Cammo Style Love: March 2016

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Southern Fried Blues: The Officer's Ex-Wives Club Series {Author - Jamie Farrell} #RhesBookshelf

I'm a succor for anything Southern or Military related. It's true I'm afraid. My mama raised me on sweet tea and slaw dogs, where the four food groups include meat, mash potatoes, green beans and that beautifully sweet brown drink. It's a sensibility. And whether or not I actually ever spent a day of my life living in the South, or the fact that most would argue against calling West Virginia the "South". I still view myself as such. So I snatched up a copy of Southern Fried Blues by Jamie Farrell with great excitement!! I wasn't disappointed. Southern Fried Blues is every bit as Southern as I hoped.


A Yankee Lady Stuck in the South
Divorced wasn’t a label Anna Martin ever wanted. Now she’s a thousand miles from home, underemployed, and lonely, but she’s squeezing this lemon life gave her and turning it into lemon meringue pie. Never again will she let any man—especially another military man—get in the way of her career.

A Southern Gentleman Military Officer
Jackson Davis believes in family, football, and Uncle Sam. He treats ladies right, takes his uniform seriously, and he loves his dog, but he doesn’t reckon he’s built for true love. After all, if a man good as his daddy couldn’t do it right, what chance does Jackson have?

One Undeniable Attraction
These two vulnerable souls are as different as cornbread and ketchup, but they fit together like sweet butter on hot biscuits. Short-term, they’re exactly what the other needs. But when their hearts get involved, they’re both gonna end up with a big ol’ case of Southern Fried Blues.


Truthfully I started reading this book wanting to wring my hands right off my arms. The main character almost made me want to go insane! That may sound like I'm about to tell you to not even bother with reading it, but in fact its quite the opposite. I promise. So, the main character is a little quirky, and I might have spent a good portion of the book wondering why the most handsome man that I've never seen {Jackson} would be interested in our heroine. But never fear, it will all become clear. There's something about the two of them that just works. And the romance loving, book nerd, milspouse in me was pleased, just as much as someone who would love to have a heroine 
who doesn't need a man and accomplishes things on her own without giving anything up. How its possible that Jamie combined those two things with perfection is amazing. Although my most favorite part about this book {caution, slight spoiler} was the fact that Jackson didn't get out of the military. I'm pretty sure that this is the first military-connected novel that I have EVER EVER read where the service member didn't retire, find a way to leave early, or was injured and simply recovering before a medical retirement. Never ever! It's crazy, but sometimes I feel like that the book world is trying to tell me that somehow I can't find happiness as a currently serving military spouse. But not this book. I couldn't tell you how thrilled I was when I figured out that this was going to be the case! This book endeared itself to me simply on this fact alone. And Jackson, oh Jackson...probably one of my favorite military heroes in a novel...probably a close tie with CWO Miles Mikowski from Geri Krotow's Whidbey Island Series.  I love love love this book so much, and I'm so in love with this series. I really hope to see a few more books in it soon. Southern Fried Blues is a book that I will read over and over again, as long as this world has sweet tea and southern hospitality in it. Go now! You can thank me later.

**this book is a Romance novel, and does contain adult content; however it is done in a very Southern and classy way**

                                                               five out of five stars

Buy the book here!!! And if you are feeling wild you can buy the two in the series together!! 

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Monday, March 28, 2016

When You're an Extrovert With Anxiety {Who May or May Not Be a MilSpouse}

Ask anyone and they'll tell you I'm an extrovert. There's no question about it. I love to laugh, and be loud. Hanging with a crowd, going out with a group of people - it's where I love to be. But there's another side to be an extrovert that I've only recently faced head on.

When you're the extrovert you are almost always a couple of other things...

1) You are the initiator. You are frequently the planner, the organizer. The desire to go out and be around people drives you to pull others along with you. You value the time out and you recognize how important it can be to not only yourself, but to others as well.

2) You Reach Out. You typically make the phone calls, write the texts and send the emails. When you are feeling alone or miss people you text, call, poke, bug and annoy! Even though we do this naturally, and usually love it, it can be hard to keep this going.

There's another side to those things that I struggle with - trying to balance the 'Extrovert' in me with the realities of my struggles with depression and anxiety.

Anxiety and Depression are an Extroverts Battle too!

One of the biggest ways this manifests itself for me is the concern that my friends aren't actually my real friends. It sounds crazy, but if you think about it it can make perfect sense. When you are the planner and the caller, the person that reaches out, it isn't very often that someone needs to do that to you. Most likely you are beating them to the punch. But then there are days and weeks, or even months, that go by without hearing from someone because YOU haven't been the one to call them. You think, "does this person even like me?" It's a combination of factors that has led you to this point. When I'm anxious or overwhelmed I draw in to myself, I don't talk about it, and I don't ask for help. Thus the downward spiral begins. I stop calling, stop texting and therefore I become more isolated. No one is calling me, because I'm the caller! Or maybe its because they aren't actually my friend and don't really like me. Maybe not, but my brain can't rationalize the difference. Sometimes I just don't want to be the 'caller'. But on the other hand I realize that it might not be fair to suddenly alter a relationship without telling the other person. I don't know what its like to be an introvert, or someone that doesn't like to talk on the phone.

If you are someone who is the 'Reacher" you may have heard "well, I always think you're too busy. You look like you're so busy!" Don't let those stop you from calling someone! I try to be the kind of person that will answer the phone quickly to acknowledge the call and say that I will return it quickly. Because you know what happens? A day turns into a week, which turns into a month. Pretty soon, its been six months and you've haven't talked to that person. As an extrovert I will NEVER NEVER ever be too busy for contact...even phone or text contact. In fact I would guess that most of us literally light up and smile so big it hurts when my phone rings! The only exception came when I was suffering from some major depression. 

The realities of a Milspouse Extrovert with Anxiety....

This particular part of my life can really accentuate my anxiety. Moving away from the ones you love, from the ones you've built your life around and with changes things. Whether you are an extrovert or not. I'm here to tell you, this three hour time difference is pretty crappy and is the worst!!! This has been one the single hardest things of my life, keeping relationships strong and connected. I can't do it with facebook and instagram alone! It might be my age showing here, but I just can't. I need a voice to go with that relationship; and I refuse to let my busy life get in the way of what fills my love jar {have you read a Love Languages book?}. My depression that kicked in with my last move was all-consuming. Even I, the queen of the extroverts, didn't pick up the phone. I knew it was a lot to ask to not have people not give up on me, after months of not picking up the phone. But I beg of you, if you find yourself in this situation, keep calling them. 

So, what can you do as an Extrovert in this situation? I don't really know or have the answers. I'm going through this right now and this is the first time I've talked about it; navigating these waters for the first time.  But I will say this one thing...

Communicate. I think as women, whether we are moms or not, we know how to talk. We talk about our feelings and frustrations. But are we really communicating? I would argue we aren't. As a self-proclaimed expert in emotions and sensitivity I am terrible at communicating. I never ask for help, I never tell someone that I'm struggling until its zero hour and I've forgotten two things for the meeting we are at and I'm bawling as I race home in my car for the SECOND time to get it. I walk back in and I've fixed my face having not expressed my feelings or how I'm struggling. It's not good. Admitting your struggles doesn't make you weak!

From the perspective of an extrovert, what can you do
 when your extrovert isn't quite themselves?

1. Call them now!!! Something is probably up. If you haven't had a major falling out, they aren't sick or something along those lines, then something is right. When an extrovert isn't being an extrovert something is not right.

2. Get out of your comfort zone.  You might not be extrovert and you rely on these extroverted friends of yours to get you out of the house. Well, you might have to step out of your comfort zone.

3. But what if I'm a mom and they're a mom and the kids are running around crazy!!! I feel like these are the people that need someone calling them the most, and you need to talk the most! Our kids are our lives, and our husbands are important, but self-care is also important. As a military spouse I also rely on my legacy of friendship to get me through those times I feel isolated. When I'm in between friendships, or developing new ones, or just long for the "good old days."  Those long time friends, despite how much you talk to them, end up being the most valuable things you have in your lives. Don't forget about those people.

I hope this blog post touches someone, speaks to someone, or someone that is feeling this same way is validated by reading this. Are you struggling with this same feeling? How do you cope with them? If you are a military spouse feeling this way contact Military One Source. It was one of the best decisions I made. Please contact me as well, anytime!!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Visit with the Canadian Prime Minister #WHSocial

 It was an absolutely beautiful day at The White House, and no matter how many times I get the opportunity to walk on these hallowed grounds I will never stop being an awe. My heart will always flutter and my eyes will always tear. I'm sure it sounds lame to others, but I will always have a deep reverence for the place, the people in it, and what it represents. I found myself lucky enough, on that beautiful day, to be at the official welcoming of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. As part of a special group of influencers, those in my group were invited to attend the event, talk about what we saw and learn more about how social media is becoming more and more important in the way we communicate and interact with those in government positions.

After the event we sat down and spoke with some of the comms team for both the President and the Prime Minister. While social media interaction with The White House seems like its been around for forever, it really has only been to the level it has for less than eight years. In Canada it has been even shorter. As a military spouse, who utilizes social media for so much I have seen the power. Social media is a huge part of how we communicate and advocate. Our government leaders hold twitter chats and live Facebook town halls. Our current President, and leaders, are on the cusp of this technology and have leveraged it in their favor....but it has also been a huge success for those of us that feel the need to make a change. We feel as if we have a voice and that we are being listened to. No longer do we have the days where word can not be spread easily, leaders can be protected because the only way you can reach them is letters. Your average citizen has the power to use social media in a way they never have before. It's crazy! And to imagine, someone like myself, who doesn't work for a major news organization, now gets the opportunity to attend media events, listen to press briefings in person, and cover stories from The White House...well, it's astounding.

Canada hasn't quite hit this same level, and they don't use social media in the same way that we do. But it's growing in leaps and bounds....growing followers for the Prime Minister from hundreds to millions in a single day. It's evolving there, as it has here. But listening to them speak, almost boggled my mind. How quickly we forget though that that was us not too long ago. It will be exciting to watch how social media changes for us, for them, and how it continues to grow.

Do you use social media to advocate or communicate
with government officials?

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Monday, March 7, 2016

British Soccer Camp is Coming this Summer!

Summer is quickly approaching and its time to start thinking about camp options for the kiddos! While I don't like to book my kids up too much, I really think the elementary age is a really good time in a kid's life to experience summer day camps. Here in the Cammo Style Love house, we love our RecCenters. They are such an easy and simple way for kids to experience sporting activities without the pressure of a competitive team sport, especially if they aren't ready. By participating in summer camps like British Soccer Camp kids can learn the basics of a sport, team-building skills and they get active! So if you aren't ready for the commitment of competitive teams, a camp like this is just what I recommend.

British Soccer Camp is the most popular camp in North America - 150,000 campers! With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, British Soccer Camps provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert's right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

Those local to the DC Metro area have several options to participate; but my readers located in other states you are NOT out of luck! Check out Challenger Sports to see what soccer camps are available near you, and get acquainted with Challenger sports and what else they offer.

Enroll in British Soccer Camps and receive a  FREE Water Bottle with code: USFG16

**this post is presented in partnership with US Family Guide. I received compensation for my participation in this project. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own and I strive to bring the best to my readers**
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Friday, March 4, 2016

Keeping Your Identity Safe in the Military and Civilian World - Sponsored

These days, most people have some experience with identity theft or fraudulent charges. We have had several experiences ourselves, and each time it happens its one of the most terrifying things ever. Despite knowing that we have a wonderful bank that has taken care of us when we have had these incidents before; I still find myself close to tearing up and full-blown panic sets in. Who is doing this? Why are they doing this and how did this even happen? It boggles my mind that despite being careful this happens. How can we protect ourselves from something like that especially when our loved ones are traveling frequently, deploying and our families PCS? Our documents and information are constantly moving around which can put us at great risk.  So many people in our community have recently had information compromised through major security breaches. The risks are real and out there; but here are simple easy steps we call can take, military or not, to keep our identities safe.

1. Shred - Shredding documents is an easy way to get rid of documents with identifying information.
Whether they are bills you are done with, old medical and banking information or receipts; making sure you don't toss these things out is a really easy way to protect yourself. Keep in mind that the criss-cross shred is the most effective. You can also look up more info about shredding in your county. Many times there is a community shred day where people can bring in items to be destroyed. It's a great program. 

2. Safe - A regular or document safe is another relatively easy step. We own a safe where my husband keeps all of his pertinent military documents, This would also be the place where we keep anything we wouldn't normally shred. Some people still use safe deposit boxes as well. 

3. Monitoring Service - For those wanting to kick it up a notch, there are monitoring services that aid in keeping you safe. I am so pleased to be able to partner with Lifelock and present their Military offer to you all. Having an extra layer of protection is seemly more necessary these days then it ever was before. Lifelock offers amazing protection for your monetary interests and your identity; and that is something that you can't put a price tag on. With Lifelock you can expect someone is keeping an eye on your identity 24/7, alerting you the moment something comes up, and taking care of you to fix an issue once it is identified. 

Lifelock stands by the men and women of the Armed Forces, by acknowledging their service to our country and providing these families with an amazing discount for their services. This is something as a military spouse that I appreciate. By signing up for Lifelock you will receive a 30-day trial of their standard protection plan, plus 15% off the lifetime of your membership. With that you receive perks like live US based support, address change verification, reduced pre-approved credit card offers and more. 

Visit Lifelock and make sure the code WESALUTE3 is entered in the 'Partner/Code" section and you are set. Enjoy the security and comfort in knowing that you are protected.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LifeLock. The opinions and text are all mine.

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

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