26 July 2010

OPSEC... Tried & True







This isn't exactly a new concept, but everyone has to learn it someday— particularly if you have a close relationship with the military or the U.S. government, as myself and many of my fellow mil•spouse bloggers do. I'm not going to leave mean comments on the blog that spurred this discussion amongst so many of the military blogs I read either... I honestly believe some people don't know or understand what OPSEC is. Maybe they think they do at first, but it isn't until something has happened to compromise our relationships with our deployed military that you really, really understand.

From firsthand experience on my fiancé's second deployment to Afghanistan right now, OPSEC has caused several platoons to lose communication for divulging information to their wives/girlfriends/family that they then posted to Facebook or Twitter or their blogs, or whatever. I also know of several Marines on this deployment who have been NJP'd due to the loose lips of their significant others. Our battalion was warned by our family readiness group that if the spouses and families did not stop sharing information, we would lose contact with our men for the duration of the deployment. Needless to say, I take OPSEC very seriously because losing communication with Joshua would be the worst thing to happen, since it's already so minimal!

For my non•military friends and readers, thank you for being so understanding when you ask me certain information online that I can't answer... things like when specifically Joshua is coming home, where specifically Joshua is, what specifically Joshua is doing. I'm very fortunate to have such a great support network and friends/family who understand the risks this could pose to Joshua and his Marines!

The "modernized" WWII posters above, I found in a random Google search. Most of the WWII posters below are from this site, which has these and many more. OPSEC was practiced then, and should be practiced now. Help keep our men safe!
















21 July 2010

A Few Things



Finally caught up on the latest episodes of Army Wives, The BacheloretteThe Gates, and the series finale of The Hills. Can I just say— really? Crazy ending. I immediately ran to my computer to Google it to see what other people were saying. I really liked The Hills. I didn't watch every season, but I did watch Laguna Beach and a few of the earlier Hills seasons. Then of course, this season. I always knew it probably wasn't real, and I didn't care. I just enjoyed it for what it was. Drama & gossip, hot girls and fashion, and the city life that I gave up midway through college. Oh well!

Thanks to MTV finally remembering that they are a music channel and now listing the artist/song playing in the background on their shows, I discovered two new singers that I absolutely adore: Liz Golden, and through her via iTunes, Cambria Detken. They're awesome. They're feminine girl music, if you like that type, with pretty/inspiring lyrics. Just what I needed today after download Eminem's latest CD, Recovery.

I have quite the eclectic taste in music. My iTunes library has nearly 4,000 songs and usually, everyone can find something they like when I bring my iPod places. I'm not a huge fan of Jazz or Heavy Metal, but aside from that I like of lot of "random shit," as some friends tell me.

Also thanks to the finale on The Hills,  I found Lo Bosworth's website, The Lo Down. It's super cute. I like how she divided everything into categories. I'm thinking of doing something like that, since my blog is all over the place. I also like the idea of having a "blog site" rather than a "web site," which is pretty much what she does. Such a fun concept.

**My love finally called home last weekend!** Saturday morning at 5:25am, to be precise. I felt a huge sense of relief hearing his voice. His birthday is this coming Sunday and I have yet to send a birthday card or package... I suck. That's on my monstrous to-do list. I also ordered his homecoming banner, YAY! I don't want to post it on here until he's home, but I can't wait until it arrives. My only fear is that I had it say "Welcome Home, Cpl *******!" and he may pick up rank before then. He's due for Sergeant sometime in the near future. But I didn't want to wait and risk it not getting here (homecoming is still awhile away but delivery for it is 8+ weeks). I figure if he's promoted before then, I'll just touch up the sign with some paper and paint!

After I catch up on True Blood, I'll be up to date with all my current shows. I never have time to watch them when they actually air, so I DVR them and end up watching them all together on the weekends when I catch a break. I enjoy TV... it takes my mind off deployment.


Oh, and wedding season has begun! The past two weekends in a row, I was at a bachelorette party in Pennsylvania, a wedding in New Jersey, and next weekend I have another wedding in New Jersey. I get one weekend off, then it's down to North Carolina for a full week with my dear friend Kristine to look at apartments and stay with fellow eFriend Sydnie, then I have yet another weekend here in New York. Busy, expensive times for sure.

P.S. Thanks for all the comments on the care packages I make Joshua. A lot of the girls in our battalion make equally awesome care packages for their men... I'm just trying to keep up! ♥

15 July 2010

One & Two & Three

I'm once again overdue to send my love a care package, but these were the last few I sent last month. I have few more filled up that I just have to "theme" and bring to the post office... hopefully I can get to that soon!

I had so much stuff piling up from the last time I sent them that I thought it would be easiest to just divide them all up and label them accordingly...






To those of you who suggested I start an Etsy page or CafePress designs, I've thought of those as options before and I'll definitely be looking into them! Once I leave my job I know I'll finally have the time I need to really create things. I'm already brainstorming away. ♥

14 July 2010

Remember to Breathe

  1. This was supposed to be my second "Ten on Tuesday" post. Clearly this did not happen.
  2. I will not be posting a Wedding Wednesday post today.
  3. It's because I can't think or focus on anything except my cell phone.
  4. I'm sitting, staring, waiting, wanting, hoping, wishing for Joshua to call home.
  5. Last week, his GySgt and CO were blown up when their vehicle hit an IED. They survived, but both had to have their legs amputated. I've just been a mess with worry every since.
  6. Joshua was supposed to call over a week ago and still has not. There is a rumor the satellite phone is broken. Idk.
  7. Work has been a disaster the past week and a half. This photo shoot is NOT going well. The photographer is impossible to work with and everyday gives me a new reason why he can't focus his camera on the photos I need focus for.
  8. I've been working a lot of overtime and not enjoying it. I'm so ready to quit and move down to North Carolina. I'm so ready to be my own boss and really start my business.
  9. The best thing about the past week was going to Pennsylvania for Jamie's bachelorette party. It was fun and a nice break from the stress at work. We went to Lancaster and Hershey Park and had a grand ol' time.
  10. I'm busy every weekend from this past one until the middle of August. Remind me to remember to breathe?
  11. I envy my friends whose Facebook posts say anything about being "bored." I don't know the last time I was bored. It had to be years ago. Maybe a decade. I wish I could be "bored" for just ten minutes so I could read a book, or organize my CDs, or back-up my photos, or do some wedding planning.
  12. I guess then I still wouldn't be bored. I guess I just need more time. How can I get more time?
  13. I'm still on week two of P90X. I slacked and have to finish it. I'm just.so.tired.
  14. My new iMac is glorious. But there was a black spec on the screen, which Google and the IT guy at work told me was probably a dead pixel. I deleted all my photos and programs I had spent hours putting on it this past week to bring it back to the store to exchange it for a new iMac (as the guy at the Apple store told me to do). When I got to the store, it turned out to be a spec of dust under the monitor.
  15. The Apple Genius used suction cups to lift my screen and remove the dust. I removed all my programs, photos, and info for nothing, and had to spend another few hours re-adding it all.
  16. I still love my new iMac.
  17. I'd love even more to tell Joshua I bought it. And to thank him for it. And to ask him the zillion questions I have on my list of things to ask/tell him.
  18. I'd love to get more than five hours of sleep one night this week.
  19. Right now I'm most excited about the projects I'm working on outside the hours of nine to five. I can't wait to finish up Felice's graduation invitations and get a start on my and Nikki's wedding save-the-dates.
  20. I can't wait to feel like this again:

The week Joshua got home from Iraq

06 July 2010

{Ten On Tuesday}

I'm following the lead of my lovely maid-of-honor (Sue)'s Tuesday idea today. I started writing a "dish" session on the random things I had going on lately, then realized it amounted to 10 things and that it's also Tuesday. Love ya, Susie-Q!

1 ♥ This week at work, I'm art directing a photo shoot for a new dessert program at the company I work for. We're photographing cakes, cupcakes, brownies, pie, cannolis, fruit tarts, tuxedo strawberries, and other assorted desserts for the next three weeks. Yum!

2 ♥ Interestingly enough, the only reason I became involved with this dessert program (as it falls outside my role as packaging designer for the company) was because of my interest in cakes after the cake decorating class I took last spring! Well, that and the fact that I'm particularly good at coming up with names for products, and they wanted my help naming all the new desserts.

3 ♥ I was given the responsibility to design the entire brochure for the program (I volunteered for it). Not only will it be a lovely addition to my portfolio, but who doesn't want to work with cakes and sweets all day?!

4 ♥ My incredible/amazing/generous/kick-ass fiancĂ© helped me buy a new computer by giving me permission to dip into our wedding savings to purchase it. He knows that I'm preparing to leave my job to start my freelance career when he returns home, and my six-year old Apple Powerbook G4 (yes, I'm a Mac) recently became the s.l.o.w.e.s.t computer ever, stopped playing graphics/video, gave me the spinning beach ball every 5 minutes, and made an hour project take 3 hours. Not to mention, loading blogs was the slowest thing ever AND I didn't have a webcam. Six years in Apple laptop years is like... ancient. Like dinosaur ancient. So now, I'm the proud owner of a 27" iMac with 4GB memory and a 1TB hard drive! I can't wait for him to call home again so I can inform him of our latest investment.

5 ♥ Speaking of calling home, it's been a week since I last heard from my beloved. Helmand is still blowing up and the deployment has still been really rough on our battalion. I'm worried and I just want to hear his voice to know that he's okay.

6 ♥ Whenever Joshua calls from Afghanistan, these are the first things I say to him:

  • "I love you!" (because it is imminent that our call will be cut short before I am able to say this at the end of the conversation... damn satellite phones) 
  • "Are you okay?!"
  • "Do you have all of your body parts?!"
  • "How is your head, is your head okay? Any concussions I should know about?!" (after what happened to Codey, I want every single detail, and I will continue to ask even though I know he isn't allowed to tell me about the small incidents that happen) 

 Depending on how he is actually doing, he'll answer in one of the following ways:

  • "Well, I'm alive." (this means it's been bad since we last talked)
  • "Yes baby, I'm okay." (this is what we like to hear)
  • "I'm doing better now." (this means he's happy to finally be able to call me)

7 ♥ My list of books to-be-read and books in progress is outrageous. I have to come up with a plan to get them all read. I've started a few but I haven't finished them, and I really just have to stick to one and get it done. First up on the list?



Married to the Military by Meredith Leyva. To all my mil•spouse friends: read it! It's so informative and is an easy read. I started it back in February before Joshua deployed, but I stopped reading it and just picked it up again to finish. I'm about halfway through, right around the chapter called Personal Finances: Military Style. Very good tips.

8 ♥ Meredith Leyva is also the founder of CinCHouse.com, which she mentions a lot in the book. The website has a military pay estimator that I have to say was RIGHT on target. I've been handling all of Joshua and my finances since he left, and it really helped me create a budget for us to go by (based on his pay) for when we're living together in NC. Definitely helpful in this economy!

9 ♥ I am in absolute lust over these beauties in black/gray:

10 ♥ P90X and I took a break for a bit (we're just finishing up week 2 over a two-week time period), but I'm leaving now to do my workout for the day and get some more work done for my up&coming business. Have a good night!

04 July 2010

Counting Down the Days

Happy 4th of July, everyone! I'm really missing my love today... This is the first 4th of July we've spent apart... and this time last year was when he proposed to me. I last spoke to him last Wednesday, but since then I've heard that it's been a really rough week for his unit in Afghanistan. They lost another Marine and have had many more injuries. I'm praying hard everyday and so very thankful that the man I love is over there fighting for our freedom every day! I LOVE YOU, JOSHUA!!! ♥

Sooo I do have a patriotic themed care package planned, but I'm going to combine it with his birthday package (July 25th) to send later this week. For now, this is a package I sent awhile back that I wanted to share. The theme of this one is "Counting Down the Days," and it has Joshua's #1 requests... socks and pictures of me. Haha. It's so weird to take/print pictures of myself to send to him, but hey... what my man wants, my man gets. Anything I can to make this deployment a little easier on him! (And for you pervs out there, they are all FULLY CLOTHED & CLEAN pictures of me. I'm not sending anything that could be intercepted by terrorists or dirty Marines! lol)






Have a happy holiday, everyone! I'll be staying in this holiday... getting projects done and organizing for my big move when my love returns. Semper fi!

01 July 2010

Uncertainty

What is it like to quit the job you love to be with the person you love? I guess people do it... It isn’t smart, especially at a time like this, but... People DO do it, right? Ali on The Bachelorette did it. Why am I comparing my situation to a reality TV show? I don’t know. I guess because I don’t really have anyone or anything else to compare it to. She loved her job, and she quit it to find love. That’s something, right? And I’ve already found love, so I’m one step ahead.

I’m just so scared. Of not having money, of not finding another job, of going into debt when I already have debt. It’s all financial worry. I have never for one second questioned the idea of moving to be with Joshua, or our relationship, or our future. That is the only thing I am sure of. I’m just scared of leaving behind the things I’ve worked so hard for, and starting over. What if I don’t make it? What if I’m not good enough, or talented enough, or disciplined enough to make it on my own as a designer? What if the market doesn’t get better, what if we don’t get reassigned and we stay in Jacksonville for another four year enlistment? At least if we got reassigned, I’d have a better chance at finding a design job at a firm or agency if freelancing doesn’t work out. My closest bet near Camp Lejeune is Wilmington, and even that is a slim shot. If we got stationed in Quantico... I could work in DC. I’d have a better chance, a better Plan B. I need a Plan B. Plan A is what I want, but it’s too... Uncertain.

     

What is Plan A, you ask? Quitting my amazing job as a packaging designer here in New York, and moving down to Jacksonville to start a graphic design freelance business out of my home. Online. So my career becomes “portable” and I can take it with me wherever we get stationed, since the love of my life is a die-hard career Marine.

Really, though, I want to design invitations.

Wedding invitations, baby birth announcements, save-the-dates, party invites, engagement announcements, etc. But because it’s all so big and scary to me, I’m going to start off with what I’m good at: graphic design. I love design, and I’m comfortable doing it. Packaging, logos, business cards, magazines, newsletters, brochures, signs, posters... It’s what I do. I wish I could get into web design, but I have to learn it. Even after a course in college, web design doesn’t come easily to me and all the coding is confusing. So I’m going to stick to what I’m good at at first, and then hopefully branch out into more stationery/invitation type designs. Then hopefully photography. Then hopefully web design. Maybe. Someday.

I hate uncertainty.