Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Time is moving SO SLOW!

I think it's because I have something big coming up, but all of a sudden time is just moving by too slow for my liking.  Besides work, I'm trying to keep my mind distracted with wedding planning and hanging out with friends.

This past Friday, I was able to have dinner with a handful of my favorites and then Saturday morning, I hopped on a bus to see Mel in Pennsylvania.  I haven't seen her almost the same amount of time I've seen my soldier!!  (Ok, I'm exaggerating...I haven't seen the soldier much

It was really nice to hang out with her and to meet her main squeeze.  Right now, I'm just lucky enough to live close enough to hop on a bus to visit.  She has an adorable big giant of a dog named Cairo.  He's like a strong energizer bunny!  I tried to get him to sit still, so he can take a photo with me! you can see, it was a challenge to get him to sit still - that's why the picture is blurry!  I was trying to catch one while he was sitting nicely, but then he started moving again...haha!

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Liebster nomination!

Thanks SO much to Domesticated Breakdown for your Liebster nomination!  I can't tell you how awesome I feel that my blog is actually being read by people and I'm also getting recognition!  Thanks again!!  :-)

Here are the rules:
  • Link back to the blog that nominated you.
  • Nominate 5-11 new blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
  • Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Create 11 questions for your nominees.
  • Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them.
Well, I'm going to open up my nomination to anybody that is interested to participate that reads my blog!  This is an awesome way to get to know each other, so I encourage it!  We are all in this together, right?

Below are the questions to me from Domesticated Breakdown!
  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? I really can't think of one exact place. If I have to say something, it would be living anywhere with my husband. We've been married for six months now and have yet to live together because of his hardship tour.
  2. What’s your favorite hobby?  Writing!!  I love writing and sharing my thoughts.  Also, I love to dance!  I'm not particularly great, but I have a good time doing it!
  3.  If you could only have 3 things to eat for the rest of your life what would they be? Haha, this is a difficult question because I love FOOD (if eating was an appropriate hobby, I would have answered that for #2).  Ok, if I absolutely had to choose: cheeseburgers, steak tacos, and spaghetti with meatballs. 
  4. What 3 things do you never leave the house without?  Besides the typical "wallet, keys, phone," I can't leave my house without coffee in the morning, a black hair tie on my wrist and a necklace.  I used to wear this heart necklace everyday from my husband, but since he's been gone, I wear a half a heart because he's gone.  My husband wears the other half on his dog tags.
  5. What’s your favorite song?  Another tough one!  I don't have an all time favorite - and I actually love multiple genres - from Rock to Pop and Country!  I absolutely adore The Beatles.
  6. How many siblings do you have?  Nada!
  7. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?  Oh, I don't know!  I do cherish all the trips to New York City I made with my family growing up.  Those trips made me want to eventually study and live here I am!
  8. Have you ever had surgery?  Yes, I've been under the knife for my ears a couple times and my knee.
  9. Do you prefer the ocean or pools?  A little of both!  They each have their pros and cons.  If anything, I'm picky on the type of beaches.
  10. What is your favorite TV show?  Depends on the season, but right now it's So You Think You Can Dance.  I also enjoy watching all the criminal detective shows, i.e. CSI, Bones, Criminal Minds, etc.
  11. How long have you been with your significant other?  We connected for the first time January 2011.  :)
 My 11 random facts about myself:
  1. My full first name is actually Rachel Rae.
  2. I have a tattoo of a Lone Star on my back. That's how much of a Texan I am....
  3. I'm half Filipino!
  4. I met my husband online and I was only signed up for a week before he found me!
  5. I was born in South Carolina.
  6. I'm a very serious worker, but LOVE to goof off when it's appropriate.
  7. I enjoy a nice ice cold Guinness and spicy food.
  8. I have a terrible habit of biting my nails!
  9. According to my husband, I can be a handful.
  10. I am a HUGE Yankee fan - thanks to my dad.
  11. I LOVE to sing karaoke...but by all means, I'm not great.
Here are my 11 questions for YOU!

  1. What is your middle name?
  2. What was your first job?
  3. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  4. How about 10 years?! :)
  5. What is your favorite color and why?
  6. What is your favorite outfit to wear?
  7. Who do you admire the most and why?
  8. Do you have any summer plans?
  9. How many places have you lived?
  10. What do you love most about where you live now?
  11. Describe yourself in five words.
Thanks y'all!!  And happy Friday!!

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Guest Post: Finding Resources and Opportunities As You Enter Civilian Life

Emma Banks of Smile As It Happens contacted me about sharing some very valuable insight on finding resources and opportunities when you're entering into the civilian workforce.  I thought it would be very useful to pass along!  Please find her article below!

Leaving the military presents you with a wide range of opportunities, but it can also bring along the anxiety of the unknown. Unfortunately, many myths have been perpetuated that fuel anxiety concerning civilian life and your search for non-military employment. Let’s look at a few of these and learn the truth behind them.

Myth #1: Most employers don’t care about job seekers.
Truth: In today’s competitive job market, many companies receive high numbers of applications on a regular basis. They understand the need to attract the most qualified, talented people to fill available positions. In order to attract these individuals, many companies have significantly streamlined the application process; some of the more tech-savvy companies such as Walmart and AT&T have partnered with JIBE, a mobile recruiting company, to allow job seekers to efficiently upload resumes and other pertinent information right from their mobile devices. Other companies seek to attract and retain the best applicants by offering special benefits such as work-from-home options, gym memberships, and more.

Myth #2 No special services exist to help you find non-military employment.
Truth: While you may feel overwhelmed by the process of transitioning from a military career to civilian work, many resources are out there to assist you. Hire Heroes USA, an organization composed of former military personnel from a wide range of backgrounds, provides training for veterans and military personnel seeking civilian work. In addition to workshops and job-finding tools, Hire Heroes USA also offers job fairs throughout the country.

Myth #3: You will only find open positions online.
Truth: While many people successfully search for jobs online, many employers seek to fill positions through other means. Job fairs offer great opportunities for meeting potential employers in person. Networking also offers a great way to find job opportunities. If you want to work at a particular company but don’t know if they are hiring, you can submit your resume along with a cover letter explaining why you would be an asset to the company. Volunteering also often provides a stepping-stone toward employment. You may eventually find a paid position with the organization where you volunteer, or your volunteer work could help you network with a potential employer. Keep your head up and eyes open – you never know where your next opportunity may come from!

Myth #4: Although programs exist to help military veterans find jobs in the private sector, no person is available to help you through this transition.
Truth: All veterans who served following 9/11 are eligible for personal assistance with job-seeking and career building. Through the Gold Card program, these veterans can gain access to a local One-Stop Career Center. Here, with the help of a career professional you will receive career guidance, the opportunity to work on job-readiness tests and assessments, interviews, an Individual Development Plan, job referrals, and monthly check-ups throughout your employment search and beyond.

Change brings both stress as well as opportunity. Fortunately, many resources are available to help you in your transition out of the military. By taking advantage of these programs, you will be able to alleviate much of your anxiety as well as find opportunities for the next phase of your life.

Emma is a mid 20-something year old with a passion for life, love, fitness, and helping others. She loves to be active and get involved in as many sport and community activities as possible. Emma is currently studying to become a Career & Life Coach, and loves to network with people from around the world! Check out Emma’s blog at

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Big Apple Run for the Warriors

Yesterday, I had an amazing time at the Hope for the Warriors Big Apple run!  I woke up bright and early to head down to Wagner Park in Battery Park City.  The night before, actually the whole entire day yesterday, was raining continuously!  The forecast said it would clear up, but I was still a little weary. 

It ended up being a beautiful morning!

 At first, I was really nervous to do the run by myself.  I've been running straight through on my own for awhile, but there was still a part of me that worried I wouldn't finish the run.  I was pretty pumped when I made the turnaround on the course!  I had a delightful view of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and New Jersey from the track.

When I approached the finish line, I actually slowed down because I was relieved I was almost done.  Then, I saw my girlfriends in the corner, screaming and yelling!  It was awesome to have them there to support me!

It's also been a long while since I've been in Lower Manhattan!  We got a chance to look at the Freedom Tower from a different angle.  They were saying next year the race would start and end at the base of the Freedom Tower.  I might have to participate next year too!!!

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Welcome June, now please hurry!

I've NEVER been so excited for the month of June!

In just a couple of weeks, I'll be on vacation with the soldier! [Insert happy dance here.]

When he comes back, it will almost be six months without seeing him.  It's the longest...ever...I've gone without being with the hubs.  Before this, the longest we've gone was almost two months - and that was before we were married.

Now, I have lots to do before he comes home for two weeks.  Hopefully all the errands I have to run and loose ends I have to tie will make the next handful of weeks fly by!!!

[Happy dance continued....]


To be honest, I'm very proud for getting this far without being institutionalized.  There were a few moments that were questionable, but besides that, I've done well.  Once we go over the hump, I'm sure I'll feel LOADS better!!

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Run for the Warriors in NYC!

I'm gearing up for this Saturday's Hope for the Warriors run!!

Yesterday, I tried out the Nike + running app.  It's pretty neat because I love to listen to music as I work out and when you're listening and achieve a certain distance - it would notify you on it and your running pace!  I'm very impressed at the rate my running as improved.  I managed to run 3 miles in 30 minutes!  Hopefully I can keep it up and finish this Saturday!

I'm VERY nervous because I haven't done anything in this capacity in a LONG time.  Plus, I'll be doing the run by myself (with special friends waiting for me at the finish line though!).

Anyway, Hope for the Warriors is a fantastic organization!  Here is the link to my donation page in case you were interested to contribute!

MISSION (from the website):
The mission of Hope For The Warriors® is to enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 service members, their families, and families of the fallen who have sustained physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty. Hope For The Warriors® is dedicated to restoring a sense of self, restoring the family unit, and restoring hope for our service members and our military families.
Wish me luck!!

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What is the media doing to military families?

Ok, I do not understand why there are so many different articles out there in very well-established and supposedly well-accredited media outlets about the "lavish" lifestyle of military families and all the extreme discounts/benefits we receive.

First off, ALL of the information reported is relative and while there may be a slight ounce of's put WAY out of context.  I dare the reporters to spend a day in my soldier's shoes (or mine for that matter)....

I can't remember exactly when right now, but there was an article a bit ago on The Huffington Post about how military families are banking in and reaping boatloads of discounts.  It's very troubling to think that's what civilians believe.  The discounts were established to account for the low salary a majority of military members make and for the sacrifices their whole family endures due to deployments, assignments, etc.

I really don't get how these reporters are getting their data/information.  All the numbers are radical and the actual reporting is straight up twisted!

When I saw the article in The Washington Post recently, I was livid.  WTF?!

It focused on the commissaries, which doesn't really apply to me right now anyway.  While the soldier is overseas, I'm living in NYC where it's actually cheaper and more efficient for me to shop at a local grocery store in my neighborhood in Queens than to shlep to Brooklyn and shop at Fort Hamilton.  One, I don't have a car, and two, I don't want to ride 2 hours on the subway with a bunch of groceries.  There were other details of the article that bothered me more....

Like this quote:
"In an era when private employers are reducing health care and pensions, the military continues to offer generous retirement benefits, including to service members who have never spent a day in combat. For troops who remain in uniform for 20 years or more, the military provides an annual pension immediately upon retirement — even if the retiree is 38 years old — equivalent to at least half of their final-years salary. Enrollment for an entire family in a military health-care plan that operates much like a private health maintenance organization will cost a retiree just $539 this year, about one-ninth of what the average non-military family will pay out of pocket in HMO premiums.
Those on active-duty also have bucked national trends. Over the past decade, military salaries have grown at a faster rate than those of civilian workers. The average enlisted soldier now earns more than 90 percent of Americans who have less than two years of college. Most Army captains — the third-most-junior rank of officer — will take home more than $90,000 this year."
Ok, WHERE DID THEY GET THAT INFO FROM?!  [I appoligize for all the caps.]  But seriously, I know how my much husband makes as an E-5...he works more than the 40 hour work week that MOST salaries are based on.  Also, they mention an Army captain?!  Ugh, how about they focus on the Army enlisted force?!  They actually make up a majority of the military.  Are they taking into account the countless 24 hour shifts, night time assignments, etc. that military members do?!  Probably not.  Also, the 2012 to 2013 pay raise was 1%... ONE PERCENT...which is less than half of the national pay raise needed for inflation.  Now to my dad, who's retired from 20 years in the military...who has yet to see a retirement check at the age of 53.  What they don't mention is that you have to have spent 20 year active duty to get the retirement right away.  My dad spent the latter portion of his career in the Air Guard, so he has to point is that, all the information is mis-construed - and they are spinning it in a way that gives off a negative vibe.

Now back to the focus of the piece, which is our glamorous commissaries.  I don't get how he got all that.  I've been in my share of commissaries - and honestly, yes there are awesome deals, but just as much awesome deals as local groceries stores.  Actually, when my soldier was at Fort Drum, we actually preferred to do our shopping at WalMart because the stuff we wanted to buy was cheaper.

I's just all kinds of wrong.  I think my whole issue with it is the snarkiness of his piece.  I was having SO much trouble understanding, "why?!"

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