Cammo Style Love: 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A New Year is Coming.....




Welcome 2017, we've been waiting for you. You can't scroll down your Facebook without seeing something about how 2016 was the worst year ever and it should just already be over. How we can't wait for 2017 to start because maybe it will be better. Most people are probably saying that in relation to the election. Some have just had it because we lost some really memory attached people in the last year and the last couple days. Its true, some really sad things have happened. We lost David Bowie, Antonin Scalia, Harper Lee, Joey Feek, Nancy Reagan, George Martin, Patty Duke, Muhammad Ali, Christina Grimmie, Anton Yelchin, Florence Henderson, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (and there are many more). The election was volatile, people rioted in the street and took time off from their school classes to cope.

But you know what, 2016 was full of some amazing things as well! I found a list, did some research, and wanted to share a few things with you.

  • A new study showed that since 1990 woman and children dying in childbirth has halved.
  • Malawi achieved a 67% reduction of children acquiring HIV
  • Thailand became the first country in the world to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis
  • World Hunger reached its lowest point in 25 years.
  • Homelessness in the US decreased by 35%
  • McDonalds announced it removed corn syrup from its hamburger buns and removed antibiotics from its chicken months ahead of schedule. 
  • The average number of large oil spills in the world went down from 24.5 in the 70s, to 1.8 in 2015.
  • Manatees are no longer endangered
  • Yellowstone's grizzlies made a miraculous comeback
  • Sea World agreed they would stop breeding captive killer whales
  • Giant Pandas were taken off the endangered list
  • 2015 was America's most generous year...and 2016 is on track to be even bigger!!
And this is just a blip on the list of all the amazing things that happened this year! So I challenge you to stop and think about all the amazing things that happened to you and your family in 2016. Dwelling on the negative and sad doesn't accomplish anything good in life. Our newsfeeds are filled to brim with ugliness, divisiveness and sadness. People make a statement about how they feel and people make a choice to get into an argument online with them, whether its controversial or not. So many people, including myself, fled Facebook during this time. What was supposed to be a connector of people was pushing people further away. We focused on the negative, the terrible, and fought about it openly with people. 

So I challenge you for 2017, make a change. Share happiness, share the fun in your life, use Facebook to connect with someone you've been missing. Share pictures of your day, vacations, your kids or something you did. Find something positive that happened and share that. Pick up the phone and call someone, write a letter, keep a positive thoughts diary. 2017 doesn't have to be terrible, and neither do your memories of 2016. That's a choice that we can make, and I encourage you to make a positive choice. 

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, 
just as in fact you are doing ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11







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Monday, December 12, 2016

Rhe's Bookshelf - Harlequin Writer Lisa Dyson

Today I've got two book reviews for you from Harlequin author, Lisa Dyson. Today I'm talking about two of her 'Super Romance' novels. I actually had the extreme pleasure to attend the Washington Romance Writers Luncheon and sit at the table with Lisa, whom is an absolute gem. She is the sweetest AND she loves gloves....which I also love. When you live on the East Coast in the DC area you gotta love your gloves. I got the opportunity to read two of Lisa's books, Prince Charming Wears a Badge and A Perfect Homecoming. One of the reasons why I love the Super Romance category of Harlequin is that there is more of a story line and more ability to really investigate the characters for some really deep character development.


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summary



The only reason Dr. Ashleigh Wilson is back in her hometown is to help her pregnant sister—and maybe repair their relationship. She's certainly not here to see her ex-husband, Dr. Kyle Jennings, or mend any fences with him. Too bad he doesn't accept that. Worse, the more time they're together, the more the old attraction flares! 

Even if she still has feelings for him, Ashleigh is not staying. Because that would mean facing the past and all she left behind. Kyle, however, seems convinced they have another shot at happiness. And after a few persuasive kisses, Ashleigh begins to wonder if he's right….



Review

I gave this book only two and a half stars, and I know that sounds horrible, but I tend to be stingy with my stars. The book in general is written amazingly well. After reading two of her books, Lisa's writing is lovely. It's wordy in the best sense of the word and really develops the characters. I, however, just couldn't get past this Ashleigh character about half-way through the book. The general struggles of the characters ring true, and you can sympathize. But there's a certain point in time where you're over it and I found myself struggling to complete the book based solely on her character alone. For me, the "Super Romance" part of the book and the fact that you could spend more time worked against the characters for me. 


PRINCE CHARMING WEARS A BADGE cover new.jpg

Summary

Callie James never expected a handsome prince or a fairy-tale ending. She already knows that life is full of unhappy-ever-afters--like finding her boyfriend with another woman, and being forced to return to her hometown and deal with her troubled past. Fortunately, she's pretty much safe from romantic entanglements. That is, until she discovers the chief of police is also her teenage crush, Tyler Garrett. Now she must find a way to face her wicked stepfamily, win over Prince Charming...and save herself in the process.

Review

I am a succor for a theme based off of something beloved, like the Cinderella story. I think that's exactly the reason why a lot of us read books. We want to be taken to a different time, place, idea....perhaps one with a ring a truth so that it isn't so unbelievable. I truly like this book, which is why I gave it four stars. There are parts within the book *spoilers* having to do with the Step Mother, and her father, and mostly the step-sister that almost took it too far from my perspective. But having never suffered any abuse like what was portrayed in this book I can't really say if the reaction was too much or not. Even the basis for her leaving to go back to her home town seen incredibly far-fetched...but like I said, maybe that is something that really could happen, and a way someone really would react. It wasn't so much that i didn't like the book. It is a great read and i couldn't stop!!! That is the marks of great writing and a great book!!
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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Santa HQ Has Arrived!!

While we typically do not begin our Christmas celebrations until after Thanksgiving, we always make an exception when it comes to man up North. Santa has officially arrived in Northern Virginia, so we went to check out the amazing HGTV Santa HQ in Tyson's Corner! One of the best parts about Santa HQ is the fact that I can make reservation. And mom's everywhere rejoiced right?

                 

The Santa HQ people are fantastic as well - helpful, efficient, kind....all things that I look for in an experience that can be a little anxiety-filled and stressful. You want this experience to be fun and as stress-free as possible, and every time we've stopped by to visit Santa here its been a great experience. For that, I am truly thankful.




Check your Naughty or Nice status, download the elf app to see the special interactive displays, work on Santa's sleigh, and check on the elves.


And of course we had to stop and get our picture with Tommy from The Tommy Show!! 
You never know who you might run into here at Santa HQ



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Saturday, November 12, 2016

What Did I Tell My Kids?


I debated about whether or not I would write a post about this topic. We're definitely on overload. And while conversations from adults are what they are, it the kids that I want to talk about. I've recently been asked by several people what I'm telling my children. My answer is, "We have a new president-elect, who will take office in January." No more, no less. Every election it seems like our children are becoming involved more and more. And not just involved by knowing what is going on and having fun learning about things; but actively involved in the disgusting underbelly of the election. Kids coming home telling their parents that their friends will be deported in Trump wins, others talking about how Hilary should be in jail. Both sides feel justified in their anger; and both sides have justified the actions of the other. Her emails weren't really that bad, he said those things as a celebrity, what he said was worse than anything she may have done.

No matter what I firmly, and without questions, believe that our children should not bear the weight of what is going on right now. They are going to schools and talking to friends, parroting things they are hearing - spreading the fear, anger, judgement and whatever else to small children who are entirely too young to be worrying about this. My five, eight and possibly my ten year old don't need to be scared or feel like their world could implode at any moment. That the election of one man will suddenly cause a tidal wave of destruction that will deport their friends, imprison people, take away rights and destroy our country. And if the election had turned gone another way I would say the same thing.

So what DO I say to my kids? I tell them, "we have a new President, there are many people upset, and many happy. Someone was going to be angry and someone was going to be happy. No matter what you hear on tv or from your friends at school, Mommy and Daddy have it under control. You don't need to be worried about anything. Just be excited there is a new President, and its okay to be sad that President Obama isn't going to be anymore." President Obama is the only President they have really known. They know about him, watch him on TV and look up to him in the way any child should someone like our Country's President. As military kids they are keenly aware that he is their daddy's boss and is making decisions about their daddy. There is so much they do worry about in their life, and adding more to that isn't what we are about.

How do I ACT? All I can do is set an example for them. An example of love and kindness. As Christians, as a Jesus loving, faith-based household that is my belief and my duty as a parent. And that's it. There is plenty of time for all the other things in life. Plenty of time.







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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Northern Virginia Ballet Performs The Nutcracker Ballet! *giveaway*


I am so excited to be bringing another opportunity to support local arts! The Academy of Russian Ballet is proud to present their ninth annual Nutcracker Ballet with Northern Virginia Ballet company. This year, International Ballet stars Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky will be guest dancers in the performance. Ms. Dvorovenko and Mr. Beloserkovsky are former Principal dancers with American Ballet Theater and were trained at the Kiev State Choreographic Institute and were Principal dancers with the Kiev State Ballet in Uktraine. Ms Dvorovenko was a guest judge on "So You Think  You Can Dance?" and will be featured on the upcoming Starz Channel series, "Flesh and Bone".



The Northern Virginia Ballet is an amazing company with a family-friendly atmosphere. As attendees of their performances for the last couple of years we have been continually impressed with the talent, and the performers. They interact with the children, take pictures and answer questions. Supporting local arts, giving children opportunities to both perform for an audience and also watch something geared towards them is so important.



Cammo Style Love is happy to be giving away a family four-pack of tickets to their 
November 26th performance of The Nutcracker Ballet!

If you don't want to miss out on the opportunity to see this amazing performance you purchase tickets
online from the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located in Manassas, VA


To Win, leave a comment telling me if you have ever been to, or performed in a ballet or theater production!
Good luck!!



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Friday, October 28, 2016

Looking for Things to Do in Washington, DC? #AD #Groupon

 This is a sponsored post in partnership with Groupon. As always, all opinions are mine. Cammo Style Love strives to bring quality sponsored post partnerships with companies I use and love.


Are you looking for some fresh ideas for things to do, and perhaps want to save some money? Then do what I do and head over to Groupon! Checking out what is happening on Groupon is one of my first stops when I'm looking to mix things up, or trying to save a little money on a date night. When you're a military family, living in one of the most expensive places....but still need some quality time with the hubbs, I start looking for a deal.

When my parents were in town this summer I started checking Groupon almost daily for something different and fun to do. I stumbled upon an amazing deal for an evening, open-top, bus tour for four people. Now, all of us have seen DC before, walked around the monuments, drove by them; but this experience was really cool! The tour guide was fun and it was a great experience. It even rained on us during part of the night and that couldn't dampen our spirits (pun intended). The truth of the matter is I don't know that that would have ever occurred to me had I not discovered it on Groupon. We loved it so much that we would do it again!!


Awesome view from the top of the bus!!!!


My adorable parents, after a little shower...


From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, one of my favorite places in D.C.

Right now you can snag a Chocolate Tour tickets for 1, 2 or 4 with up to a 68% discount!!! Or maybe you're looking a fun family day-trip and want to check out the International Spy Museum (which we also definitely recommend!!)

So if you're looking to plan so date night, family outings, or group fun, head to Groupon here!
Also, make sure you're following Groupon on facebook and twitter for more fun and updates!



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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Camo Itty Bitty's from Hallmark!! *giveaway*


As a military family who loves our moto gear, these little guys from Hallmark are right up our alley!! I am so excited about these little guys, but can you really blame me? They are so darn cute.

itty bittys® Green Camo Boy Stuffed Animal

We added our Camo Ittys Bittys to our collection, which currently consists of this little guy from Rainbow Bright. 


You can find Itty Bitty's exclusively on Hallmark.com and at Hallmark Gold Crown stores! You can even get free pick-up at your local store. If you are looking for fun stocking stuffer for your military kid, or maybe something easy to send to your milkid or family member while you are deployed, these are a great option!



I'm so excited to partner with Hallmark and giveaway a pair of your own Camo Itty Bittys!! Simply leave a comment below telling me who you would give them to, or if you'd just keep these little guys for yourself (no shame in that! I want to steal them from my kids!!)




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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

When Anxiety and Depression Hits....again...




I hate to say that once you have a struggle you always will, but it has definitely been the truth in my case. I can feel when its coming. The tears come uncontrollably and often out of out no where. I start forgetting things, picking fights with my husband over nothing and wanting to lay in bed all day. Things like eating and taking a shower become optional. But after almost ten years of living with this struggle the signs are becoming more apparent to me, and I have the strength and gumption to identify them and own them. Owning your life, and all that comes along with it, are so important to living your life well. Whatever it may be, you have to take ownership of it. Being a victim of your depression and anxiety is no way to live and I won't stand for it for myself anymore.

My recent experiences have shown me that I don't have time for people that contribute to that depression and anxiety. And people who continually send you into a downward spiral...whether that be online or in person, deserve no place in your life. Holding on to them desperately because of the guilt you think you'll have by cutting them out of your life is nothing in comparison to the anxiety you will keep inside you by keeping them there. And once you own and acknowledge that truth, and let go of all the sadness over having to make a tough decision, a literal weight is lifted.

My more sensitive, people please, non-confrontational personality can be a good or bad thing. But isn't that true of most of our personality traits? I'll avoid confrontation at my own peril. And its not good for the person that you are avoiding it with, or yourself. Pretending you have no issues instead of being upfront and honest with them (whatever your reasons are) isn't fair to them or you. So what do you do?  Here's what I do for myself.....

1) Talk immediately to my husband or a designated friend ~ find your person that can help keep you centered. Someone that lets you vent that anxiety out and won't judge you. Whether it is depression caused by a medical issue, pregnancy, or triggered by a life event it doesn't matter. You have to be able to safely talk about it.

2) Don't wallow or cut yourself off ~ Usually when I'm sad I want to snuggle up and watch a movie and stay all snuggly. But when I'm going through something like this that is the very last thing I should be doing. Get up and get out! Take a walk, sit outside and read a book, go walk around somewhere.

3) Pray ~ When I'm struggling this is where I go. I usually take a deep breath and start praying wherever I am. Last time I felt it hit me and we were on our way someone. Hubby just started praying for me in the car.

4) Don't be afraid to see a doctor - This is so attached to the stigma of depression and anxiety. Whatever is happening, don't be afraid to go see a doctor, counselor, get some medication or whatever it is that you need. Sometimes you can't handle it alone. This last time around, it was definitely an particular event that triggered it for me and I was able, with my hubby and friends, and my own strength put the breaks on it before it went out of control. However, three times in my life I have gone on medication and was able to eventually stop taking it. I'm a huge believer in medication. Sometimes your brain needs a reset to get over the hump. I have never had a struggle with becoming addicted or having a relapse the moment that I stopped taking it. And while I know everyone's experience is different, and I am NOT a doctor, I want to be the voice that stands up and says "DON'T BE ASHAMED!!!"


Are you struggling? Don't be ashamed of that and own it! 
I'm always here to hear your stories. If you want to be a voice for people suffering please email me or leave a comment. The more voices the less the stigma has a chance to grab hold and get louder.





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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

DC/NoVA Adventures ~ Visit the River Farm!




The weather is starting to cool down a little bit, but the humidity and bugs are still fighting us aren't they? We just need to hold out a little bit longer for those to finally leave us, but the weekends as we approach October and Fall are perfect for outdoor adventures! One of my favorite places to take the kids is also one of my favorite free places to go!! The River Farm is located in Alexandria, Virginia and is only a hop, skip and a jump from Mount Vernon; and was once part of George Washington's five original farm properties. It also just happens to be the headquarters for the American Horticulture Society.







There are so many cool things to see here, and I love trying to visit during the different seasons because it changes so much. While you visit you can see White House gates that were at the WH in 1820, a teaching garden, a children's garden, a really cool meadow that my kids call a maze, and all sorts of fun little things. The beautiful Manor on the estates has a lower level open to the public, and sometimes features rotating displays from artists. The River Farm would also make a beautiful wedding venue. I'm imagining the pictures one could take and its so beautiful in my mind. The stunning views of the Potamac alone are just beautiful.





At the gift shop on-site you can peruse items from local makers, which is just another cool part of coming to visit this place. Homemade soaps, wooden bowls, stained glass and all sorts of gardening supplies for children are there. What I also love about the River Farm is that they want to preserve and encourage gardening for and to the next generation. I definitely consider it a dying art. It is something I remember my grandmother doing, and unlike her love of crochet, the gardening didn't stick. But its on my list of things to get back into because I think it is a valuable thing for children.

Visiting the farm is free, and so is parking. However, we always leave a donation when we go to visit. I encourage you to check out this really neat, and I believe undervalued 'Site to See' in the DC/VA area.






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