Deployment Gifts for Broke Bitches

I mentioned in my last post a little anniversary book I made Adam before he deployed and that got me thinking. In several of the milso groups that I’m in, people are always asking what they can make/do/send their boyfriends/husbands/fiances/partners/ect. before they deploy. I thought I would make a little list of some of the things that I did for him before he left.

1. Calendar with important dates in them

I made Adam a little planner with all the upcoming important dates and important anniversaries. I wrote down all the dates we went on, when our first date was, when our anniversary was, my graduation, my birthday, my family’s birthdays, and so much more so he would feel included in everything. I also wrote little notes of encouragement on sticky notes and put them on random pages for him to find.

2. “Open When” Letters

So many people in the groups I’m in have done this. I thought it was such a cute idea and such a fun way for him to have a piece of me and how much I love him when we can’t physically talk to each other. I originally sent enough for him to open one a month but for his Christmas care package, I sent a few more so he had more to open. The topics were pretty easy to think of once I got going. Unfortunately, when I was writing them, I had been in a car accident a week or so prior and I was essentially high on painkillers when I was writing them. It’s always a laugh for us when he sends me a picture of the letter and I can see how ridiculous I was when I was writing them. In one, I drew a picture of a monorail for some reason and I’m not exactly sure why I did that.

3. Pictures and a picture frame

I went to Wal-Mart and printed some wallet-size images. I put one in a small frame for his bedside table or desk and the rest were just loose. He hung them up on his wall with tape. Some of the images were of me, some of us and some were just of places we had been. Florida, the beach, the lake, NC State’s campus, Holly Springs– just anywhere we had been and had fun.

4. A handwritten letter

When he went to a training in Florida, I sent him with some plane snacks and a little letter talking about how much I’ll miss him and how I can’t wait for him to come back. When he went to visit his family in California, I did the same thing. So, naturally, when he deployed I had to send another letter with him to read on the plane. It was like our last little private moment and it seriously made me feel so much better that he was taking a piece of me with him on the plance ride.

Honestly, all of these are super inexpensive, easy to carry and full of meaning. People seem to think big, expensive items are what they need to send and that’s honestly not the case at all. Small, meaningful and from the heart is where it’s at.

2017: My Sunday Night Routine

I haven’t written in a hot minute. I could go on a diatribe about how busy I’ve been, what I’ve been up to, ect., but I’ll spare you that right now and just write another blog post later with some updates (because I have some great news!). I just wanted to get into writing what my Sunday night routine is. Honestly, I know appearance isn’t everything and some of this seems very shallow and appearance-focused, but doing this at the start of the week helps me feel more confident and put together. When I take my time to detox from the weekend and the past week, I feel like a brand new person which is honestly what matters the most.

Obviously, with a deployed boyfriend, I’m doing all the for myself and not to impress others. Don’t get it twisted.

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Disclaimer: I am not a beauty guru and I can barely do my own makeup so take all this with a grain of salt. Maybe go watch what an actual beauty guru says.

 

This takes me about an hour and a half to go through all this (I’m including my shower in this time count) but I could probably do it quicker if I didn’t get so distracted and just take my sweet time.

First things first, I take all my nail polish off. I like to change my polish colors each week– but, let’s be real, it’s pretty much always a purple– and after a long week of guitar teaching, typing, opening jars because I’m an independent woman who doesn’t need a man, my polish is done for. I take it all off using a non-acetone polish remover to help save my nails. Even though I’ve taken my polish off, I don’t repaint immediately, we have a a few more steps to go through before I can even think of a new paint job.

Next, I like to apply my new favorite product: Lush’s Volcano Foot Mask. I have callouses all over my feet and they’ve been with me for years at this point. Dancing, walking barefoot all the time, tight shoes, wearing a lot of high heels and just being rough on my feet in general really did a number on my feet. My callouses were impenetrable and not even the most potent lotion could penetrate them. I had resigned myself to having ugly feet until a mistake on Lush’s part.

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I had ordered a shampoo from them but they accidentally sent me the foot mask instead. When I called customer service, they told me to keep it and they would send me the right product free of charge. Well, if you’ve got it, might as well try it.

You slather a thick paste all over your feet, stick them in plastic to prevent drying out (I use grocery bags since those are what I have on hand) and wait 15 minutes. I’m really bad and leave it on for 45 minutes (I already told you I have thick callouses) but I promise nothing bad really happens. You feel a little bit of a tingle, but don’t be alarmed because that’s normal.

The pumice and kaolin penetrate your tough feet and take off all the dead, dry skin you’ve built up. Tomatoes and papaya help to clean, cinnamon to deodorize (which I need when I wear my Toms because yuck) and a dash of potatoes, tomatoes and essential oils to round it out. It’s super messy if you’re not careful but it’s honestly my favorite part of Sundays. I was so sad when I ran out and had to wait for my new shipment to come in.

After I slather on the mask and wait my 45 minutes, it’s time to shower. I use the Pumice Power soap from Lush to wash off the mask first thing because I’ve already left it on for 30 minutes longer than the label says to so I need it off ASAP. The smell of this soap is amazing. When you smell the foot mask for the first time you sit there and think “what am I doing to my body” but the soap smells exactly what I imagine heaven to smell like. It seems to get the job done for the most part, so I’m happy.

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What I do in the shower is a routine all in itself– but it’s not exclusive to Sundays– so I’ll just breeze through it and maybe talk about it another day. I wash my hair using the Big shampoo from Lush. It’s a sea-salt shampoo with citrus a coconut oils in it to add volume, shine and to cleanse; I seriously love this shampoo because it does everything Lush claims it does. Is it expensive? Yes. Pretty expensive for the size but you really only need to use a little tiny bit to get amazing results. In fact, if you use too much, it doesn’t work as well.

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After I wash my hair, I wash my body using either a Shea Moisture soap, or this or this from Lush (I promise I don’t work for Lush, just a super fan). I read somewhere that if you wash your hair and face before you wash your hair, then when you wash your hair, shampoo can run down and clog your pores. Ever since then, I wash my hair before anything else.

Once my body is done, I wash my face. Every other day I use a glycolic acid face wash; if you have acne, or acne scars or aging concerns, a glycolic acid cleanser is something you should introduce into your skincare routine. Dry skin shouldn’t use glycolic acid more than once or twice a week. If you’re an oily gal (like me), you can use it up to three times a week. In just two weeks, I’ve noticed my skin looks brighter, my scaring is going down and my zits are getting smaller. I absolutely love this one from Mario Badescu and it’s actually really affordable. My dermatologist recommended this one from Peter Thomas Roth but I’m not as big of a fan. On days I don’t use my MB glycolic, I use a charcoal wash from Biore; if you use the strips from them they include a $2.00 off coupon. I shave my legs, underarms, and other parts of my body and that’s pretty much the shower.

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I know I said I would breeze through it and that was me breezing through it. Showering only takes me 15 minutes, total, every night anyways.

When I get out, I put my robe on and start to finish up. We’re already an hour into our routine, 30 minutes left!

I like to use a Biore strip on my nose right after I shower. I stick that sucker on my nose and get to work on my hair while it dries. I don’t like to use a lot of heat on my hair. I have natural waves that I try to protect as much as I can but I also have really fine hair that gets weighed down easily with product. The ogx coconut water spray is my holy grail right now. I spritz it on my ends and then brush my hair. After I get all the knots out, I do a loose little braid and call it a night. By the time I’ve gently worked all the knots out, my Biore strip is dry and ready to take off. After I remove the strip and all the gunk, it’s time to tighten the pores. I really enjoy using this mask from Target since it has witch hazel and tea tree oil in it. It soothes my skin and if you seal it up right, you can get three uses out of each little packet.

While I’m waiting for the mask to dry, I put lotion on my freshly-shaved legs. I like to use the Aveeno lavender lotion because I can feel it on my legs the next day, all day.  After I wash my mask off, I use my MB aloe lotion and my acne serum, top it off with a vitamin c oil. Finally, I paint my nails using an Essie polish (I love their color selection and the formula stays on my nails without a base coat or a top coat sooooo yeah). After that, I call it a day.

I don’t usually wear makeup on the weekends so I can give my face a break and time to breathe. If I do, I take off my makeup before my shower with a micellar water. Just wanted to add that.

I know, it’s a lot. It’s a very long process that takes forever to go through. I could cut the time down by a lot if I didn’t keep the foot mask on my feet for so long. I enjoy it though and I’m always really excited to get ready for bed. I feel refreshed and energized the next morning when I wake up and I feel ready to take on the world.

19 Things You Should Never Say to a Military Girlfriend

Originally published here.

As Adam and I are coming up on our one-year anniversary, I’ve taken some time to reflect on our relationship — particularly the things people have tried to “tell” me about dating someone in the military.

I don’t let my identity revolve around making myself a military girlfriend and the military isn’t my life — it’s just his job. But it’s a job that helped bring us together and, for that, I’m forever grateful. However, I like to identify myself through my own actions, accomplishments and challenges.

But some people just don’t get that.

This is an actual compilation of things people have said to me over the course of this year.

1. “So you’ll be getting married soon? That’s what everyone in the military does, anyways.”

While I can’t refute the statistics, it’s really none of your business what I do or do not do.

2. “How do you feel about resigning yourself to a life of being underpaid and underemployed?”

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Holy none of your business, Batman.

3. “People don’t want to hire someone they’ll only have for a few years — max.”

I cringe at this one.

4. “But you never see them.”

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Well, yeah, while he’s in another country. But the rest of the time he has a normal job so I do kinda see him on a normal schedule. That’s how jobs work.

5. “Long distance relationships never last and you’re no exception.”

This one in particular hurts and I probably will never forget this person saying it to me.

6. “Wow. It must be hard being apart.”

It’s not exactly walking in a winter wonderland and a barrel full of monkeys.

7. “I just don’t think you’ll be together very long.”

This one also still hurts.

8. “So… like, that show ‘Army Wives’, right?”

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I wish. Have you seen Claudia Joy’s sense of fashion? Amazing. She’s also a lawyer. Beauty, meet brains. But that’s a TV show.

9. “Don’t worry about him cheating on you, there’re no pretty women in the service.”

Thanks for the concern.

10. “Have you cheated on him?”

Thanks for at least being blunt about asking.

11. “Aren’t you afraid he’ll be killed?”

I don’t even respond to this anymore.

12. “It stinks he’s missing Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years/Graduation/insert holiday here.”

He’s not missing it, he’s just not here. Life is all about how you look at it.

13. “I just don’t know how you do it.”

I get up, I walk out the door and I live the life God intended me to live — man or no man.

14. “What do you do to keep yourself busy while he’s gone?”

It’s different if you’re asking because you’re trying to figure out how to occupy your time. It’s another story when you’re just trying to be nosy.

15. “Well, in my opinion…”

Halt. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. I didn’t ask for your opinion.

16. “I would never let my boyfriend be in the military.”

Lemme break this down for you. A) this was his choice before I came into the picture. B) this is a choice that he has decided on for himself. And, C) would you let your boyfriend be an accountant? A reporter? A professional video game player? Do you not realize how bratty you sound?

17. “Are you just going to live off him and his income?”

Hi, yes, I work. I have a great job. Two, in case you were wondering. Two that I love very much. Ask me about them because I’d love to tell you what I do for a living.

18. “You will be OK” or “are you sure you’re OK?”

The mileage on this one varies but don’t ask people you don’t know if they’re OK because some, like me, will hate you for it. I’m not OK when I look you dead in the eyes and say that I’m not.

19. “It’s just all so romantic.”

He’s romantic. Not his job. Romance is in the person, not the career.

When You’re Running On Rumors

I’ll admit it– I’m a drama addict.

love to read all the Internet drama and shenanigans that go on around the Internet (hello, Cracker Barrel and Brad’s wife was the funniest thing to happen in March) and I love to see the carefully curated screenshots that go along with the drama. However, I don’t like to participate in it and I hate when things are based off of rumors. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t run on facts like a little robot girl– I have feelings and pathos appeals to me just like any normal human– but I hate when all you have to go by is rumors.

But guess what, friends. Rumors are what makes the military float. Every day it’s been something new; “we’re coming home in month A”, “just kidding, they’ve decided to push it back to month B”, or (my personal favorite), “they said they’re going to keep us past our orders and have us come home four months later in month C”.

I know, I know, never plan around the military; that’s a lesson I’ve learned all too well these past 8 months. I’ve had a crash-course in planning to plan again. At this point, I could teach a master class on preparing for one thing just to have another happen. I have no idea when Adam will be home and I’ve resigned myself to that fact. Like I keep telling him, it is what it is at this point and I have to be okay with it because there’s no other choice. I mean, where does getting upset get me? Hint: the answer is nowhere.

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There is one thing I’ve noticed– the actual lack of information. I know that they’re given orders and (most of the time?) those orders have a date when they’re coming home. But, as I’ve just so recently found out, those orders can be extended. How often are orders extended? Is this something that’s common and you can always look forward to or is it rare? I’ve tried googling the answer to this question but, alas, to no avail (but if you know the answer, please tell me. It’s not so much that I need the information but more-so I’m just curious).

But wait, my friends, there’s more. Adam and company do not have new orders in hand about extensions. That’s right, there’s rumors heavily circulating around that they won’t be coming home when they were supposed to but yet there’s no official word that they aren’t. Wouldn’t you think they would get on that soon? I mean, there’s not exactly a whole lot of time left until they should be preparing to come home. Only one person has officially been given orders but he’s the last one to leave for continuity sake when the next group comes over.

I understand the logistics of moving thousands of people at once can be difficult, I really do. But wouldn’t you think someone somewhere would want to make a concrete decision about something somewhere? I guess the answer is no.

How I imagine the Army looks right now

Adam and I are trying to plan our whole lives around this deployment and when he comes home. I’m currently looking to relocate closer to where he’s stationed when he’s not deployed because, more than likely, when he leaves the military to transition into the civilian world with all us plebs, he will be working out of the same city his current base is. In the long run, it makes more sense for me to be there as well so we don’t have to spend so much money on car upkeep and gas for long commutes (oh, did I mention that my city and his city are an hour and a half apart and the only housing options in the middle is farmland?).

However, I don’t want to move to an army-run city by myself where I have no friends and no support system. I mean, I’m currently living the dream. I live with my parents, I pay no rent and no grocery bills, all I pay for is my car upkeep and insurance and when I go out or shopping. If I move, I have to take on more responsibility– more responsibility than I’ve ever had. And, I could be doing it all alone for an indeterminate amount of time.

I don’t want to live in a high-crime city all alone with few friends and my family an hour away. It sounds terrible. Of course, one of my best friends lives in the same city since he’s stationed at the same base as Adam but he has his own career, own trainings to attend and his own friends to hang out with. I’m sure if I asked he’d come over all the time; but, do I really want to ask and take him away from his friends?

Nah.

Of course, there are apps like BumbleBFF but I don’t really want to take the chance of the wrong person seeing my profile and thinking I’m on it for dating purposes. Or, I might get catfished and killed– there is no in-between in my mind.

The point of this is that I’m running on rumors right now and rumors get you nowhere. Remember when people thought Y2K was going to happen and they pulled all their money out, bought freeze-dried food to last a lifetime and built bomb shelters in their backyards? Obviously you can’t believe every rumor that circulates because then you wind up looking like a serial killer with a ton of freeze-dried food, no money and your family shoved in a tiny lockable space.

I’m trying to make huge life changes based on rumors. Will he come home in three months? If he does, then living alone won’t be so bad. Will he come home in five months? Maybe, but I can’t count on that either. Could I afford to keep up an apartment by myself for that long? I don’t know. I also don’t know how well I would do living alone for five months. Maybe he’ll come home in seven months. I for sure cannot live seven months alone with no friends and no family. It will literally be me going to work and coming home and that would be a miserable experience. But, if I move now, everything will be settled and ready for when he comes home.

But no one knows when that is.

 

 

When He Has to Leave After Leave

Adam’s time on leave with me has finally come to an end. We spent a great few weeks together and enjoyed our time on vacation immensely. It was nice to get to sit together and do simple things like watch TV or make dinner together. We got to talk about doing laundry and how my day at work was. We got to talk face-to-face rather than over the phone and there wasn’t that terrible delay that you get with Facebook Messenger.

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Blue Ridge Parkway sightseeing

We enjoyed a lot of hiking.

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Climbing to the top of Split Rock at Grandfather Mountain

A. lot.

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The creek while waiting for our tour to start at Linville Caverns

I think we hiked every single day.

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Carefully scaling Blowing Rock

We had some birthday fun! It was my birthday, I turned 22 on February 23 and Adam really helped to make it extra special.

He made me breakfast in bed and even got me some cute cupcakes and put a candle in it. Which I blew out and made a wish, of course (I won’t tell you my wish, I really would like it to come true).

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All hand-made by Adam

We made some amazing dinners together (seriously, try this recipe and substitute the chicken with the shrimp. It’ll blow your mind).

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We walked around Historic Blowing Rock on my birthday while doing a little bit of window shopping and even got some ice cream.

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Ice cream from Kilwins. We had bought fudge there earlier in the week.

We went out to different breweries and I expanded my picky palate just a little bit.

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Cider from Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Of course, I think you can see a trend in the kind of alcohol I like to drink. Bring on the ciders!

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This was Mellow Mushroom– but it counts, right?

We saw a ton of weird stuff on our adventures.

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Giant wooden burl at Grandfather Mountain

We did a ton of touristy stuff at Old Salem like eating at the tavern and going to see the blacksmith.

We even found a little troll under the bridge.

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Adam gave me one of the most wonderful gifts for our anniversary. It’s a map of the world where we can put all sorts of pins in to signify different things. Green is where we’ve been, red is where we want to go, yellow is where we have a trip planned, blue is where family and friends are and black is where we have genealogical roots.

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It’s funny to look at because all his green pins are on the west coast and all my green pins are on the east coast. It’s a visual reminder of how lucky we are to have met.

We went out with my friends to celebrate our anniversary at the bar we had our first date at. It’s a fun bar to go to– even if you can’t talk over the music. It was a great way to celebrate being together for one year. To be honest, I’d probably get married at Rum Runners if that was allowed.

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Mango Tango fishbowl

All-in-all, it was a great month. The last day was sad but I just have to remember that we’re one day closer to the rest of our lives.

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