Project Cinderella – Hosted by USOmetro

You guys!! I was the luckiest girl in all the land last weekend. I got to go hangout with some of my fellow milspouses at Project Cinderella! I had heard about this event but had never been able to attend before. But this year I decided to make it happen, and boy am I glad I did. It was so much fun. Really I had more fun watching everyone else have fun. Thinking about all the military spouses or female service members who were in attendance that maybe just really needed this day of pampering for whatever reason. I saw so many smiles that day it just made my heart swell. This is such a great event and I urge you to find out if your USO is hosting something similar. If you have dresses or shoes or other products that you could donate to an event like this do it! Some of these spouses really need these simple blessings and this is fantastic way to get rid of what you have that you might never use again while touching the lives of others.

 I was so happy to run into my fellow Spouse of the Year sister, Natasha!!! She’s amazing and we don’t get to see each other very often
 I’m also convinced that DC is the smallest place in the world, because I also ran into fellow DC Blogger/Fashionista lover, Patty from @Stylebypatty (go look her up on Instagram). She’s a milspouse as well?! What?!

 I also want to give a big shout out to the main sponsor of the event, EY (Earnst and Young)! They did so much for this event and continually support military spouses and families! THANK YOU!

The Fabulous Elaine Rodgers, who runs the USO metro

 We had so really fun sessions to sit in on. One was all about etiquette and just what to expect when you attend a fancy military dinner or event with three forks! It was fun! We laughed and gave each other tips and advice. It might sound corny, but it was good.

 We also got a visit from Miss Virginia and who else can say they had Elaine take a picture of them with a beauty queen!?

 I also want to take some time to acknowledge an amazing woman who came to speak to us. I knew of Veteran’s Court, but knowing about it in a general sense was about it. Melissa Fitzgerald left her amazing Hollywood Life to move here to the DC area to be in charge of Justice for Vets. Giving back was always a part of her life and I wish I could spend more time telling you her story. Look it up, because it is inspiring and encouraging! Consider checking out Justice For Vets and educating yourself about this amazing program!

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Military Monday – Warrior and Family Center opens in Bethesda

The USO recently opened their second Warrior and Family Center in the DC area.  This particular one has opened its doors steps from the National Medical Center Walter Reed.  It couldn’t be a more perfect location for one to open, and trust me it has been a long time coming.  When I had the pleasure to speak with then President of the USO, Sloan Gibson, he was bursting at the seams to talk about these facilities.  It was one of my first interviews with someone like that and I was a littler nervous.  But to hear him speak about his dream of opening these immediately put me at ease.  There was a lot of thought that went into designing and building these two buildings, which started to be discussed way back in 2009.  Warriors and their families were interviewed concerning design, and the number one request (which was granted) was a learning center of sorts for transitioning.  Within these walls you can music therapy, recording area, playing area, art classes and fly fishing.  TVs, computers, quiet areas and game rooms.

And while the name Warrior and Family Center implies that this is specifically for our nation’s wounded, however this is not the case.  The USOs doors are open to all military, and I have experienced the building myself.  They are both truly beautiful and feel like home, which is the whole purpose I’m sure.

The second facility is beautiful, and I almost like the design of the second better.  It is a much more open facility, as far as the feel.  Lots of windows with very wide hallways, sort of an open great room if you will.  The ribbon cutting was a wonderful time, hearing the words of those that designed and constructed it.  How it affected them, and how many of the construction and design team have signed on to become to volunteers themselves.  It affects people and hearing that is really touching.


The excitement over the building was electric, everyone was smiling and they all spoke of the same things.  They were beyond thrilled to see this building in action, so close to where it is most needed.  I will say this, we are in desperate need of an overhaul in the way we are treating the wounded.  And we aren’t speaking of just the physical wounds.  There was a Forbes article that discussed some of the startling numbers of “Invisible Wounds” as they are referred to.  The numbers were listed as reported on the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.  The total number of TBI diagnosis by the DoD is over 290,000.  It is important to note that not all of the injuries are deployment related.  In fact 80% are the result of a non-deployment injury (ex: car accident).  But the injury is there, regardless of how it was required, and should be treated.  When broken down the study doesn’t reveal how the injuries were received, just the severity of them; however according to the Rand Corporation in a 2008 press release 20 percent of those have returned report symptoms of TBI and depression.  Most, as we are all aware, do not receive treatment because of the stigma attached to physiological issues; but for those that do, only half of them receive treatment considered “minimally adequate”.  This is one of the reasons why I believe what the USO has to offer is extremely valuable.  This is a chance to make things right.  To operate off the concept that I heard repeated over and over that day – a 360 degree concept of care.  I wish there was one of these centers at every single base.


With the President of the USO DC Metro                  My total geek moment with Miss America!!!!

It’s a step in the right direction; and when you hear those in power express understanding and an actual concern for what is happening it helps.  I wish they would talk about it more, all the time, every day.  This will change, I know it will.  Soon, the stigma will be less and less.  It won’t happen overnight, because it took longer than that for the problem to happen.  But this is an opportunity for those in power, either at the National Level of the military and individual unit leaders, to really effect change.  I’m excited at the possibilities for our military members.
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Behind the Scenes of the USO Gala

Last month I had the amazing opportunity to attend the USO Gala here in Washington, D.C.  It was probably one of the highlights of the year for me.  Aside from getting to see Mr. Air Force dressed up and shaking hands with the All State Guy, I spent the evening in the company of some of the bravest men, and their beautiful families.  The USO is dedicated to serving those who serve, and they bring together a whole team of those that stand right along side of them.

Hanging with the spouse of the Soldier of the Year
while she gets pampered! 
The amazing coordinator backstage!

Behind the scenes of the Gala, the USO partners with P&G so that the spouses, significant others, family and recipients can get some extra special pampering before the evening.  A nice relaxing shave for the men was available, which was a newer addition to the pampering room, as well as make-up and hair for the ladies.  This is such an amazing display of care and support towards our service members and their families.  It is done on a small scale, and there was no hoards of media present at this.  It was a blessing for me to be able to attend and watch these ladies get pampered.  Mostly because I’d been where they were.  Military spouses and families share a special sort of connection.  There is so much between us that doesn’t need to be said because of so many shared experiences.  I admire some of these women though because they had experienced the injury of their husbands, the heroic actions in extremely high stress situations, and yet remained centered.  As I stood watching two in particular, so young and relatively new in their life as a Millie, the love that radiated between them was remarkable.  The strength of their hearts.

The Family of the Volunteer of the Year
{source: Mr. Air Force}

This didn’t just go for the spouses of these men.  There were several families, in-laws, parents and sisters present as well.  I knew what they felt for their sons, son-in-laws and brothers.  It is the same feeling that I have when I look at my husband.  It’s a combination of pride and awe.  What they sacrifice for us, the pressure they are under, the figurative and literal mountains they must climb.  The sister and mother of one of the recipients said, “I don’t know how he does it?”

Rebecca, checking out her new do
{source: Cherie Cullen}

But if you spoke with these gentleman they would tell you that they were just doing their jobs.  This award isn’t for them, its for those that didn’t make it and it’s for every other guy in their unit that would have done the same thing.  That was the sentiment echoed throughout the night, and the thing that stayed with me as I left.  When I spoke with mothers, fathers, sisters and in-laws.  All of them were in awe of their loved one.  Pride poured from them, if not with their words, but their demeanor.  They deserved the pampering and P&G made that happen, without masquerading it before the public.  No press, no shouting it from the rooftops.  The hair and make-up people that are involved in this behind-the-scenes endeavor have been doing it since the beginning (most of them anyway).  They do it once and keep coming back.  Some of them are military connected, but some of them aren’t.  Being a part of this is the highlight of their year, and its not because of any recognition they get.  The joy that they get to see on the faces is worth much more than any press release. 

 The Family of the Seaman of the Year
{source: Mr. AirForce}

I can’t wait to experience next year, to see the joy on the faces of those that are there. 

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Every Thursday come join us in ‘Rewind 365’!
It can be something you posted on your blog a year ago, a memory, a photo or even a video taken  a year ago!
This is what was going on with me a year ago:
So What Happened With You A Year Ago Today?Join in and “Rewind 365” days and tell us what you were up to A Year Ago Today!
It’s all simple:
1.Your hosts: Mommy Only Has Two Hands, and Rheanna from Cammo Style Love (We will read your posts) 2. Tweet3. Create a Post with a picture, a memory, or even a previous blog post from 1 year ago, make sure you include our button so we have more people joining every week. (You can put this in your side bar if you don’t want to put it in your post.

4. Link your post up on the linky below so we can all check it out. 5. And the most important thing:


So, what was I up to a year ago today?

we were on our way home from California/Nevada.  When I was there it felt like it was going by so fast, but writing about it on here made it seem like I was there forever.  It was pretty amazing.  

The Kids and I flew alone (shew that’s ridiculousness), but they did awesome.  Although, I’m convinced that I made it only due to the amazingness of the USO in Colorado.  Seriously, these people are amazing.  I came to do door and they could tell that I was just out of my mind, LOL.  They took the kids, helped us get settled, gave them food, got me and Phillip all settled.  Then, to top it all off they helped me get to my plan.  I mean really?  How amazing is that.  To this day I still rave over them, going above and beyond the call of duty.

Southwest Airlines was also amazing.  Helpful with the kids, took them to see the Pilot, it was great.  We always fly with them and have yet to have a bad experience.  And thank you Lord I have never had a horrible experience with passengers and my kids.  Although, I think that’s because (another Thank you Lord) my kids have always done really well on a plane and have actually been complimented on them.  That is due entirely to the Grace of God and tons of prayer before and during.  Maybe  a little bit of my awesome parenting skills, but mostly not. 


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#MilitaryMonday – Jeep and the USO #JoinOSR

Like many others, I’m sure, yesterday presented a difficult decision.  When to get up for bathroom and food breaks!  Thankfully, with the technological wonders of the DVR I didn’t have to make that decision.  Also, like many others, we sat with our eyes glued to the tv to watch the commercials.  There were three that were my very favorite – The Jeep/USO commercial, the Dodge/Farmer commercial, and the Budweiser Clydesdale commercial.   To my surprise I awoke this morning to see quite the chatter about the Jeep commercial.  There appeared to be quite the tizzy over the misuse of the troops for the gain of Jeep.  *insert ridiculously loud sigh*  You should know that my husband says I like to be mad, I like to fight and take on a fight.  I’m slightly passionate, and very frequently emotional.  So, I watched the commercial again, to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.  Nope.  I didn’t feel an overwhelming pressure to purchase a Jeep, there wasn’t any mention of APR financing, or the new 2013 models or anything.  It was a sweet and simple commercial, saying all the things I feel and think.  The specific intent of it was to announce the partnership between the USO and Jeep, as well as the Operation S.A.F.E Return program. 

Operation S.A.F.E. Return is a four-point program.  Jeep will provide the safe transfer of troops and supplies from USO centers as needed.  They have also begun a Veterans Employment Initiative to aid in reintegration.  Jeep will help sponsor homecoming celebrations, offering “a much need hiatus for our troops”, which they are calling “Freedom Adventures”.  Lastly, they will be supporting the USO in its continuous care of wounded and ill troops, as well as their families and caregivers.

I asked Mr. Air Force, he wasn’t offended or annoyed, didn’t feel used or sacrificed to the all-mighty dollar.  Maybe I am just an optimist (which usually isn’t the case for me), maybe the commercial accomplished it’s evil motive by emotionally overwhelming to the point where I didn’t realize it, and now all of the sudden I’m compelled to buy a Jeep (which I do love anyway).  I don’t really think so.  The commercial was great and I’ve very excited to see another partner of the USO, a large and profitable company assisting the troops.  If Jeep is shamelessly using the troops, then I’m assuming Brawney (and their WWP commercials) is, as well as Under Armour.  Is Tide taking advantage of the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Sandy to sell their product?  They go out and wash clothes for people.  What about AllState, and their commercials showing agents giving out Teddy Bears to children who have lost their homes?  Shameless?  Whatever anyone else thinks, I appreciate the fact that large companies give back.  While it might set some at ease, its PR.  Maybe its taking advantage….but would we be sitting here complaining about how these big companies don’t do anything if they didn’t make a commercial or PSA about the fact that they were?

I say, Thank You JEEP and Thank you USO, for Operation S.A.F.E. Return.

You can decide for yourself.  Here’s the Jeep Commercial and the Dodge commercial just because I love it.

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