Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Brides Across America: only one day left!

Last November, I participated in a free bridal giveaway event at Sposabella Bridal in Feasterville, PA.  It was made possible by a program called Brides Across America, which partners with local bridal shops to giveaway designer bridal gowns to military brides.  Of course, I jumped at the chance to utilize this fantastic opportunity because my soldier and I need all the help we can get!  It's already difficult enough to go through a year of separation because the military says so, and now, we have to wait to have our formal wedding.

There are a lot of things in life that you have to make compromises for and this was a big one for me.  Brides Across America understands that a lot of military brides might not have the chance to have the "wedding of their dreams" because of their fiance's service.  It's more common than not for military brides to marry without having an actual wedding and/or reception - it's a hard reality.  Because my soldier had orders to go to Korea, we had to make big decisions quick.  We had our civil ceremony before he left, just so I can have the benefits while he's away, just in case anything happens.
This program was made for our situation.  We had a civil ceremony and will have a formal wedding when he gets back.  It's comforting to know that there is a whole organization thinking of military brides and understanding the struggles we face.  Being a part of this program lit a fire within me though. After picking my dress with some of my closest girlfriends, it gave me some motivation to look forward to our formal wedding.  Not only will my soldier and I get to start our life together when he gets back, but now I have the perfect dress brought to me by a team of very thoughtful women to walk down the aisle in...I see light at the end of the tunnel!

When I registered, there was a $20 service charge that goes to the organization.  The funds ensure that the great mission of Brides Across America can continue to reach out to more military brides.  I found out that Groupon Grassroots had an option for everyone to donate $10 and it will be matched by Impression Bridal, so logon to Groupon today to help out future military brides!!  It's such a fantastic organization that has effected me dearly.

Only one day left!!

Click on this link: http://www.groupon.com/deals/brides-across-america-inc

The Sequestration

Sometimes I wish I lived under a rock.  All over the news I've been hearing about the Sequestration going into effect very soon (March 1 to be exact), if we don't resolve our issues.  Of course, it's a huge disappointment that it might result in such a drastic decision.  Well, this actually isn't the first time something like this was brought to our attention.  In 2011, we had a debt ceiling standoff and earlier this year we had the "fiscal cliff."  Our government has created a series of "save our butt" moves, just in case things just get really bad with our national spending.  Fast forward to now, it looks like the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 is actually going to come to fruition.  To a political layman like myself, I don't exact understand all the behind the scenes policy mumbojumbo.  I'm only educating myself to the best of my ability and I'm realizing that it's worrying a lot of people, especially the military community.

The story on CNN called, CNN Explains: Sequestration helped me get a grasp on all the craziness and this story today on ABC News called, Sequester Timeline: When Will the Cuts Be Felt?

After reading the latter article, I thought I should be a little prudent on my blog.  This is something that is on my mind because it can possibly effect my husband's future.  Not only am I seeing general stories on the overall effects, I'm reading things about all changes that will happen in the defense budget.  This story on CNN perfectly outlines the concern: Military pay in play in game of political poker.

Also, if you're active on social media in all the milspouse pages, etc. you probably came across Bianca Strazalkowski's An Open Letter to Congress on The Huffington Post.  I believe it speaks for all milspouses and those that care for someone that is serving our country.  Now that it seems like a sequester is in our future, we can only brace ourselves for what will happen. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm on Facebook!

Hi there friends!

Yesterday (or was it the day before?), I set-up my Facebook page!  Please come check it out when you get a chance at: https://www.facebook.com/theprofessionalarmywife

I'll be updating as much as I can with my thoughts, news and my recent writings.  Thanks everyone!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Playing the Bride at Oheka Castle!

Last Sunday, my friend and I went to Oheka Castle to participate in their bridal show.  Another friend actually told me about this venue and bridal show awhile back.  I thought it would be good to check it out, especially now that I'm planning a formal wedding for my soldier and I.

I'm so excited because I believe we've got a pretty definite date.  Now that I know our venue, I can start getting my thoughts together on details - i.e. invitations, centerpieces, music, etc.  Although, we aren't having our wedding in New York, the bridal show at Oheka was nice to get ideas, just like the Martha Stewart Wedding Party!  To be honest, everything at Oheka is definitely over budget.  I liked being able to get an opportunity to see how the other side puts together a wedding.  I'm just thrilled to be able to get my friends and family together to celebrate my soldier and I's marriage!  It doesn't matter how much money we spend (of course, we are keeping a tight budget) because I know it will be an amazing day!

Here are some photos that my friend took at the Oheka bridal show.

Driving up to the Castle.

Walking down the hall to see the rooms.  

Sample centerpiece, it was huge!

View from the bridal suite, a nice maze.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Things are looking up!


I just got my husband's LES statement - and everything seems to be squared away!  I won't breathe a full sigh of relief quite yet.  I'm going to wait till everything gets into his bank account before I start jumping up and down.  It's a good sign that the correct rate is showing up on his LES.

Things are slowly but surely looking up for us.  From the start of our marriage, it seemed like whatever could go wrong did go wrong, in regards to getting things together before he left for Korea.  Then, when we a problem arose with our BAH, I've almost had it!  It can get very stressful waiting on paperwork and other instructions I also feel like things got lost in translation.  That was the problem when we first got married.  My husband didn't know the deal, so he wasn't exactly clear on what to do and a lot of other stuff was happening at the same time.  I had my mind set on traveling to Texas and all the details on our civil ceremony.  Little did I know, that my soldier was getting a little overwhelmed himself - and didn't quite do all the active research to get my entered into DEERS and other stuff.

I wanted to pass along my story on advice I wish I had before I got married, which I wrote for MilPages.  This link will take you there.  Between all our troubles with getting me into DEERS (what the MilPages story talks about) to the BAH problem, I'm learning that you can never really prepare for what happens in Army life.  What you have to do is prepare yourself to the surprises that comes your way.  I'm going to have countless more Army surprises and I have to rise up from the setbacks.  My soldier and I are in this together.  I'm also going to have to realize it's not his fault all the time.  :-)

(Image location)

Friday, February 22, 2013

How I Met Martha Stewart

Yes, my husband and I are legally married.  We got married just a a couple weeks before he was shipped off overseas.  It was mostly to make sure I am properly taken care of while he's away - and because I'm working full-time here in the city - it's an opportunity to save up for our future together too.  I have every intention to plan my "dream wedding."  I actually don't want anything huge, just to get married in my childhood church and have a reception with music and dancing.  We are currently planning that "dream wedding" and our date is set for when he gets back!

I've been budgeting, booking, brainstorming and planning the wedding with my soldier.  Wedding planning can get a little overwhelming at times.  That's why "bridal showcases" are so popular, because it puts all the necessary vendors in one location.  One of my closest friends brought to my attention the Martha Stewart Wedding Party.  When I read more about it and saw that a ticket was more than a hundred dollars, I told her that it was a bit too much for me.  Also, I'm sure it would feature lots of vendors in the NYC-area and that wouldn't work so much because our wedding will take place in Texas.  My friend took it upon herself and reached out to the event planners, The Wedding Library and shared with them my story anyway. She also passed along my first blog post for Loving a Soldier that explains things in depth more. (Here is the link to the post.)

After all of that, they allowed me to attend with a press pass.  I was truly amazed and got really excited.  Even with a lot of the vendors based in NYC, I was eager to go because I can still get a lot of ideas.  They had expert panelists explaining things further, etc.

With another friend in tote, I went to Gotham Hall in NYC where the event was being held.  We scoured every booth for potential themes, colors and ideas.  It was a fun experience and nice to play a bride.  We spent almost three hours at the event  and saw every booth.  My friend and I just got our coats because we were ready to leave.  That's when we spotted Martha.  My heart skipped a beat and I knew at that moment, I needed to get a picture with her.  I handed my camera to my friend and walked up next to her.  She had a large entourage and several people were vying for her attention, but I was determined.  I was convinced if I just had 30 seconds to explain myself, she would stop for a brief moment.

I was right.  Martha was walking and talking to others around her.  I came up and told her I recently married a soldier and had to sacrifice the formal wedding at first, but now I'm planning one in his absence.  I told her I'm chronicling my journey and would love a picture with her!


Thanks Martha for stopping for a milspouse and to the folks at The Wedding Library for giving me a chance to experience such a great bridal showcase!

Check out highlights from the show here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My Current MilSpouse Frustration

It’s almost March, so my husband has been in country for nearly two months – and finance has YET to get our BAH correct.  So far, we’ve only received less than half of one month’s entitled rate!  Not to mention the back pay we should receive from the moment we got married in December.  Honestly, I’m very annoyed.  Lucky for us, I’m working and have my own income, otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to make any rent or bill payments.  It’s really ridiculous. 

I noticed the discrepancy when I was logged onto my limited access account to my husband’s MyPay.  It had the wrong zip code for our BAH earnings (the very weird part of all this is the COLA zip code is correct).  I quickly made my husband aware of the inaccuracy, so he can make an appointment with finance to fix the problem.  After several painstaking days later, he was able to go to finance at the bigger installation to get the issue resolved (or so we thought).  My husband assured me that we should be getting all appropriate payments by the first of this coming month (he personally witnessed them enter it into the system).

Well, we were wrong.  Yesterday, he had a training class to attend at the main installation and saw that finance had a desk set-up, so he took it as an opportunity to check in on the process of our BAH.  That’s when he told me the news that he wasn’t marked down for any BAH at all!  Somehow, we were removed from receiving BAH.  My husband called me during his lunch break, which is before bed time for me.  I was irritated and so was he.  This is a huge problem – and I can’t believe that this caliber of a mistake is being made.  I just feel for the families out there that don’t have any other source of income or have children to worry about. If this problem was theirs, it would be so much worse. 

I really hope this issue gets resolved for us soon because I can use some piece of mind.  For all the milspouses out there that are interested in getting limited access to your husband’s MyPay accounts – I really recommend that you do! – I wrote a piece on it on MilPages.  Check it out here.  It also talks about tax filing options, so hopefully it would be useful in other ways!

Anyway, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed!  Has anyone else dealt with major finance problems?!  

(Image credit: it was the first one to pop up when I googled "frustration" here)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

One of my best friends sent this to me…

When I initially read it, my eyes welled up with tears. It was spot on with how I felt about my long distance relationship with my husband. To the average person, I am probably insane. I married my husband without ever actually living in close proximity to him. The closest that I was to him was 5.5 driving hours. Now, he’s about a 15 hour plane ride away. We would spend a lot of time together at once though, lots (I mean, lots) of weekends to weeks at a time when he had leave. Every moment I spent with him was precious and it certainly added up to build a solid relationship. I long for him when we are away and I am wholeheartedly in our marriage 150%. If I didn’t feel confident in us, I wouldn’t have made the decision to commit myself.

Then, I got curious to where that quote is from. Is it a part of a book? Did a famous person say it? I googled the first line and found this story on Oprah.com. The quote seems to just be an excerpt on an article about long distance relationships. Following the quote that my friend pass along to me, the article read: “Yes, the long-distance relationship may be doomed. You can't go on that way forever. But as long as you do, you'll embody the twin virtues of independence and imagination. As you fall asleep alone, you'll conjure the scent of your lover's neck, the timbre of a voice over fiber optics, the ecstasy of seeing his face at the front door, which, thanks to him, is your favorite place in the whole house.”

Well, it’s certainly right. I won't be able to live this way forever.  As soon as my soldier gets back from overseas, we have plans to be together in a permanent home. Right now, we don’t know where that would be, but it’s in the works! In the meantime, I’ll continue to long for him and cherish all the chances I get to spend with him in person (which won’t be a lot of times in this year!).

Have you and your soldier ever endured long distance?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What I loved about Fort Drum Country

I met my soldier when he was stationed in Fort Drum.

At the time, he didn't have a lot of great things to say about the place.  He suffered from "the grass is always greener" syndrome.  You want what you can't have.  His main argument was that it is WAY far from the rest of civilization and from where I lived - 5.5 hours of driving to be exact - but it is truly a beautiful place.  Not necessarily the post, but the surrounding areas.  For a city girl like me, it was such a welcome change to get to see stars and so much trees - to also experience quiet, serene places.  I live in New York City - where there is more cement than trees and cars than deer.  Of course, another fantastic thing about Fort Drum was that my soldier was there.

I loved the outdoors, even for a city girl like myself.  I think it's my Texan nature coming out.  I'm pretty convinced that if it weren't for my soldier being in Fort Drum, we wouldn't be as much in love as we are now.  I have lots of treasured memories from that place.

What I loved about Fort Drum:

The Black River Trail: It's a beautiful tree-lined paved trail that was just miles away from post.  It provided the perfect amount of shade in the hot summer months for a nice walk.

 Westcott Beach State Park: My soldier and I love to swim!  Westcott was our go-to swimming hole that also offered campgrounds!  It was just minutes away from post too - and offered lots of fun recreational activities for us.

Black River Drive-In: It was a shock to find a drive-in still in existence! The last time I went to a drive it, it was probably sometime in the 90s.  Although we didn't frequent it so much, I really enjoyed the experience.

The New York State Zoo: I love animals, so it made sense to visit the zoo!  During the Christmas time, they decorate the grounds with lights and have it open in the evening.  It was a lot of fun to get to see the different animals during the day and the fun Christmas lights at night!

Golden Unicorn Diner: You probably didn't know about this hidden gem if you weren't a local.  They are known for their ENORMOUS pancakes.  I only had the appetite for one normal sized pancake and thought, "oh four dollars sounds reasonable."  Well, I got this...

Boldt Castle: Probably one of the most tragic love stories you'd ever hear about, Mr. Boldt purchased "Heart Island" for his wife and him to reside.  He was in the process of constructing a gorgeous estate when his wife died suddenly.  After that, Mr. Boldt stopped all construction and the castle remained unfinished for years.  It's now a museum and holds several different events.  In 2012, my soldier and I went to witness the Fourth of July fireworks over the castle.

I have so much to be thankful for with Fort Drum.  Who knows if we'll ever get back, but at least I know where to go!

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Guilty Pleasure

I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan.  Well, I may be exaggerating just a little.  I never did any of the midnight release book parties or dressed up to watch the movie in theaters...but I have dressed up as Harry Potter for a couple of Halloweens.  Also, I can't even tell you how many times I've watched the movies or even read the books!

I actually started to be a fan a bit late in the 2000 time frame.  I didn't initially catch on because when I heard the premise for the first time, I thought it sounded lame.  I was a naive preteen (the first book came out in 1997 and I was 11 - the same age Harry was accepted into Hogworts incidentally).  Then, when I entered high school, several of my friends and creative writing teacher told me I would really enjoy the books.  The first movie was being released soon, so I thought I would read before I actually saw the movie.  Well, I got hooked.  In the course of the month or so, I blew through the first four books and totally caught up.  It would be a couple years till the next one came out (Order of the Phoenix) - and that's when I became a Potter maniac. 

Fast forward to present day, I've been to Harry Potter world in Universal Studios, which I really recommend for other fans!  During a leisure walk around the Rockefeller Center area when I was in college, stumbled upon Rupert Grint and almost had a heart attack.  Yesterday, I went and saw the Harry Potter exhibit in Discovery Times Square.  My 26 year-old self felt like a kid again as I was going through the different displays and it almost felt like my whole life flashed before my eyes.

It's hard to believe that the Harry Potter series has been going on so long.  My particular generation actually grew up with it.  I think that's why I take it to heart as much as I do.  It was something that I looked forward to, whether it was the new book or movie that was coming out.  Now, the next thing on my list is to get myself to the UK - and do a Harry Potter tour!  :-)

I was off today from work because of the President's Day holiday.  In celebration of going to the exhibit, I felt the need to watch a couple of the movies. 

I'm a proud Harry Potter nerd.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Valentine's Day Surprise

I intended to have a pretty mellow Valentine's Day.  With my soldier away, I didn't really plan anything.  I was just going to go home and hang out with my room mates - order Chinese and have a nice quiet night.

I actually shared some great tips here to do something for yourself on Valentine's Day that can definitely be used anytime!

Anyway, I went into work just like any other typical day.  Then, our FedEx guy came in with a fragile box labeled "flowers" for me.  I instantly got knots in my stomach because I figured they would be from my soldier.  I was eager to open it up and see the note to see who it was from.  I was right, they were from my soldier.

The dozen roses looked beautiful and the note he wrote was so eloquently written.  At first, I thought that he didn't write it!  I was also shocked that he sent my flowers.  We've actually had conversations where he admitted that he thinks flowers weren't actually a proper gift because they die so quickly (I know, not really something women like to hear).  I never thought anything of it though, because I'm not really great at keeping plants alive.  Also, in the course of our relationship, he's never given me flowers - I just got used to it.

The note is what touched me the most.  The message made me fall in love with him all over again.  It was short and sweet - and the exact words I needed to hear with him thousands of miles away in the complete other side of the world.  I've been having a lot of trouble dealing with the distance.  I can't blame anybody or anything.  I know it's not my soldier's fault and my love for him is strong enough to overcome my feelings of loneliness.  The note was a welcomed reminder of how my soldier feels about me. 

My Valentine's Day did actually go as I planned though, just with an added surprise.  I brought the flowers back home and prepared them in the vase.  I ordered Chinese and turned on the TV.  That's how I spent the rest of my night. 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

How I'm Keeping Busy

When I became a military spouse, I made it a priority to research and become as involved in the community as much as possible.  It's a bit more of a challenge for me because I'm learning the ins and outs from off-post away from everything.  My husband left for Korea shortly after we got married and I stayed in New York while waiting for him to complete his tour.

I turned to the internet to find Army spouse communities.  I was very excited to find lots of amazing men and women involved and eager to share their experiences.  It was very inspirational and that's when I knew I wanted to contribute my time to share my story.  When I came across the Army Wife Network, I realized that they offered a ton of valuable information for Army spouses.  I spent a lot of time navigating through their website and found their blog, Loving a Soldier.  I went through and read lots of the posts and got inspired.  These women are amazing and reading through their stories made me want to share my story.  I reached out to the blog organizers and told them that it would be an honor to write for them.  It was such a great surprise when they got back to me and said yes!  If you're an Army spouse, you really should have Army Wife Network on your favorites list.  There is a wealth of great stuff on there - and don't forget to check out their blog to read some great stories.

To check out my stuff, click here.

During my extensive time researching through military spouse websites, I found another one called Successful Military Wife.  It's a fantastic website for the career-minded military spouse.  I started following the website's Facebook page and an opportunity popped up for freelance writers for a military-focused website.  They were looking for military spouses to write for their fairly new Spouses section on the site.  After looking at and reviewing through their website, I realized that it was the perfect fit for me.  My aim is to share what I learn as I'm going through military life as a spouse.  I'm hoping to empower and education the spouses that read the section.  Also, it's great to be a part of the diverse MilPages team!

To check out my stuff, click here.

I'm VERY exciting to be spending my time contributing to those two sites as well as my own blog.  With my soldier in Korea, this is perfect to occupy my time.  When he gets back, I'm even more excited to continue sharing my story where ever we end up. :-)


(Image taken from here)

Friday, February 15, 2013

I love my soldier...

...and I love my job!

Here's a little bit why I'm starting this blog:

Ever since I was a young girl, it was a dream of mine to live and work in New York City.  Well, fast forward to today, and I'm now a 26 year-old PR Professional living and working in New York City!

I've also been quite the story teller.  I started a private journal at age 7 (and still have it to till day)!  I would document what I did for the day, from I went to school to I went on vacation.  It was very interesting stuff for a 7 year-old.  Anyway, I think one reason why I felt so compelled to write is because of the life I was leading.  I am an only child with my father in the Air Force.  Writing gave me a reason to occupy my time and feel fulfilled.  We would also travel a lot and it was another way for me to remember my experiences.  My parents always made me feel loved and even with my dad being away a lot, he never failed to give my all the necessities needed for a rambunctious girl.  Looking back at my childhood despite all the moves and loneliness, I wouldn't have it any other way.  It has made me the person I am today - a determined independent happy adult!

Well, I've never stopped writing down my story.  Over the last 20 some-odd years, I've accumulated numerous journals and actually made a career in communications.

When I met my soldier, I didn't know how much it would influence my life.  I gained a life partner and a strong deep love for another human being, but I'm also learning to balance my personal objectives with the Army life I've married into.  The idea of change is scary, especially when I worked so hard to get to where I am today.  The more I think about what I have with my soldier, the more excited I am for our life ahead!

In this blog, I'm hoping to share with you my journey.  Not only as an avenue to occasionally vent, but hopefully education others in the things I learn from being a milspouse.

Till next time,

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Hello everyone!  I'm putting together a new blog to reflect certain life changes - being a milspouse!  Please bare with me as I'm getting everything together.


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