemovie.com/how-irish-are-you/

I know I have some Irish in me. I began research on it and have it partially completed. Once the kids are a little older I hope to dive back into that!


And Secondly, I have an amazing cool prize pack for you to win. The Noble Movie prize pack features some awesome items signed by Brenden Coyle (Mr. Bates) himself, and a World of Downton Abbey hardback book. Good luck!


**I received a prize pack in exchange for participating in this campaign. I was not compensated in any other way. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Thomas the Train comes to Baltimore {Baltimore, MD} #DCNoVAadventures


A Day Out With Thomas is coming to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, and while it is an expensive outing, this penny-pinching mom thinks it is well worth every penny!



We first heard about A Day Out With Thomas last year, at the height of our Thomas obsession. The stars aligned - hubby was home, we loved Thomas and I had a special coupon code. I hesitated for half a second only because it isn't cheap, but I knew this would be a special family day experience. We had never been to the museum there, however I had heard that it was a pretty cool place to visit for train loving people. There are several vintage trains to venture into, a hands on station for the kids, lego and train building stations and docents. As part of the special "TDO" events there were pictures with Sir Topham Hat and story times. These were both organized extremely well, with fast moving lines and pleasant workers. We weren't forced through the lines either. The kids got to hug him, high-five him and we took our own pictures! That was a pleasant surprise.






The fun didn't stop there. Once you headed outside there was a whole world of fun waiting for you! There were several rides for the kids (that usually cost money but were included in the special admission). They had bounce houses set up as well as musical entertainment. Outside they had food vendors that were fairly reasonable and places set up to eat.





The ride on Thomas was an in and out type deal, and actually the policeman on their motorbikes were quite the entertainment. The kids loved them!!

There was plenty of staff, lots of security and the organization was fabulous!



If you are looking for a very special experience in your hometown you can't find anything better than this. It was a wonderful time and I would absolutely, four star, recommend this event to you. Grab your tickets soon!

Thomas is coming to Baltimore April 24-26th and May 1=3rd
You can purchase tickets here 


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Thursday, March 5, 2015

I want to Live in Music Video....

You've seen those music videos. You know, the ones that have everything - the music is right, the story is right, the feel is right. You'd give anything to catapult yourself into the video because, seriously, it looks like so much fun! I had this feeling recently and I figured there are about a million more music videos that would come to mind if I thought about it. Think about it and make your list! I'd love to hear it.

So, without further adieu, the five videos I'd give anything to live in...in no particular order

1. Boy' Round Here - Blake Shelton ~ come on, doesn't it look fun? Country, a little hip hop, dancing, house party..its a dream!



2. Bang Bang - Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicky Minaj ~ I feel like its self-explanatory. I mean, street dancing, a good beat..Hello!



3. (You Drive Me) Crazy - Britney Spears ~ no list could really be complete without Brittney Spears; and while I know Baby Baby is iconic, Crazy is pretty awesome and one of my favorite. It was also a pretty awesome late 90's movie.



4. The Right Stuff - New Kids on the Block ~ can I just be one of the girls in the video? I mean, seriously, who wouldn't want to run around in a cemetery with Joey Mac? I know I would.....


5. Bigger - Backstreet Boys ~ a list that I make that didn't include BSB wouldn't really be a list. And while I can't think of one I wouldn't want to be in, this one just look particularly fun. Its one of their newer songs and it most takes place in the streets of Japan (where their longest and most dedicated fan base has been). But a fairly good portion of it takes place in Karaoke bars. So fun right?



Leave me your favorite!! I want to know where you would live if you could?


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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

MommyCon is Coming To a Town Near You! *discount code*

I'm so excited to be attending MommyCon this year! Also, exciting to announce that I am an officially MommyCon blogger this year. It was such an exciting opportunity to be a part of that I just couldn't resist.



If you've never been to one of these events let me give you the run down:

MommyCon is a "boutique-style convention" with Natural and Organic parenting topics and products as the primary theme. You can expect to see seminars and demonstrations along those same lines, as well as a ton of products to peruse. As if that wasn't enough there will be giftbags and amazing giveaways!

 
awesome babywearing seminar

The MommyCon Atlanta, the next top of the tour, is going to be chock-full of some really amazing things. Make sure to check out the full, newly-released, schedule of events.  But here's a few little tidbits:

Cotton Babies will be there with a Cloth Diaper 101, The Baby Guy NYC (whom I love, love love) will be there with a little car seat safety discussion for you and there will be a ton of babywearing seminars and discussions (like the picture above). You can expect to see more of the same, amazing things at the other stops along the tour.

Be sure to stay tuned here on the blog as I will be starting to post a ton of related topics from my perspective, and sharing my experiences; as well as sharing with you all about MommyCon as it travels through the US the rest of this year.

If you would like to purchase a MommyCon ticket for one of the Convention I have a code for you guys! Use Cammo15 for $5 off your ticket!

MommyCon 2015

Minneapolis - April 15, 2015
Orlando -May 23, 2015
Washington, DC - August 22, 2015
Columbus, OH - September 19, 2015

Have you ever been to MommyCon? I want to hear about it! Maybe I'll see you at MommyCon DC!


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