Cammo Style Love: 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Long Road Home is An All Too Familiar One

When I stepped into the press room that was set up in one of the auditoriums on Fort Hood I was expecting a typical press junket. The ride over in the bus should have tipped me to the fact that my experience would different than any that I had before, but those are stories that I keep all for myself. None the less I wasn't expecting to have the very deep, emotional experience I have ever had. The week before I had been in a room with other military bloggers, entrepreneurs and influencers as we sat and listened to two of the soldiers who had been there that Sunday, as well as the director of the mini-series. We watched an extended trailer, and while there was an important emphasis placed on the families that were a part of this story, I didn't feel it. The trailer shows parts of home life, the typical military experiences of goodbyes and phone calls. The phrase, "not another war movie" was thrown around. But all this still did not prepare me for what The Long Road Home really is.




I was privileged to be at the Fort Hood premier of The Long Road Home, sitting in the very auditorium the 1st Cav deployed from, sitting amongst the families of those depicted in the movie, and alongside the men that were really there. I count myself lucky in my life, because if we're honest who wouldn't want to find themselves sitting at a star-studded event. But, as I sat in that press room it became very clear to me that this was not about them, and that everyone standing in front of me had been forever changed by their experience filming this series. It was the first time I had ever found myself crying while trying to ask a question. More on that on my podcast this week, so make sure you check that out.



Back to the reason we were there. National Geographic has outdone themselves, by joining with Martha Raddazt, author of the book, and screenwriter Mikko Alanne. Everything they had said over and over again last week at the conference I attended, and tonight in the press room was true. The powerful story that was on the screen had very little to do with other war movies I have seen. So much time was spent on the families. It was true, this was different. The down side of all of that being true is that I was sitting there watching my life on the screen. The words coming out of the mouths of the kids on the screen were almost exact reproductions of what has happened in my life. That feeling when your cell phone goes off in the middle of church because no milspouse in her right mind ever turns her phone off for fear of missing THE call. The real anger I felt when the issue of "rumors" was addressed. It was because all of those things had either happened in my life or in the lives of the people I know.




As the lights in the auditorium slowly flickered on, after watching the first two episodes, there were tears and hugs around the room. Couples held hands and slowly walked out silent, families held each other close and friends gave each other hugs. Sitting and watching feels like going through something. Its a lot to process, but the process is important. We are heading into eighteen years of this. We hear constantly that the American public is tired, that they are forgetting. I get it. But I hope that the words echoed by many that took part in the creation of this series ring true. That this remind everyone of what military families go through still. That people can stop and process that these are people, and that you don't have to be pro-war to be pro-military.

I hope you watch, in whatever way you need to. Take your time and really watch what is happening on the screen. You will be changed, that I can promise.



The Long Road Home Premiers Tonight!




Rheanna
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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Have You Seen Cirque Du Soleil?! *Attn MilFams in Germany!*

We finally were able to check something off our bucket list and attend a Cirque Du Soleil show here in DC! I was so absolutely thrilled for the opportunity to see it AND take the kiddos. This event was also completely designed for families and kids. This was the coolest live show in a long time and I was excited to be able to share that with my children. I could ramble on and on, but sharing the pictures with you will be so much better!!!

OVO is teeming with life. Insects work, play and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy in motion. Their home is filled with biodiversity, beauty, action and moments of quiet emotion. The awestruck insects are extremely curious when a mysterious egg appears, representing the enigma and cycles of their life. 

Meet Amazing Ants, Flexible Fleas, Silky Spiders and Crazy Crickets!

If you are currently stationed in Germany, OVO is coming to you!!! This is a fantastic show that the whole family would love!!











*this post is in partnership with US Family Guide. I received tickets in exchange for my honest review*



 Rheanna
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Friday, October 13, 2017

Rhe's Bookshelf - Spotlight on Washington Romance Writers

*This post contains adult themes and affiliate links*


This past weekend I spent some time with some of my favorite people, the authors of the Washington Romance Writers group at their Readers, Bloggers and Librarians Luncheon. This is my favorite thing I do all year. Being your people is amazing and these are my people. We always have fun, laugh, never run out of words and just plain have a great time. Supporting each other as a group is a priority and you feel it. Yes, these authors are here to support their own books, but one of the reasons I was so drawn to this group was their desire to build relationships with their readers and with each other. This group has been helping me support military spouses for several years now by donating gift cards, books and swag to National Guard spouses remotely stationed. So on this edition of Rhe's Bookshelf I'm going to share a couple of books written by these amazing local authors!!


Geri Krotow

  Geri's book, Navy Rules was my very first romance book. Most secular fiction these days have sex in it, books that you wouldn't consider to be 'romance novels'. But Geri's book was my first romance novel, in the Harlequin family, that was traditional romance novel. I was going through a deployment and I was wondering the aisle of Walmart. I took my kids to the bathroom, which just happened to be right by the book section. On the cover was a man in a flight suit, with a jet plane and a military service dog. It caught my eye and picked it up. The rest is history. I've read almost every single book she's written so its hard to pick my favorites but these are my some of favorites.


Commander Max Ford was injured in combat and returned to Whidbey Island to recover, the help of a therapy dog. The owner of the dog is Winnie Armstrong, widow of his closest friend. They are thrown together again which forces them to confront the biggest secret between them. 

I'm partial to Navy Rules because it was my first. I'm partial to this book because this woman is my friend now and I am so grateful to know her. But this writing is good guys. I was drawn into the story because this isn't your mother's or grandmother's romance novel. There's a significant storyline in a lot of these books, and this one is no exception. And because Geri is a Veteran and a military spouse she gets it right. And I never knew how important that would be to me until I started reading these books. You will feel a connection to these characters. If you aren't connected to the military you will get a very real window into the lives of military families. 


Jamie Farrell


Her Rebel Heart is a sassy book!! You will laugh hysterically when you read this. The kind of laugh that if you have birthed more than one child will probably make you pee your pants!! If you are all about a small town, make you belly laugh, pulls at your heart strings story - with a Southern Twang - The Officer's Ex-Wives Club books, as well as the rest of Jamie Farrell's books are exactly for you. 





MK Meredith

This woman is my heart, a fellow military spouse, a Breast Cancer survivor and plain amazing. The kindest heart and the brightest smile. But on top of all of that she's an amazing writer. She writes saucy stories perfect for a snuggle in front of the fireplace. 


Drago De Luca is an international tycoon in beautiful Italy. His beloved grandmother's family inn is on the verge of closing its door thanks to a hotel heiress from America. Chase is trying to prove she's got what it takes beyond her family name. Winning over the people of this beautiful Italian town is priority number one. She meets Drago who claims he will show her around and get the town to fall in love with her. But the truth is he's out to make sure he fails. Somewhere along the way they fall in love with each other, against their better judgement. 

Seducing the Tycoon is one of my favorite kinds of romance novels because it draws you in to the personal life of the characters. And what I truly think makes it stand out among many others is that it takes the time to connect you to Drago, your male character. You are drawn into his life and are moved by his relationship with his grandmother. I don't feel like that happens a lot in these types stories. And boy is it a little on the steamy side!! I just got her newest book, Love on the Cape, and I can't wait to read it and get you guys the review. 




Uma is running away from an abusive and possessive relationship. With no idea of her own self worth she takes a job that will forever change her life. Ivan doesn't look like the compassionate and gentle man he is. He is determined to heal Uma's wounds, both physical and mental.

This book was entirely unexpected and surprised me at every turn. This intensely emotional story made me feel so deeply. It touched me right to the core and brought tears to my eyes. This is one of the reasons I was pulled into this incredible community. The intensity with which some of these stories are created is so real. This is not about the romance. These are real humans and could be someone you know. Adriana doesn't write your typical fairy tale. These are gritty and raw stories that showcase the best of what humans can be, even if they don't look crisp and pristine. Under Her Skin is an amazing book and I would highly recommend you click on that link and get it right now! I've also seen it in the wild on the shelf at Barnes and Noble!

Visit the Washington Romance Writers website to find more local authors! There are so many more amazing ones on the list. You can also find a local chapter of Romance Writers of America by visiting their site. I love supporting local writers and small businesses and you should too!!





Rheanna
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

My Kids Do Chores, and Why Yours Should Too!

School's in full swing and we are fully embraced in our new schedule. So it's the perfect time to evaluate the chore duties. We have three kids, and they are all their unique person. But let's face it, when more often than not I'm here alone with them the easiest road is the one I often choose. But chores are important, and no matter what you're doing them so we should all get to a place where we can accept that. Acceptance is key! In our home we also pay for chores. It's one of those marriage compromises, that I ended up totally coming on board with and we have seen the payoff *no pun intended*. We don't pay lot, but we pay enough for them to understand the value of money and get into the habit of saving. I use a great allowance app with a profile for each kid. They can also choose to put money in their piggy bank if they want. They also have a goal they are working towards and we encourage them to pick something special. You see the beauty of them making their own money is now they buy themselves anything they want. So outside of birthdays I now can say "save your money for it!" The second benefit is their desire to do extra chores and coming up with the idea on their own! It's lovely!!

So what types of chores do they do?
 
-It should be noted that my kids are also required to participate in the our household like putting away folded laundry, clearing the table, keeping their rooms clean as best they can and other things that are part of keeping our home together-

The 11 yr old $2.50

  • Vacuuming
  • cat box duty
  • dusting
  • unloading dishes
  • vacuuming and mop kitchen and mud room
  • extra chores we ask
The 8 yr old 1.50

  • Bathroom (minus chemicals for shower and tub)
  • vacuum and mop bathroom
  • wipe down kitchen cabinets
  • dusting (splits with brother)
The 5 yr old .75

  • windows ( whatever he can reach)
  • bathroom trash
  • recycling
  • he loves extra chores, so he'll ask regularly for them

You have to change your point of view

If you are a super type A person this will either drive you crazy or be a great learning experience....what I'm hoping is that its both. It's okay to want perfection. I'm kind of that way about my living room. It's my space, with no kids toys or anything like that. So there I get to be crazy and organized. But the dishwasher, maybe not the best place to go crazy. 1) they won't learn how to do it and 2) they won't want to do it with a happy heart. When are having company sometimes you'll see be bust out the cleaning supplies for a grown-up once over. But its so important to us that they kids also recognize and take ownership over the space.  Kids can do way more than we think they can and we have seen the benefit in our household.

What kinds of chores are done at your house?
Got any questions?  


Rheanna
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dreaming of a California Fall


You can take the girl out of California, but you can't take the California out of the girl.

Never has a truer statement been made. I haven't lived in California for close to thirteen years, but its where I was born and raised. We moved to Nevada about five months after we got married and then moved to the East Coast in 2012. But its really hard for me to let go of the sense of style that I created when I lived on the West Coast. Most of it is just because we have some of the best weather ever. I mean Northern California is pretty darn awesome. You drive two hours in any direction and you can find yourself in a different climate - Forrest, lakes, ocean, city, coastal towns, desert....whatever you're looking for we've got it close by. And we don't have to deal with snow or earth quakes. It's about as amazing as it gets. 

So when I get the occasion to bust out some of my west coast style I jump on it. There are very few weeks here where I can combine my fall and summer looks to create "California Fall". You know flip flops and jeans? It's the classier, and less basic, version of Uggs and skirts {don't get me started on that one}.  Thankfully I have Old Navy close by which never disappoints when I need some California inspired love. Where else can I purchase a cute tank top, and go one rack over and find a boyfriend Cardi? The key is color and confidence. Combine some Summer and Fall colors together, throw on some Rainbow flip flops and some cute sunnies are you're good to go. And while you might not be able to afford the Ballenciaga handbag pictured below, its the perfect Summer to Fall purse color!


California Fall





What I'm Wearing

Sandals: Rainbow Braided Flip Flops (Tilly's Gives a Military Discount In Store)
Sunnies: Palm Eye Wear - Bocca




 Rheanna
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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Rhe's Bookshelf - A Visit to Summer Grove with Cindy Woodsmall's New Series


I am so excited to be doing a book review for ya'll! It's been awhile since we've paid a visit to my bookshelf and I'm really excited to bring you guys a new book from my favorite Amish-life author. Cindy first came across my bookshelf a couple years ago with the Amish Vines and Vineyards series which is the reason why I started reading Amish books in the first place. It never seemed like anything I would love but I did!! When the series was done I had some serious sadness and withdrawl issues. But Ms Woodsmall is back with what is going to be another amazing series; and I was lucky enough to check out the first two books.



summary



Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.

Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.


summary

The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago. Now she’s immersed in the Englischer world, getting to know her mother and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana’s worldview. Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend
living Englisch, can help steady Ariana’s tilting ground between the two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals?

At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spend several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life—no electricity, no technology, no fun. What the young woman can’t leave behind is her addiction to illegal prescription drugs and deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn’t belong in either family.
New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have. Can they find the wisdom and strength they’ll need to follow God’s threads into unexpected futures?


Review

So I didn't read the back cover of book one, so I had no idea what was coming. Feeling emotional while reading a book is really one of the most important things I look for when reading fiction. I want to feel what these characters feel. That is what gets you through a book, makes you want to continue on and find out what happens. The writing, again, sucks you in as Cindy is so skilled at drawing you into the Amish world. The relationships of the family, and the love that the main character shows to the family draws you in. Quill is one of my favorite characters in Ms Woodsmall's books. His passion and love for the faith, while in direct opposition to his life, was emotional. You could feel it coming from the book. I found myself simultaneously angry, imagining how parts of this book could never actually happen in real life....while also thinking, "What would happen if this was real life?"

Cindy's books are an easy and enjoyable read, but don't mistake that for simple or something that isn't complex. The relationships are hard, and the reality of what these people are dealing with his powerful and very, very real. People might get angry at the way some of the characters behave, I know I did, but you have to understand the reality of the world these characters live in. It's a very real world. Looking at these books as not only an enjoyable read but as an education as well is important. These books are an education for its readers, and Ms Woodsmall expertly does so.

have you read any Amish fiction? I'd love hear about it!! 
And one lucky reader will win their own copies of books 1 and 2 of this series!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~Rheanna
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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Making Back To School Easier with HIVE {sponsored}


We are officially in the swing of Back To School. It is day two and I've survived so far. Mr. Air Force took the day off yesterday because we were sending our baby off to Kindergarten. I think this week I'm going to be living in denial and next week will really begin my new reality. It might seem like I'm a free bird, that I've got all the time in the world, but there's just a whole new world of things that I've been dying to do that I just couldn't before. This is a whole new season of life for me and I'm giving myself a week to wallow and then I'll be excited about it. But, its the little things that can make life easier that can make all the difference.




You've heard me talk about HIVE recently. I unveiled this product on my blog about a month ago and we are still loving it. The product isn't anything major, it hasn't totally revolutionized our lives or made life-altering changes; but isn't the small things that can make life easier? We can also save money and be safer too! Having three kids in school means more evening activities. More time for us to be out of the house. Now with a simple app and HIVE our outdoor lights at night will switch on, we can adjust the temperature in our home (what is with this cold, rainy weather today?!) and know when our oldest gets home if we had to leave before he arrived.


So in the business of Back To School and adjusting to new schedules and our new found busy-ness it is nice to not have to worry about stuff like this. If I forgot to make sure the outside lights go on, or the lamp in the living room so that I don't walk into an empty house, HIVE will do it for me. If suddenly the day that was supposed to be cold gets ridiculously hot I can make sure that the air conditioning comes on so that it's not forced to overwork by cooling down a suddenly sweltering house! And while I'm constantly warring in my head over technology and how much I should have in my home, I will admit that when I'm alone and busy THIS kind of technology is exactly my speed.


REASONS TO CHECK OUT HIVE!

  1. Affordable - With three plans available to you, anyone can find one that fits for them! Welcome Home kits contain a little bit of everything and range from $9.99 to $39.99 a month. Control lights, temps and know when your back door opens!
  2. Safety - The HIVE Home Check plan is exactly for those that want to up the safety aspects of their homes. For $19.99 a month you can make sure your porch light is on before you come home, check your door and window and be alerted to any motion! Feel secure when you come home. 
  3. Efficiency - Being efficient makes the whole affordable thing even better. For only $12.99 a month you can take your thermostat to the future! I talked about this specifically in my last post, and how even in our old home we were able to get this connected and set up. And efficiency is older homes can be TOUGH!! But being able to manage our homes heating and cooling from anywhere is a game changer. I can adjust it to begin cooling before we get home, but I don't have keep the air running the whole time I'm gone. This I can get behind.
Go Check out HIVE now!!!








Rheanna
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