A New Year is Coming…..

Welcome 2017, we’ve been waiting for you. You can’t scroll down your Facebook without seeing something about how 2016 was the worst year ever and it should just already be over. How we can’t wait for 2017 to start because maybe it will be better. Most people are probably saying that in relation to the election. Some have just had it because we lost some really memory attached people in the last year and the last couple days. Its true, some really sad things have happened. We lost David Bowie, Antonin Scalia, Harper Lee, Joey Feek, Nancy Reagan, George Martin, Patty Duke, Muhammad Ali, Christina Grimmie, Anton Yelchin, Florence Henderson, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (and there are many more). The election was volatile, people rioted in the street and took time off from their school classes to cope.

But you know what, 2016 was full of some amazing things as well! I found a list, did some research, and wanted to share a few things with you.

  • A new study showed that since 1990 woman and children dying in childbirth has halved.
  • Malawi achieved a 67% reduction of children acquiring HIV
  • Thailand became the first country in the world to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis
  • World Hunger reached its lowest point in 25 years.
  • Homelessness in the US decreased by 35%
  • McDonalds announced it removed corn syrup from its hamburger buns and removed antibiotics from its chicken months ahead of schedule. 
  • The average number of large oil spills in the world went down from 24.5 in the 70s, to 1.8 in 2015.
  • Manatees are no longer endangered
  • Yellowstone’s grizzlies made a miraculous comeback
  • Sea World agreed they would stop breeding captive killer whales
  • Giant Pandas were taken off the endangered list
  • 2015 was America’s most generous year…and 2016 is on track to be even bigger!!
And this is just a blip on the list of all the amazing things that happened this year! So I challenge you to stop and think about all the amazing things that happened to you and your family in 2016. Dwelling on the negative and sad doesn’t accomplish anything good in life. Our newsfeeds are filled to brim with ugliness, divisiveness and sadness. People make a statement about how they feel and people make a choice to get into an argument online with them, whether its controversial or not. So many people, including myself, fled Facebook during this time. What was supposed to be a connector of people was pushing people further away. We focused on the negative, the terrible, and fought about it openly with people. 
So I challenge you for 2017, make a change. Share happiness, share the fun in your life, use Facebook to connect with someone you’ve been missing. Share pictures of your day, vacations, your kids or something you did. Find something positive that happened and share that. Pick up the phone and call someone, write a letter, keep a positive thoughts diary. 2017 doesn’t have to be terrible, and neither do your memories of 2016. That’s a choice that we can make, and I encourage you to make a positive choice. 
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, 
just as in fact you are doing ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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Rhe’s Bookshelf – Writer Spotlight on Harlequin Writer Lisa Dyson

Today I’ve got two book reviews for you from Harlequin author, Lisa Dyson. Today I’m talking about two of her ‘Super Romance’ novels. I actually had the extreme pleasure to attend the Washington Romance Writers Luncheon and sit at the table with Lisa, whom is an absolute gem. She is the sweetest AND she loves gloves….which I also love. When you live on the East Coast in the DC area you gotta love your gloves. I got the opportunity to read two of Lisa’s books, Prince Charming Wears a Badge and A Perfect Homecoming. One of the reasons why I love the Super Romance category of Harlequin is that there is more of a story line and more ability to really investigate the characters for some really deep character development.

{click link to purchase}
summary
 The only reason Dr. Ashleigh Wilson is back in her hometown is to help her pregnant sister—and maybe repair their relationship. She’s certainly not here to see her ex-husband, Dr. Kyle Jennings, or mend any fences with him. Too bad he doesn’t accept that. Worse, the more time they’re together, the more the old attraction flares! 
 
Even if she still has feelings for him, Ashleigh is not staying. Because that would mean facing the past and all she left behind. Kyle, however, seems convinced they have another shot at happiness. And after a few persuasive kisses, Ashleigh begins to wonder if he’s right….
Review
 
I gave this book only two and a half stars, and I know that sounds horrible, but I tend to be stingy with my stars. The book in general is written amazingly well. After reading two of her books, Lisa’s writing is lovely. It’s wordy in the best sense of the word and really develops the characters. I, however, just couldn’t get past this Ashleigh character about half-way through the book. The general struggles of the characters ring true, and you can sympathize. But there’s a certain point in time where you’re over it and I found myself struggling to complete the book based solely on her character alone. For me, the “Super Romance” part of the book and the fact that you could spend more time worked against the characters for me.
{click link to purchase}
Summary
 
Callie James never expected a handsome prince or a fairy-tale ending. She already knows that life is full of unhappy-ever-afters–like finding her boyfriend with another woman, and being forced to return to her hometown and deal with her troubled past. Fortunately, she’s pretty much safe from romantic entanglements. That is, until she discovers the chief of police is also her teenage crush, Tyler Garrett. Now she must find a way to face her wicked stepfamily, win over Prince Charming…and save herself in the process.
 
Review
 
I am a succor for a theme based off of something beloved, like the Cinderella story. I think that’s exactly the reason why a lot of us read books. We want to be taken to a different time, place, idea….perhaps one with a ring a truth so that it isn’t so unbelievable. I truly like this book, which is why I gave it four stars. There are parts within the book *spoilers* having to do with the Step Mother, and her father, and mostly the step-sister that almost took it too far from my perspective. But having never suffered any abuse like what was portrayed in this book I can’t really say if the reaction was too much or not. Even the basis for her leaving to go back to her home town seen incredibly far-fetched…but like I said, maybe that is something that really could happen, and a way someone really would react. It wasn’t so much that i didn’t like the book. It is a great read and i couldn’t stop!!! That is the marks of great writing and a great book!!

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Santa HQ Has Arrived!!

While we typically do not begin our Christmas celebrations until after Thanksgiving, we always make an exception when it comes to man up North. Santa has officially arrived in Northern Virginia, so we went to check out the amazing HGTV Santa HQ in Tyson’s Corner! One of the best parts about Santa HQ is the fact that I can make reservation. And mom’s everywhere rejoiced right?

                 

The Santa HQ people are fantastic as well – helpful, efficient, kind….all things that I look for in an experience that can be a little anxiety-filled and stressful. You want this experience to be fun and as stress-free as possible, and every time we’ve stopped by to visit Santa here its been a great experience. For that, I am truly thankful.

Check your Naughty or Nice status, download the elf app to see the special interactive displays, work on Santa’s sleigh, and check on the elves.

And of course we had to stop and get our picture with Tommy from The Tommy Show!! 
You never know who you might run into here at Santa HQ

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What Did I Tell My Kids?

I debated about whether or not I would write a post about this topic. We’re definitely on overload. And while conversations from adults are what they are, it the kids that I want to talk about. I’ve recently been asked by several people what I’m telling my children. My answer is, “We have a new president-elect, who will take office in January.” No more, no less. Every election it seems like our children are becoming involved more and more. And not just involved by knowing what is going on and having fun learning about things; but actively involved in the disgusting underbelly of the election. Kids coming home telling their parents that their friends will be deported in Trump wins, others talking about how Hilary should be in jail. Both sides feel justified in their anger; and both sides have justified the actions of the other. Her emails weren’t really that bad, he said those things as a celebrity, what he said was worse than anything she may have done.

No matter what I firmly, and without questions, believe that our children should not bear the weight of what is going on right now. They are going to schools and talking to friends, parroting things they are hearing – spreading the fear, anger, judgement and whatever else to small children who are entirely too young to be worrying about this. My five, eight and possibly my ten year old don’t need to be scared or feel like their world could implode at any moment. That the election of one man will suddenly cause a tidal wave of destruction that will deport their friends, imprison people, take away rights and destroy our country. And if the election had turned gone another way I would say the same thing.

So what DO I say to my kids? I tell them, “we have a new President, there are many people upset, and many happy. Someone was going to be angry and someone was going to be happy. No matter what you hear on tv or from your friends at school, Mommy and Daddy have it under control. You don’t need to be worried about anything. Just be excited there is a new President, and its okay to be sad that President Obama isn’t going to be anymore.” President Obama is the only President they have really known. They know about him, watch him on TV and look up to him in the way any child should someone like our Country’s President. As military kids they are keenly aware that he is their daddy’s boss and is making decisions about their daddy. There is so much they do worry about in their life, and adding more to that isn’t what we are about.

How do I ACT? All I can do is set an example for them. An example of love and kindness. As Christians, as a Jesus loving, faith-based household that is my belief and my duty as a parent. And that’s it. There is plenty of time for all the other things in life. Plenty of time.

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Northern Virginia Ballet Performs The Nutcracker Ballet! *giveaway*

I am so excited to be bringing another opportunity to support local arts! The Academy of Russian Ballet is proud to present their ninth annual Nutcracker Ballet with Northern Virginia Ballet company. This year, International Ballet stars Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky will be guest dancers in the performance. Ms. Dvorovenko and Mr. Beloserkovsky are former Principal dancers with American Ballet Theater and were trained at the Kiev State Choreographic Institute and were Principal dancers with the Kiev State Ballet in Uktraine. Ms Dvorovenko was a guest judge on “So You Think  You Can Dance?” and will be featured on the upcoming Starz Channel series, “Flesh and Bone”.

The Northern Virginia Ballet is an amazing company with a family-friendly atmosphere. As attendees of their performances for the last couple of years we have been continually impressed with the talent, and the performers. They interact with the children, take pictures and answer questions. Supporting local arts, giving children opportunities to both perform for an audience and also watch something geared towards them is so important.

Cammo Style Love is happy to be giving away a family four-pack of tickets to their 
November 26th performance of The Nutcracker Ballet!
If you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to see this amazing performance you purchase tickets
online from the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located in Manassas, VA
To Win, leave a comment telling me if you have ever been to, or performed in a ballet or theater production!
Good luck!!

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