PCSing OCONUS while your spouse is a Geo-Bachelor!

So I know I promised those Disney reviews, but oh my goodness this past week has been crazy. You know those weeks where all of a sudden you look around and realize it is the weekend already, and you still have a full to do list? Totally feeling you right now.

One of the main things that I have been finishing up is my paperwork for Germany. Let us pause while I scream into a pillow, out of both pure excitement and wanting to strangle someone.

Okay, much better now.

As you can tell from this title, my situation is unique. Which means I can barely find any information necessary. Big surprise, it is hard to get information out of the military. Because of that, I am going to compile a list of what I had to do to be cleared.

1. Lets go over the title, to help everyone out. PCS means Permanent Change of Station, meaning you are leaving one base and going to another for a few years. OCONUS means Outside [the] contiguous United States; i.e. Alaska, Hawaii, and all other countries. Geo-Bachelor is a military member that is married, but is currently living alone. So if you are currently not living with them due to work, school, family, etc, they are a Geo-Bachelor.

2. As soon as you get wind of PCSing OCONUS, start filling out paperwork. Ours was a bit different, as he was deployed when he found out, so we had to wait much longer than we would like to. Make sure you have a PCM, Primary Care Manager. This is just your regular doctor, but if you haven’t gone in a while and need to find a new one, do this asap. It may take a while to get it through Tricare, and physicals may take a few weeks. Because I am far from a base, my PCM is a civilian doctor. Some of you may be going onto a base for it all, which on the paperwork side of everything is easier because they already know what they are doing. The paperwork seems huge and daunting, but is really simple for them to fill out.

3. Do the same with a dentist. You will need to enroll in Tricare Dental if you are going that route. Just get it done and out of the way asap. You never know what will happen when you go in. You want all of your dental work completed, so they can check off that you are cleared. There is one page for them to fill out as well.

4. Get your Military No-Fee Passport done. This will take a few weeks to go through. This needs to be done on base. I needed Form DS-11, DD Form 1056, my original birth certificate, two 2×2 photos, my marriage certificate, and a copy of the front and back of my and my husbands military ID card. Thankfully I was able to do this while visiting my husband.

5. In my experience, I had to drive to my nearest base (an hour and a half away in rush hour traffic for my 9:30 am meeting) for my clearance. My meeting just confirmed that everything was correct and there were no problems in our marriage. I think it is great that they ask, but my goodness, why couldn’t I do it over the phone?! I know others have been able to, so maybe you will get lucky. My meeting took a total of three minutes, then they handed me back a copy of my form and sent me on my way.

That has been it for now. The hardest part of the process for me was the final meeting, as I am in school. They had to work a bit with my schedule. That meeting took around 6 weeks to finally get to, which pushed back all of his paperwork.

If anyone has ANY questions, don’t be afraid to ask!

On to the next step!

Coming This Summer: Walt Disney World Part 3!

What a whirlwind this day has been!

Now that S and I decided to scrap the traditional wedding reception we keep trying to plan for this summer, our budget has open up a heck of a lot. Before we leave Georgia for good (oh goodness, I hope for good.) we decided to take one last trip to Walt Disney World! And by that, I mean we talked about how it would be fun and booked the hotel less than four hours apart.

*Internally screaming*

Okay let’s be honest, I’m externally screaming. I am so incredibly excited. Disney has been such a large part of my life, including where we went the weekend before S left for basic, where S proposed to me, where we honeymooned, and where my roommate took me after he deployed. My goodness.

We will be going at the end of June for four days, and to prepare for it I will be reviewing my favorite places at Disney World.

I can’t wait to share it all with you!

Another Angle of Armenian Genocide Advocacy

I have never marched for the Armenian Genocide. Truthfully that many people in one place terrifies me. I don’t attend many events because most of the time I can’t understand them, as I don’t speak Armenian, much to other’s dismay.

That doesn’t make me any less of an advocate. Just because I am not physically protesting doesn’t mean I don’t care about the cause. Just because I don’t speak the language doesn’t mean I don’t care about being Armenian. I decided to advocate in a different way.

I advocate by sharing my family’s story, the atrocities and struggles they went through to come to America.

My great grandfather, Siragan Aprahamian, was never seen again after being forced to join the Turkish army. His wife, Ardem Aprahamian, knew she had two choices for her and her three children – to die or to survive.

She put her daughters, Rose, Alice, and Mary, in the homes of three separate greek homes. This saved the three daughters, and allowed Ardem to hide in the basement of a church until the genocide was over.

Once the genocide was over, Ardem emerged from the basement and knew she needed to reclaim her husband’s three apartment units and farm. Ardem was very well educated and could read and write in English. This was because both her mother and herself were college educated, a rarity for most women during that time. Because of this, she was able to take back the property with little resistance.

Alice-Gedikian-and-sisters
Alice, Mary, Rose 1921

With a place to bring them back to, Ardem went to get her daughters. The older two daughters were given back with no problems. When her mother returned for the third daughter, the Greek family had their son run with Mary into a farm. Ardem went to the police and got back her daughter, and even though it left her daughter terrified and crying, she was able to reclaim her.

Her mother sold the farm and rented out the apartments before leaving for Constantinople and later for an old and broken down Turkish war ship. Unfortunately for them, Mary was heartbroken to leave her family and cried the entire way, leaving her eyes red, a sign of pink eye. In those days, pink eye was cause to be sent back.

Ardem though was not about to be sent back after the long journey and all of the work it took to get them there. While still on the journey, she taught her daughters to sing “Jesus Loves Me” in English. While examining their eyes in Ellis Island, dressed up in matching sailor dresses Ardem made, they began singing and won over the examiners.

Although back in the Middle East, families made sure to reclaim their culture, including their religion and customs, in America it was quite the opposite.  It was necessary to adopt the American culture and to blend in as much as possible.

Even with their hardships, they knew the importance of their family and staying true to themselves.

1501411_10202755925958061_518567262_o
My grandmother on her 100th birthday in 2014, two days before she passed away.

Alice was my grandmother. Her courage was apparent through her life. Through all of the struggles she went through, she thrived. She is my strength.

Through all that she had gone through, she never felt bitter. Not towards Turkish people, not towards other religions, not towards anyone. I think that is something we all need to begin to adapt. No matter what has happened, we need to take our pain and transition it into positivity, working to help others that are in the same position Armenians were in 100 years ago.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Another recipe I made while visiting S was in honor of my uncle’s 75th birthday. While he celebrated in New Orleans with his family, I decided to make some crockpot Jambalaya to freeze!

20150416_223157 (1)

Oh my goodness this recipe was amazing. It was super spicy, and so quick to pull together.

Of course S eats enough for a small family, so I decided to really pack in the protein. Two pounds of sausage, a pound of chicken breasts, and a pound and a half of shrimp seemed like a good enough amount. The chicken partially shredded itself, leaving bits though out with some large chunks. The sausages were AMAZING and so full of flavor. The shrimps absorbed all of the spice of the dish. Seriously I want more of it now!

When cooked, I ladled the jambalaya into individual freezer bags, making sure to include plenty of the juice as well. I tried to approximate how much it would take for one meal for S, but really am not sure how close I was going to be. If it ended up being too much, this would be AMAZING next day.

Now, I made this recipe specifically to be frozen which is why I omitted the rice. I figured the rice would get overly mushed when defrosting. S just makes around a cup and a half of brown rice, then adds the jambalaya after it is cooked to soak up the flavor and heat up the mixture.

This recipe ended up being very spicy. If your family is not as into that as we were, scale the spices back a bit. We loved it though!

Crock Pot Jambalaya.

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts – cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 pounds andouille sausage, sliced (We used a pound each of andouille and spicy)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cup chicken broth
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP dried parsley
  • 4 TSP Cajun seasoning
  • 2 TSP cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 TSP dried thyme
  • 2 pound frozen cooked shrimp without tails
  1. In a slow cooker combine the chicken, sausage, tomatoes, onion, celery, broth, and seasonings. 
  2. Cover and cook on high for 3.5 hours. Stir in shrimp and cook for another half hour.
  3. Serve over rice.

Serves 8-12, depending on appetites.

The BEST Breakfast Burritos!

One of my goals every time I come out to visit S is stocking the freezer full of home cooked meals. One of both of our FAVORITE things to make and freeze is breakfast burritos! He loves them because he can microwave them either before he leaves home or once he gets to work, and will actually stay full until lunch. I love them because I know he is getting a nutritious breakfast, and he wont stop on his way to buy donuts. Plus, they are SO incredibly easy. It’s a win win!

(Okay, I am working on my photography skills. Part of the problem is actually remembering to take the photos. The other is not dropping my phone in the vat of sausage as I take the photo. Blogging is hard.)

20150415_180710

Simple ingredients. Eggs. Meat. Cheese. Potatoes. Tortilla. Sticking to the basics. Really though you can add anything you want. We ended up using two different sausages for the burritos, mixing the maple and the original flavors. I was skeptical about the maple, but oh my goodness it smelled amazing. You can also sub the sausage for bacon if it suits your fancy. Just make sure to chop it into bite sized pieces. We also used tater tots rather than hash browns. Why? We already had them in the freezer. Totally a win.

Take your ingredients. Brown your sausage. Bake your potatoes. Scramble your eggs. Throw it all in a bowl and sprinkle with cheese. Then add even more. You’ll thank me later.

20150415_230231

Really though, look at that. It is just dangerous.

Once the mixture is cooled enough, create an assembly line. Have your bowl of filling, tortillas, and a freezer bag to put them in once they’re rolled up.

Make sure to roll them tight so the filling doesn’t fall out. 

I try to fill them quite a bit because S has the appetite of a dinosaur. If your appetite is smaller, try using a more normal sized tortilla.

My mixture made ten extra large burritos.

20150415_233731

Some people wrap them individually in plastic wrap or foil. We tried that, but this works just as well. They still stay together nicely.

I mean look at them. They’re beautiful.

When you are ready to eat, take one out of the bag and stick it in the microwave for about two minutes or until warmed through. Again, it depends on the size of your burrito.

Enjoy!

Breakfast Burritos. 

  • 32 oz. tater tots
  • 32 oz. pork sausage
  • 18 large eggs
  • A splash of milk
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend, but whatever suits your fancy!)
  • 10 extra large Tortillas
  1. Cook tater tots according to packaging. When ready and cool to the touch, place in a large bowl.
  2. Cook sausage, breaking it up into small chunks, until completely cooked. Drain with a paper towel, then add to the bowl.
  3. Scramble together eggs, milk, pepper, and 1/4 cup of cheese in a pan until done. Place in the large bowl.
  4. Mix together everything, adding the remaining cheese, until well combined. Let cool until it can be easily handled.
  5. Set up an assembly line with the filling bowl, tortillas, and a plastic bag. Ladle two cups of filling in a tortilla, fold in the sides and roll tightly, then put in the bag. Repeat until all of the ingredients have been used.
  6. Keep in the freezer until ready to eat. When ready, microwave the burrito on high for two minutes or until heated through. Serve with salsa, if desired.

Makes 10 extra large burritos.

Influenster Campus VoxBox: Softlips Cube 5 in 1 Lip Care Review!

For those of you that didn’t see my introduction to my Influenster Campus VoxBox, I received a box full of AMAZING full sized products to test and review. Yesterday I tested and reviewed St. Ives® Blemish Control Apricot Scrub.

The next product I absolutely HAD to try was the Softlips Cube. I am lip balm obsessed, to the point that I have a box of different types. One of my least favorite things though is not knowing the quality of a lip balm before purchasing it. You never know if it is going to hydrate you or leave you even more dry than before.

As soon as I put this product on, though, I knew I wasn’t going to have a problem. I was sent the Fresh Mint flavor (scent? What is the correct term?!) which is fantastic because I always gravitate toward the minty flavors. Although, the Pomegranate Blueberry and Vanilla Bean flavors sound AMAZING, too!

This Cube went on smooth, gliding on easily and quickly melting into my lips. The best part is it stays on for a long time! I didn’t feel the need to constantly reapply, although I might have anyway for the mint tingle. I also love how it is SPF 15. Although not enough to keep you from getting burned, it is enough to keep me feeling protected.

Absolutely love this product, and can’t wait to purchase the other two! My only problem is the shape and size of it. Like Eos Lip Balm, the awkward shape makes it so I can’t carry it in my pocket. I have decided to keep this one on my bed stand for that reason. Too bad, I wish I could carry it around all day long.

Overall, though, another 9/10!

Check in tomorrow for another review of these amazing products!

If you want a shot at receiving one of these fantastic boxes in the future, visit Influenster.com.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Influenster Campus VoxBox: St. Ives® Blemish Control Apricot Scrub Review!

Finally getting to another review of a Influenster Campus VoxBox product!

stives

Another favorite item of the box was the St. Ives® Blemish Control Apricot Scrub. I have always used St. Ives products, so getting a new one to test was fantastic. Previously I have used their sensitive skin line. The St. Ives® Blemish Control Apricot Scrub was MUCH different. The product really made me feel like it was removing all of my dead skin, leaving fresh, new skin. Usually with products like that, I end up with horrible acne afterwards. Thankfully though, because of the use of the salicylic acid in the scrub I didn’t have that problem at all. I felt so fresh! It really did help me #LiveRadiantly, especially as it was right before my trip out to see S!

I love how it uses corn kernels and walnut shell powder as the exfoliants. Many products use plastic beads, which are wreaking havoc on our environment.  The beads go down the drain and straight into the ecosystem because they don’t disappear. I feel better using this more natural product instead. Go St. Ives!

I definitely wouldn’t use this product more than twice a week, or it may do my damage than good. If your skin is more sensitive, you may try mixing a bit of the scrub in with your normal face wash to lessen the effects.

Overall, 10/10! I really enjoy being able to see immediate results with my products, and this one did exactly that.

Check in tomorrow for another review of these amazing products!

If you want a shot at receiving one of these fantastic boxes in the future, visit Influenster.com.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The Easiest Shredded Chicken!

I know I promised I would do a review a day of my Influenster Campus VoxBox, but I just had to share my insanely simple way of shredding chicken. I have been meal planning like crazy this week because I am visiting S and always like to try out recipes on him first!

20150413_150951

When I cook chicken, I cook as much as I will need for the week at once. Sometimes, if I just have a recipe or two that need the chicken, I will take the rest and put it in freezer bags, separated into breasts, and pop them in the freezer for later. It makes it nice for when I am not here so S can thaw one to throw in a quesadilla or on pasta.

20150413_161422

Using the crockpot makes it SO SIMPLE. It honestly is just three steps.

1. Put chicken breasts and your desired seasonings in your crockpot, and cover them with chicken broth.

2. Let it cook for 3.5-4 hours, depending on the thickness.

3. Remove from the crock pot and shred.

That’s it. I promise.

For those of you that need recipes to feel whole, here you go!


Easy Shredded Chicken. 

  • As many chicken breasts as will fit in your crock pot
  • Chicken Broth to cover
  • Seasonings to taste

Place chicken in the bottom of your crockpot. Sprinkle liberally with the seasonings of your choice, and cover with chicken broth.  Cover and let cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Once ready, remove the chicken and shred with either two forks or pulse in a mixer. Place in a covered container to store for future use.

20150413_151003

Influenster Campus VoxBox: JERGENS® Natural Glow® Instant Sun™ Sunless Tanning Mousse Review!

Anyone that personally knows me knows that I despise spending money on myself, especially if I do not know if I will like the product!

That’s where the lovely, amazing Influenster comes into play!

Just by signing up and filling out a few quick surveys about my life, I got this AMAZING Campus Voxbox of FULL SIZED products.

Influenster Campus VoxBox!

I never like sample sizes, because by the time I am just about sure I like or don’t like a product it has already run out. This though gave me a ton of full sized products.

So far I have used the JERGENS® Natural Glow® Instant Sun™ Sunless Tanning Mousse and liked it more than I thought I would. I was never a fan of tanning mousse because it never seemed to soak in and dry, which left me with splotchy skin. I am a huge fun of JERGENS® tanning lotions though, so I figured it was worth a shot. Besides, it was free!

It was so nice to actually see where I had already put the product, which is a problem I have with the lotion. With the lotion you have to wait a day to see if you missed! The mousse was easy to rub in, and really did dry in 60 seconds like it claims. I had no problems leaving tanning spots everywhere I went.

One tip though: WEAR GLOVES. Because I was used to the lotion I completely forgot, and my hands were left super, super dark. Thankfully I had the St. Ives® Blemish Control Apricot Scrub to help me remove it!

I wish I had done a before and after photo, because it really did leave me darker than before. No sign of orange either! It didn’t leave my skin sticky or smelly, which is a common tanning problem too. Yuck.

Overall, 9/10! I just wish it came off of my hands better. I guess people will know my tan is fake until my hands fade. I’ll post a re-review in a few days and let you know how well he color has stayed, as well.

24 hour update: The color stayed fairly well! I completely ran out of time and couldn’t shower the excess before working out, but my spinmates said they could barely notice the smell! Only a bit washed off, and the color still looks great. It isn’t orange at all. My palms also are back to normal as well!

Check in tomorrow for another review of these amazing products!

If you want a shot at receiving one of these fantastic boxes in the future, visit Influenster.com.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Two years.

I am really satisfied with my life and the direction it is going.

If you had told me two years ago that this would be how my life was, I wouldn’t have believed you. Two years ago exactly was a low point in my life. Nothing was going right, and I couldn’t figure out how to change my life enough to make it better.

I am so proud of myself for how far I have come. I am moving to Germany, am balancing a bank accounts, almost have my associates degree, and am married. Woah.

I can’t even begin to imagine what my life will be like in two years. Only time will tell.