Military Monday – Military Support Series *Guest Post* MilSpouse Minute

Happy Military Monday!  Today I have a guest post, so it is kind of a three-for deal here.  Military Monday+Military Support Series+Guest Post= Amber Turner and MilSpouse Minute.  I first discovered MilSpouse Minute only a couple weeks ago; so when Amber asked if she could snag a few moments to share her cool new site with my readers, I said “of course!”  Here’s a little bit about Amber ~

Amber Turner is an Air Force wife and mother of 2. She started blogging with to share her passion of motherhood, fitness, health and wellness.  She created for other military spouse entrepreneurs to help spread the word about their ventures.  She has B.S. in Business and Information Technology and is pursuing her Master’s in Human Services.
Thanks for stopping by everyone and I hope your week is a great one.

As military spouses, many of us are faced with several challenges when it comes to our careers.  This is why I created MilSpouse Minute.  MilSpouse Minute is our moment or “15 minutes” so to speak. Our mission is to create a platform for military spouses to share and promote who they are and their ventures with others using video. Video has a huge impact on consumers and customers. 

I know that military spouses are talented individuals and it is my goal to bring them to the forefront and have them share it with the world.  The forum will give military spouses that voice that they desperately need. My goal is to be a blog platform for military spouses that will lead to business growth and success. I solicit business owners, Etsy shop owners, crafters and everything in-between to create a MilSpouse Minute. 

Why do I use Youtube and social media?  Because these are key ways to get immediate feedback, cut down time, waste and increase virality.  What is virality you say?  Virality is the degree in which internet content is shared via the internet therefore increasing the reach of the content.  In my struggles, I realized as military spouse entrepreneurs and business owners we have to rely on our best resource and that is ourselves.  Relying on our fellow military spouses to promote our ventures other via social media can help us to succeed.

Where it all started (dream sequence/blurry dreams lines)….

“Honey, I got an assignment to New York…” These were the words that I echoed in my head when I found out my family and I would be leaving the longest place I ever lived, Georgia. Needless to say Georgia is not New York, so the drastic change had me a little nervous. Besides the culture shock I knew I was going to experience, the second thought I had was “I gotta find myself another job!”.  The frustration and pressure from not finding employment proved to have affected me mentally as well. I didn’t have an outlet. So I created one for myself. One that gave me my voice and visibility in a world where I felt I didn’t have one.  The struggles I faced led me to Milspouse Minute.

So come join me and let us be each other’s support for success!

visit MilSpouse Minute and their Brother site

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#MilitaryMonday – What’s the Deal with TriCare?

Happy Monday everyone!  I usually do a ‘Military Monday type post, but today is my first time linking up with Ashley over at Eights on the Move.  I’m super excited to have found Ashley’s blog because I’ve been thinking about an officially ‘Military Monday’ Link-up and low and behold there it was!  I’m thinking about re-visiting some of her previous topics and playing catch up, but first thing’s first.  This week’s topic is TriCare – dun dun duuuunnnnn!  Did you hear the creepy music?

As with all things in life there are multiple experiences.  Truth be told we’ve had an almost impeccable experience with Tri-Care and United Concordia one could have in an eleven year career.  The only problems that we’ve had was something that I don’t know that they necessarily had control over, and was mostly due to the oddity that is my husband’s job.  The other unique experience that we have had is the fact that we were remote.  Because of that we had TriCare Prime Remote.  TriCare Prime is the standard plan that most active duty people receive.  Prime Remote meant that standard of care was received by all civilian doctors since we weren’t anywhere near an MTF.  There is no cost for TriCare prime and we never had to pay a co-pay.  Our prescriptions were dirt cheap; and I had three babies, a wrist surgery and several specialty visits and paid not one cent!  The one thing that did cost us a bit was when there wasn’t a generic prescription for something, but then compared to what someone else might pay for name brand meds, it was nothing.

When we moved here to Virginia and my husband took a civilian contract we first took the insurance available through his work.  After one year we were like forget this nonsense!  A part of the decision to take the civilian insurance was because of our location.  There are about five military bases within a stone’s throw of us.  For us, personally, MTFs and military health care was not for us.  However, we had other options!   Currently we have TriCare Reserve Select, which other than the annual fee has been a seemless transition from active to traditional guard.

Here they are broken down for you:

TriCare Standard and Extra – This plan provides so much flexibility to its users.  You are allowed to see any authorized provider whether they are in your network or not.  When you see a non-network provider (standard option) you will pay a little bit out of pocket.  You will not need a referral but some appointments might need prior-authorization.  For example when I decided to see someone for my depression I called and made an initial appointment and the doctor submitted the paperwork.  I then received a letter from TriCare stating that I was approved to see this doctor for a certain number of visits.  There is a small deductible based on your rank..  This plan is available to all the eligible beneficiaries except the active-duty service member.  ** if your sponsor is National Guard or Reserve, the deductible is waived if they were activated in support of a contingency operation.

TriCare Standard and Extra info page

US Family Health Plan – This is an additional Prime option.  It is available through networks of community-based, not for profit health care providers.  There are designated areas that this option is available, and it is available for a wide variety of people including the following – active duty, retired families, active guard and reserve families, non-activated guard and reserve families who qualify for Transitional Assistance Management Program, survivors, Medal of Honor recipients and their families, and qualified former spouses.  Like I mentioned before this plan is available only in certain areas, mostly on the East Coast.  You can view the areas and the areas on the TriCare info page.  There is no enrollment fee for active duty families and transitional survivors.  Other families pay an enrollment fee of of a little over $500.00 (which can be paid quarterly or monthly).  There are no other fees as long as you see an approved provider.

TriCare Prime – Here’s a great article about Prime from

TriCare Reserve Select – This is for my National Guard and Reserve peeps!  This is very similar to the Standard and Extra plan.  When you see a network provider it costs less, then if you see a non-network provider.  There is a small enrollment fee of just under $200.00 for a family.  Deductibles vary based on the sponsor’s rank.  After the deductible is met there is a percentage that is paid for outpatient visits.  Learn more by visiting the info page for TRS.

When you visit the TriCare main page you can answer questions about who you are, where you live and your service member’s status.  It will pull up available plans for you and break them down even further.  I have to say the TriCare website has come a long way in being way more user friendly.  It is explained clearly and is very easy to navigate.

I guess the final question would be “how do I get this insurance?”  In order to receive this you must be enrolled in DEERS.  Service members are automatically enrolled in DEERS.  In order for family members to be enrolled you have to go on your base or armory.  The service member will take his/her spouse to the local ID office to get your ID as well.  You will a birth certificate and/or marriage certificate.  You can locate the nearest office here.  Unfortunately our guard/reserve families may have to travel further to get this done if you are not near your unit.  The good part about those that are far (and close as well) is that if you can’t make it with your service member that’s okay.  My husband enrolled me right after we were married without me being there.  He just took my birth certificate and our marriage certificate with him.  And all children can be enrolled without you lugging them out to the office.  The service member will just take the birth certificate to the office to get them officially enrolled.  TriCare does make allowances for new births and the initial pediatrician visits before you have the official birth certificate, just make sure you have your information (tricare card and the id) when you go to the office.

We are huge fans of TriCare in the Cammo Style Love house.  Do you use TriCare?  What’s been your experience?

If you have any other questions please ask here or email me!!

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#militarymonday Bridging the Gap with Community Service

Volunteering and community service is something that I know that is mentioned fairly regularly on my blog.  It’s important to me, and I hope to pass that on to my children.  I feel like the spirit of volunteerism has dwindled among our society, but then I notice that more and more high school’s are requiring it for graduation, and whole school districts and community beautification day.  But what does that actually mean?  Does that mean that giving back to your community is become more important or does that mean to actually get people to volunteer we have to require it and have special days for it.  I’m not sure which.

This last weekend I joined up with one of my Blue Star Families pals and went to DC for DC Public Schools Beautification Day.  Me and some of my pals spent a good chunk of our day at Jefferson Academy School in South West DC.  It is a beautiful old school, brick with wood floors.  Such a cool old building.  The school had some water damage on some of the upper floors and new teachers were moving in.  Organizing books by reading level and hanging out classroom decorations was the order of the day, and it was a blast.  We even had some fellow military families and some service members come out as well.  It was great.  Giving back to the community, showing the local community that we as military members are invested in our communities no matter how long we may be there, is vital to the Civilian/Military relationship.

Me and my BSF peep Michelle, and two service members

Bridging the gap so that we both understand each other.  In Blue Star Families Military Lifestyle Survey, released early this year, this very topic was one of the most important.  Military families didn’t feel understood by their civilian counterparts.  But can we really dump that onto the civilian community?  We are responsible for that relationship just as much as they are, and community service is the way to do it.  In fact, in my opinion, it is the perfect way to do it!  We have all heard and seen stories about military connected individuals walking around with their hands out.  We deserve this, we deserve that.  My husband’s job is so dangerous that I deserve to get my bags on an airplane for free.  I’m not denying that all those things aren’t nice and wonderful, and on some level “deserved” so to speak.  But walking around feeling as if its owed to you and then throwing a tantrum when you don’t get it, doesn’t do much for our reputation.  A perfect example is the Sears Heroes registry for a gift card.  At a prescribed time you can register and try to “make it in.”  For the past three years this has been nothing but a nightmare.  Spouses flooding the Sears Facebook page saying the most horrible things that one could ever see.  I was absolutely ashamed to be called a military spouse at that very moment.  Every year I tell Sears thank you that I am surprised they continue doing it.  I chastise fellow milspouses in a rant on my Facebook status.  I know I’m being just as ridiculous but I seriously can’t help myself.   So can you really blame the civilian population for thinking we are unapproachable and snotty?  I can’t.

We do…what do you do?

In an effort to do my part for my military community, my local community and my children I want to give back.  My children will be raised knowing that everyone should do their part.  Bringing them with me to projects is my way of doing that.  Look for events in your area.  Find an area of interest for you and see how your community gives back in that way.  There are many National events relating to service that are held throughout the year.  Coming up next month is the 9/11 Day of Service.  You can visit the website to pledge your service, find local way to give back and more.  Points of Light is another great organization that provides you with ways you can give back.  Simply search your location and an area of interest.  The time is now.

How do you give back?!  Check out Points of Light or the 9/11 Day of Service website to get involved!!

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Military Support Series – Military Spouse JD Network #MilitaryMonday #MilitarySupportSeries

Welcome to another Military Support Series post and Military Monday!!  I love being able to share some of these great resources with you all.  Hopefully these are things you might not normally have heard of and this is helping someone out there.  Please make sure to click the “military resources” tab up top and spread the word.  If you’re stopping by for the first time please let me know so I can return the favor; and as always my mailbox is always, always open if you have any questions.

What is Military Spouse J.D. Network?

The Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) was formed in Summer 2011 by two military spouses frustrated with the challenges of maintaining a legal career that seemed incompatible with the military lifestyle. They formed MSJDN to advocate for licensing accommodations for military spouses, including bar membership without additional examination, as well as network with other military spouses with JDs. Since 2011, the membership of MSJDN has swelled to over 750 members and supporters.  In February 2012, with the support of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, the ABA House of Delegates adopted a resolution supporting changes in state licensing rules for military spouses with law degrees. MSJDN supports such a rule change in each jurisdiction.

Their Communications Director, Lori Volkman, happens to be a great bloggy friend of mine.  We both share a heart for advocating for military families.  She is pretty much totally awesome and I was lucky enough to spend some time with her in D.C.  I know that she’s been working her rear off as a mom, a Naval Reserve spouse, and a Deputy Prosecutor in the State of Washington.  She is how I came to hear about the J.D. Network and all they do.  Jobs and Education, as it relates to the Military Spouse is such a huge topic of conversation these days, especially with Joining Forces making it a priority.  Making it easier for spouses to maintain any credentials they need when moving between states would do a lot to ease the amount of stress that just comes with the territory as a military spouse.  MSJDN is doing its part to accomplish this.
Because of the tireless work of the Spouses at MSJDN, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina and Texas have passed resolutions for admission of military spouse attorneys without examination.  States considering these changes include: California, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Maryland.  The purpose of this resolution is to aid military spouse in attorneys in a seamless transition when they are forced to move to a new state because of military orders.  *make sure to visit the MSJDN website to read more about what they are doing and about the resolution itself.*
How can you get involved?
If you are a military spouse with a law degree I definitely 100% encourage you to join the Military Spouse JD Network.  It will provide you a network of fellow spouses experiencing the same things you are, and you can help make a difference for spouses in your career field.  If you simply want to help, or find out more, and get involved, please visit their membership page.
 That’s me and Lori, hanging out at the Pentagon
I miss that girl!
Check them out on social media:
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#MilitaryMonday – Meeting the Second Lady and reading her book *bookreview*

Before I share this MIlitary Monday post, I wanted to share with you that I have been nominated for Circle of Mom’s Top Military Mom Blogs for 2013!  It is such an honor and surprise.  I really hope that being a part of this group of ladies will provide some wonderful opportunities to share the military life story and advocate for all of us.  If you think I’m worthy of a vote I would be honored if you would.  You can actually vote for me every day until July 4th.  There are so many wonderful ladies on the list, so if you think they are awesome too please vote for them.  Thank you for stopping by.

I’ve probably said this about one million times (yes, literally), but I am so beyond blessed to be living in this city.  Blessed to know the people that I know and to feel the blessing from them for inviting, telling me, emailing me and calling me about so many wonderful things.  Having spent the majority of our military career, DC is almost overwhelming at times.


One of my milspouse friends sent us the info about a great event with Dr. Jill Biden at the Library of
Congress.  The event was to share her book with us, “Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops,” written about her granddaughter Natalie and the deployment of her son Beau.”  The event was also an important event for the Library of Congress in that it was the launch of a wonderful program Books and Beyond for Young People, at the Young Readers Center, which was started three years ago.  Dr. John Cole, Director for the Center of the Book, shared that Dr. Biden was chosen because supporting the children of military families was so important for the Library of Congress.  The Library of Congress has taken special of note of the trials and  uniqueness of life in the military, with the creation of The Military Voices Initiative, which a recorded history of military troops and their families, post 9/11.  It is amazing project that you can check out at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

For this special day I chose to take my daughter, for some special mommy and me time.  Ami had her copy of the book and we read along as Jill and her granddaughter read the book to us.  If you get a chance to pick up this book I would recommend it.  It is a beautifully written story that provides encouragement for children with a military parent.  The drawings are soft and sweet.  It is the perfect length and includes so much of life that each child who has experienced a deployment can relate to.  Even my four-year-old daughter understood that the little girl in the book was going through what she was going through.  At one point she said, “I have to be brave too mommy!”  Let the water work commence people.

Cammo Style Love gives this book five out of five stars.  I also want to give the experience five out five stars as well.  If you ever are in the DC area please make the Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, a stop on your tour.  The inside is absolutely gorgeous.  We didn’t have time to do a full tour, but Ami and I walked around and checked out some of the interactive stations and looked at the beautiful ceiling in the center.  Even the elevators are cool looking.   All in all it was a fun little date with my girl.

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