After serving 11+ years in the U.S. Navy, my husband and I made the unconventional decision that I would leave the Navy and we would relocate to Alaska, somewhere neither of us had ever set foot, but a place to which we have always been drawn. Certainly not the first outrageous decision we’ve ever made, and I can guarantee it won’t be the last!

As I begin my transition and after years of battling serious skin rashes, I have recently been diagnosed with an allergy to Balsam of Peru. What sounds like nothing anyone has ever heard of has turned out to be the biggest pain in the hind-quarters you could imagine! Over the counter skin care products are almost all off-limits, as well as many foods. But I have learned to use and make my own homemade products, which tend to provide better results at a fraction of the price! I am only in the early stages of my experimentation, but holy cow it is fun! And while I am not at all on the ‘green’ train, I see the benefits of using DIY products and getting away from many of the chemicals that have become so prevalent in our lives.

In the Navy, I serve as a Chief Petty Officer. The symbol of the Chief is the anchor because we are the ones who ‘ground’ those around us. (Not run aground, mind you….that is bad juju in the Navy…..) But the Chief is the Anchor that drives the Navy and sets the tone. One of our catchphrases is ‘Brilliant on the Basics’. The idea is that we need to focus on the everyday items, which are often taken for granted or overlooked. The Basics are your foundation. If they fall apart, everything else will crumble also.

As I get ready to settle into civilian life and NOT have to constantly be planning to move every 2-3 years, I intend to focus on becoming Brilliant on the Basics for myself, my husband, and our three beautiful girls. Whether it is by making my own household products or learning how to get back to the great outdoors (satellite internet is not so conducive to kids electronic media! Yay!), join me as I share my experiences, great tips, and likely frustrations as we begin our great Alaskan adventure!

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