The Inception of USMC Life
A few years ago, my Marine asked me what I thought about which Marine Corps Base I would prefer over another… I didn’t know anything about either duty station and ended up spending hours googling, only to get exhausted in the search with nothing concrete in hand. I knew right then and there that things needed to change and I was going to do something about it. I was tired of not knowing what kind of schools my kids were going to go to, what base housing was like, what activities there were to do, or understand the overall impact it would have on my family. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to create a community of spouses to get the ins and outs to families out there, hopefully saving on many bad haircuts, ‘I wished I would have known’ and missed opportunities.
I created USMC Life in July 2009, taking opinions from other military spouses who have lived on those bases. I tried creating a site filled with insider tips, school report cards and information about every major Marine Corps Base including base guides, base housing and photos, schools, youth programs and sports, getting to and from each installation and links helpful to Marines and their families. After I created the base guide, I decided to go another step further and create a referral guide for military spouses that not only Marine Corps families can utilize, but all of our nation’s services
We are not advocating that what you read on this site is fact, but merely opinions of other military spouses. It’s just an opinion ~ feel free to take it or leave it. Enjoy the journey!
About Kristine Schellhaas, Founder of USMC Life
Kristine, the founder of USMC Life, has spent 18 years together with her Marine. She and her current active duty Marine have had three children, several duty stations, and a wealth of life experiences to rely upon. She has endured four wartime deployments, been involved in many volunteer programs, clubs, and more. She understands what it is like moving a brand new baby across the country with a potty-training toddler in tow, and knows the wonderful reunion of her Marine meeting their nine week baby for the first time after returning home from deployment.
Kristine has both a BBA in Business Management and a BBA in HR Management from Boise State University as well as an MA in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. In her spare time she likes to read books and drink copious amounts of red wine with friends.
“Kristine Schellhaas founded USMC Life in 2009 as a way to help inspire, connect and educate Marine Corps families. As a public speaker, she created the “Live, Laugh, Learn” military seminars and speaks regularly about her experiences as a Marine spouse for Operation Homefront, changes of perspective for families in military culture, and recovery from loss. Kristine has been recognized as a finalist for Marine Corps Spouse of the Year and has received two military base Spouse of the Year awards. She recently served on Military Officer Association of America’s (MOAA) Spouse Advisory Panel, where she is a champion for our children who have been drafted into the military lifestyle and has dedicated more than 10,000 volunteer hours serving military families.”
- Speaker at Military.com 2014 Spouse Summit
- Panel Moderator at MOAA’s 2014 Spouse Symposium
- Voted as the 2014 Quantico Marine Corps Spouse of the Year
- Selected as a 2014 Military Influencer by USAA
- Top Three Finalist for 2013 Marine Corps Spouse of the Year
- Voted as 2013 Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Spouse of the Year
- Official Marine Corps Blog – Marines.dodlive.mil
- Keynote Speaker for Operation Homefront “Homefront Heroes” Events
- Creator of the Live, Laugh, Learn Events
- Co-Host of Semper Feisty Radio
- Selected as a 2013 INC 500-5000 Conference as a Military Entrepreneur Mentor Delegate
- Author at Blue Star Families, Military1, Military.com Spouse Buzz
- Triwest’s Healthy Homefront Hero
- Panelist at the 2012 Navy and Marine Corps Combat & Operational Stress Control Conference
- Panelist on Navy Wife / Military Life Radio
- Selected as a 2012 INC 500-5000 Conference as a Military Entrepreneur Special Delegate
- 2012 Milblog Conference
Places where I’ve been interviewed, written about, or featured:
- Marine Corps Times
- Homefront United
- Stars and Stripes
- Military One Click
- Army Wife Network Radio, interview at 33:35
- Marine Corps’s Camp Pendleton Scout
- Focus on Boise State Magazine
- Star 94.1 San Diego with Haze
- 93.3 San Diego wtih Frankie and Geena
- Mike Slater Show, San Diego Radio Station
- Idaho Statesman
- Fox 5 San Diego
- CBS 8 San Diego
USMC Life Team
Ashley Strehl, National Advertising Executive: Born and raised in Michigan, she attended Central Michigan University where she met her Marine. They both graduated from CMU and were married a year later. They have been married for four years but she has been a part of the military lifestyle for five. In that short time she has experienced duty stations on each coast, California being her favorite! She loves to run, drink red wine, bake desserts and anything fashion. Her biggest love is spending everyday with her little fashionista in training. Ashley and her family are currently stationed in Texas.
Jackie Heatherman, Semper Feisty Radio Co-Host: I have lived in California for most of my life. I grew up in a relatively normal family. I kind of played around after high school and went to community college for few years. I was waitressing and going to school when I met my husband, Brian. He is 12 years older than me and had great hair. A year after we met I became pregnant with our daughter Brooke, who is now almost 7 years old! We lived at Camp Pendleton while he deployed. Two years ago we moved to Virginia. I started working as a Realtor and got burnt out, and then Kristine and I started Simper Feisty Radio in October of 2012. That lead to my current job at Volt and the rest is history. Oh, I had another kid and his name is Jake. He’s 4 and really, really, cute.
Marine Corps Base Representatives
Camp Lejeune: Kristina Whitfield is a Air Force brat that married into the Marine Corp family 3 years ago and is a Texan at heart. Constant relocating is more of a hobby then a sacrifice and is pcs’ing from Okinawa to America soon. She loves to workout, craft, go to the beach, read and explore places with her little travel companion. After becoming a stay at home mom, she starting to research ways her family can save money without sacrificing the quality of life. Money saving research has become another hobby and she loves to tell about her finds. You can see more of her money saving tips, housewife life, and mommy tales at Phenomenal Housewives.
Camp Pendleton: Kim Costello grew up near Kansas City, Missouri where she knew she would never settle because of her appreciation towards movement & change. For this reason, she has become a real dynamo when it comes to involvement within the military community. Wife of a 12 year Marine Corps veteran and mother of three, she keeps herself actively involved serving as a Family Readiness Assistant with Combat Logistics Battalion – 5, where she often contributes ideas to help improve morale among military spouses. When she is not toting kids to and from activities, she is thriving as USMC Life’s Advertising and Base Representative for Camp Pendleton. Amid her community outreach endeavors, Kim is also a full-time student expecting to graduate with her B.S. in Human Resources and Management. As if those pursuits are not enough, she is also an active member of Stroller Warriors™ Camp Pendleton, a running group designed for military spouses. In the midst of all of her undertakings, she continues to passionately seek opportunities that allow her personal growth.
Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii: Charlotte Berry grew up in Stuart, Virginia, and graduated from Virginia Tech with a BA in English and a BA in Spanish. While attending Virginia Tech she met her Marine, and has been married for 12 years and they have 2 beautiful children. The Marine Corps Life has been a perfect fit for Charlotte, because this small town girl always had a dream for bigger adventures. Five deployments, five duty stations, wonderful experiences, friends, and memories have definitely surpassed any hopes she had for ‘high adventure’! Charlotte’s love is to serve her community, and she has done so in many capacities during her life. She has served in such ways as a Key Volunteer, Family Readiness Assistant, American Heritage Girls Troop Leader, school volunteer, and substitute teacher. As a USMC Life Team Member, Charlotte is excited to continue empowering those around her, but most important to learn from all the wonderful people she has been and will be privileged to meet.
Miramar & San Diego: Mandy Deines was born and raised in Denver, CO. She met her Marine at 16 and they have been together ever since! They have spent most of their time in the Marine Corps stationed in San Diego County and were lucky enough to be stationed in Germany for almost 5 years. Mandy currently works full-time and has been in the commercial real estate industry for over 7 years. She has a B.S. in Marketing from Liberty University and is working on a Graduate Certificate in Strategic Online Marketing from the University of San Diego. She is most passionate about travel and experiencing new cultures with her Marine. She also enjoys volunteering in the local community at The Brother Benno Center in Oceanside, CA, and La Posada de Guadalupe, a men’s homeless shelter in Carlsbad, CA. In her spare time, Mandy enjoys reading, Zumba, shopping, and brewing beer with her husband. She is very excited to be part of the USMC Life team.
Washington D.C & Quantico: Holly Vega hails from Rock Hill, South Carolina and has had the pleasure of working in the dental field for eight years. As a military spouse, she has held multiple positions within the various clubs including Officer Wives Club, Officers’ Spouses’ Club, Women of the Chapel, International Wives Club, Key Volunteer Network, and as a Lifestyle Insights Networking Knowledge Skills (LINKS) in the Family Readiness Program. She has been married to her Marine for 16 years and is the mother of three as well as her handsome English Bulldog, Rocky. Her family has been stationed at five different duty stations including Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, MCAS Cherry Point, MCAS New River, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, and Marine Corps Base Quantico