Like a Scene from a Scary Horror Movie: Hacker Attacks, Security Breaches, Viruses and Malware… HELP!

The most recent report on JP Morgan Chase’s cyber attack, which occurred earlier this summer, has affected over 76 million households in one form or another.
Hundreds of thousands of photos taken from a 3rd party Snapchat app have been leaked and spread all over the internet.

security|f-Secure|password manager|hackers|security breach|Home Depot|Target|retail|credit card|identity theft|fraudThese cyber attacks seem to be an ongoing, never ending battle and one has to wonder what can be done if anything to protect ourselves.  It would seem we are left with either paying cash for everything and putting our savings under the mattress, or living as a hermit in the mountains. Continue reading

It’s a Good Day to Win an iPad Mini Don’t You Agree? How About 12 Months of F-Secure Key too?! #Giveaway #ad

 

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It’s a Good Day to Win an iPad Mini Don’t You Agree? How About 12 Months of F-Secure Key too?! 

Last week we discussed all the different ways to secure and create a strong password.  We also talked about how you can manage your passwords so you don’t have to remember them all.

One way to do that is by using F-Secure Key.  Available as an app on both Android and Apple as well as your PC or Mac!  You can sync it across multiple devices, which is great for us gadget types right?

Continue reading

You Can Keep Changing All Your Passwords OR You Could Just Do This…

Target, Albertsons, and Home Depot are just a few on the list of major retailers affected by security breach hacks this year.  We’ve all heard about celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, having their private photos dispersed around the globe due to hackers breaking into secure icloud photo storage.

How do we protect ourselves and what can we do to secure our own information?

Emails hacked here, passwords distributed there.  Experts say change your passwords!  But guess what?  Those so called experts don’t even follow their own advice!

I’ve done my fair share of research and discovered that the best defense is a good offense when it comes to your own personal security.

Stop worrying about changing ALL your passwords (you really only need to change the one that is affected by the breach) and instead create a SECURE password to begin with!

You Can Keep Changing All Your Passwords OR You Could Just Do This....#security|#fSecure|#passwordmanager|#hackers|#securitybreach|#HomeDepot|#Target|#retail|#creditcard|#identitytheft|#fraud|#ecommorce|#shopping|#onlineshopping

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Top 10 Reasons Your Home Office Lacks Productivity|#WhatMatters

I have spent the last month focusing more on how I can be more productive in my personal and business life.  I’ve come to the conclusion that these improvements will likely not be an overnight change but instead a process of learning from my mistakes.productivity|software|organization|wahm|home office|goboxi|whatmatters|small business|entrepeneur|mompreneur|success|emails|inbox|filter|tips|advice

 

There comes a time when we need to step back and ask, “What we can do to improve upon ourselves?” I have found that if you are lacking in one area it usually flows over into all other aspects of your life. Like a slow leak that becomes the flat tire leaving you stranded.

I don’t think there is a failsafe rule to becoming and staying productive.  But I do believe that we can become what we set our minds and hearts too.  The trick is to remember that it will take time and perseverance.

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10 Steps to Productivity Working from Home|#WhatMatters

productivity|software|organization|wahm|home office|goboxi|whatmatters|small business|entrepeneur|mompreneur|success|emails|inbox|filter|tips|adviceSometimes in our quest to be productive, we find ourselves spinning our wheels.  These past few weeks have been a whirlwind for me and I know that for most of you, working from home has it’s pros and cons.

The upside to these conversations on productivity, I have found, is that it has forced me to take a long hard look at how I’m running my life on a personal and business level.

I think one of the hardest things about working from home and running your own business is maintaining a sense of professionalism, when in reality your personal life is upside down and topsy-turvy.
In an effort to continue the conversation from last week, I’ve condensed ten tips from ten talented bloggers who offered their best advice on how they personally stay productive while working in their homes.

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How Do YOU Stay Productive Working From Home? 10 WAHMs Offer Their Advice|#WhatMatters

Last week we discussed my quest for productivity and I challenged you to come back with some tips to share with our readers on how to be more productive working from home.  I asked around in my blogging circles, to share how they stay productive working from home.  These ladies came through with flying colors for me!  In fact I had to turn some away as I had too many for one post!

These 10 women are amazing bloggers who work from home and have offered some great advice for us all!  They are all moms who know of the struggles we go through all too well!

productivity|software|organization|wahm|home office|goboxi|whatmatters|small business|entrepeneur|mompreneur|success|emails|inbox|filter|tips|adviceJessi Sanfilippo of Shuggilippo

I structure the different activities I need to accomplish in order of priority (deliverable deadlines, phone calls, responding to emails and sending emails (always do those two in separate blocks of time), meals, free breaks, power cleaning, etc.) and have an extensive alarm system set up on my iPhone depending on each day’s in-office/out-of-office activities.

Some things I know will take 15 minutes, others an hour or 3. Continue reading

My Quest for Productivity: Part 1 #WhatMatters

By now, many of you have figured out that my primary focus is promoting work at home mom businesses and helping them find the tools and resources they need to succeed.

Often times I look into my own personal experiences as a work at home mom, to determine how I can best help those in similar situations.

Lately one of the things I seem to be struggling with is staying productive.  It seems like I’m always working on something work related every single day, yet when I look back on my day, week or month, I have a hard time determining just what I’ve accomplished.

productivity|software|organization|wahm|home office|goboxi|whatmatters|small business|entrepeneur|mompreneur|success|emails|inbox|filter|tips|advice

Like a hamster in a wheel, I’m working hard but I don’t always feel like I’m getting somewhere.

In the meantime because I’m constantly working that means I have less time for my kids than I would like.  I would really like to save time for the things that matter; my kids.

So my next thought process leads me to; how can I correct this endless cycle? (pun not intended)

A few weeks back I wrote about home office organization.  This has been one of my own setbacks I admit.  My office has been the dumping point for every piece of paper, science and craft project my kids bring home from school.  Continue reading

Why Great Blog Design Doesn’t Belong Exclusively to Experts

Blog Design for Dummies by Melissa Culbertson of BlogClarity.com review via @Whynotmomdotcom

Whether your blogging journey has just begun or you’re a veteran in the blogoshphere, I have no doubt you will find a wealth of resources and useful advice in Melissa Culbertsons “Blog Design for Dummies”.

 

From selecting your fonts and colors, to choosing your blog layout and working with images, you will find a plethora of core design principles that will impress not only you, but your readers as well!

 

When I found out Melissa Culbertson of BlogClarity.com (formely MomComm) wrote a book on blog design, I was so eager to read it I messaged her personally and asked her if I could do a book review for her.  I was so excited when she said yes!

Most of you probably don’t know this about me, but I majored in web development.  In my study of web development however, I discovered web and graphic design is my true passion.

Having the opportunity to read “Blog Design for Dummies” from my IT perspective gave me a new insight into what Bloggers and business owners alike need to understand when it comes to the design of their blogs or websites.

 

One of the things that I really enjoyed about this book is that I didn’t feel as though I was reading a ‘dumbed down’ version of an IT textbook, in fact it didn’t feel like I was reading a textbook at all.  More like, an informative article breaking down the basics in easy to understand formatting; whether you’re a novice or a veteran blogger this book will speak to you!  If you’re familiar with the Wiley Brand “For Dummies” series, you know the quality of books they publish too.  In the words of Melissa:

 

“This book isn’t meant to make you a full-fledged blog design expert, but you don’t have to be a design expert to whip up a nice-looking blog. Sure, you might want to know how to do this and that.  The more you learn, though, the more you can add to your blog design over time, whether you’re enhancing the design or the functionality.”

 

Seriously, I can’t begin to tell you how well written this book is.  It’s such a refreshing change of pace from the drab IT books I was required to read in college.  Let me just say IT authors ‘think’ they have a great sense of humor.  Trust me, they don’t!

Melissa’s writing was not only helpful but she writes in such a way that it actually kept me interested and intrigued in the content. Something you won’t find very often in most IT textbooks.

You will walk away with a lot of useful knowledge from her book I assure you.  Here are just a few insights that I picked up along the way:

 

5 Rules of Blog Design

 

Consider this book an investment in your business and read it!  It’s not one of those books you have to read from cover to cover either.  Just go through the highlights of what you feel you need to understand the most.  If you are rusty in some areas, it’s a great way to refresh your knowledge too!

 

Please come back and tell me what you thought of it and what changes you implemented in your own blog because of it.

For me I learned that less really is more and that just because I find a shiny new widget or plugin, doesn’t mean it’s going to work great or make my blog better.  I will be putting a lot more work into learning SEO and keywords as well and making sure my website is responsive and mobile ready.  Most importantly, I want my blog to feel inviting and easy to navigate, so that my readers will want to return soon.

 

Tell me what you think about this book and what part of your blog do you feel you need help with the most?

 

I feel so strongly that you’ll LOVE this book that I am giving away (at MY cost) your choice of either a hardcopy or ebook version for one VERY lucky winner!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
  *Disclaimer: I was given this book to review and write my honest opinion about.  I was not compensated in any other way.  All opinions are my own.


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Toys That Will Make Both You AND Your Child Happy! #TheHappys

**Disclaimer: I received free products in a party kit from MomSelect in order to host the Cepia LLC sponsored MommyParty. However all opinions are entirely my own.

Toys that will make both you AND your child happy!  #TheHAPPYS #Whynotmom #children http://whynotmom.com/thehappys #wahm Let’s face it; some of the best children’s toys you’ll find in a toy store today aren’t always your favorite toy as a parent. Have you ever made a toy ‘disappear’ because it was so annoying you couldn’t stand it? Perhaps you’ve given a toy that you thought would be great for your child but they found boring?

Sometimes it can be tricky to find toys for your children that you can both be happy with.

I think these toys are the answer!

Introducing “The Happy’s”!

If you’ve ever consider adopting a pet or getting a pet from a rescue shelter but opted out due to allergies or landlord restrictions, than this may be a solution for your family as well!

This week the Whynotmom.com Gang had a play date with The Happy’s™. We had 6 children there ranging in ages from 2-9 as well as four adults.

We played a few outside games while the weather was nice and then we all sat down and enjoyed some freshly baked Take ‘n Bake pizza from Papa Murphy’s Pizza®. Their new fresh pan pizza was a real treat for those of us who like a thick crusted pizza. I love that you can watch them as they make the pizza. My favorite side dish is their S’more Pizza. It’s like eating a slice of heaven! I’m lucky because my nearest location has a drive-thru so if I order ahead I don’t even have to get out of the car! What a convenient option for any parent!Toys that will make both you AND your child happy!  #TheHAPPYS #Whynotmom #children http://whynotmom.com/thehappys #wahm

After dinner we played games with The Happy’s™ and the kids quickly learned how to make their ‘pets’ do tricks like spinning, chasing the ball, begging, pouncing and following them around. For my son with special needs it was a rare treat to see him interact so well with other kids. They had a TON of fun with these toys! The more of them that get together, the more fun these toys are! Each pet comes with a remote that does a specific ‘trick’ as mentioned above. The Chase&Play Ball™, car and skateboard are sold separately. The Happy’s™ can follow you, spin, dance, chase a ball, sit up, chase their tail, ride a skateboard & even drive a car!

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a fan of toys that make a lot of noise. The Happy’s™ are rather quiet as far as motorized toys go. In fact compared to an actual pet they are not only quieter but cleaner too! (and no chewed up slippers either!)Toys that will make both you AND your child happy!  #TheHAPPYS #Whynotmom #children http://whynotmom.com/thehappys #wahm

As the play date winded down we shared some bags of the new Werther’s Original Caramel Popcorn®. I consider myself something of a popcorn connoisseur and I LOVE caramel flavored treats. I can honestly say this is the BEST packaged caramel popcorn I’ve ever had!Toys that will make both you AND your child happy!  #TheHAPPYS #Whynotmom #children http://whynotmom.com/thehappys #wahm

I hope you enjoyed the photos and video of our first Whynotmom.com Play Date. Which of these ‘pets’ are your favorite? I think I’m going to buy the car for my 5 yr old’s dog “Sport” and maybe the skateboard and….

[pullquote]**Disclaimer: I received free products in a party kit from MomSelect in order to host the Cepia LLC sponsored MommyParty. However all opinions are entirely my own.[/pullquote]

Face Your Home Office Organizational Fears! Expert Advice for WAHMs by Christina Scalise

Proverbs of Organization_lg
As I write this I realize the irony of it all. I am even embarrassed because the clutter in my home office is ridiculous. Between finishing taxes, and working from home while raising three littles, I haven’t spent nearly enough time getting my office in order.
In fact it’s what I call my “shame room”. Come on, admit it, you know you have one too. That one room in the house that you don’t bother to clean because company doesn’t see it anyways right? Just recently, the thought occurred to me that if I worked outside the home, I would never let my office space get this cluttered. If I’m going to be a business owner I need to treat my business “space” in my home office as just that.
That’s why I’m bringing in an expert for you all. I am by no means the example of organization and I will be following this post along with the rest of you! I have asked Christina Scalise to share her wealth of information on getting our home office and lives organized. So please welcome her and her much appreciated advice below.

 Face Your Home Office Organizational Fears! Expert Advice for WAHMs by Christina Scalise @authorcscalise

My name is Christina Scalise. I am an Author, Professional Organizer, Certified Reiki Master, wife and mother of three. My kids, even though they are now getting older, still keep me quite busy. As a work-at-home mom I know the challenges of trying to balance a business and a job with family life. It can be both trying and rewarding all at the same time. I currently live in upstate New York with my family and when I’m not writing or helping someone get organized, you can usually find me spending time with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors, playing in the garden, providing Reiki treatments for those in need or simply organizing anything I can get my hands on.

I have been organizing things my entire life; and after helping a few friends de-clutter and organize their homes, they encouraged me to share my knowledge with others.  So, that’s when I decided to write my very first book on organizing tips……Organize Your Finances, Your Kids, Your Life! – published in 1997. As the years went on, my passion for organizing continued to grow. In 2004, I started working as a professional organizer and in 2010, I created my website….. OrganizeYourLifeAndMore  where I provide a free newsletter, Organizing Tips, Daily Do Its, Articles, Inspirational Quotes, Product Recommendations and much more. And, then in December 2012 I published my second book….. Organize Your Life and More. Helping people get organized is my passion and will always be an integral part of my life.

How to Organize Your Home Office for Maximum Efficiency 

Working from home can seem like a monumental task but it doesn’t have to be. Start organizing today and you will notice just how productive and efficient you will become. Getting organized not only improves efficiency, it also helps reduce stress and clutter and save time and money. Organization truly is the key to success! To keep your home office organized for maximum efficiency, try these tips…..

 

        1. Go through everything in your office (including inside, and on top of, your desk).  Toss any unwanted or unnecessary items. The less clutter you have, the less distracted you will become when trying to work on important tasks.

Face Your Home Office Organizational Fears! Expert Advice for WAHMs by Christina Scalise whynotmom.com/organize2. Store all items used daily within reach, those used less often nearby and those rarely used items – and extra supplies you’ve stocked up on – inside storage cabinets.

3. Use desk and drawer organizers and/or small baskets and containers to organize small office supplies such as paperclips, rubber bands, pens and pencils – both inside and on top of your desk.

4. Make sure all office supplies are in stock (ink, paper, pens, staples, paperclips, etc.) and ready to use each day. Sharpen pencils, toss dried up pens, markers and highlighters; refill the paper in the copy machine and make sure your label maker has plenty of labels.

5. Neaten up all cords underneath and around your desk.  Label those that need it with permanent marker or tags.

6. To reduce the amount of papers stored in your office and on your desk, scan and save what you can into your computer.  Create computer documents and digital file folders and then save each document into its corresponding folder. And, don’t forget to back up your computer files often.

7. Deal with all paperwork and incoming mail as soon as it comes in; file it, make any necessary phone calls or simply toss it immediately. And, for those items that just can’t be dealt with right away; use a paper tray or desktop filing system and separate them into categories…..To Do, To Be Filed, For Review, Reference, Inbox, Outbox and Pending.

8. Don’t rely on your memory; write it down. Add all tasks to your calendar including those you only do once a year and/or use a Microsoft Excel sheet saved on your computer and categorize your To Dos and Reminders into the following categories…..Do ASAP, Do Soon, Do Later, Don’t Forget, etc. To reduce the amount of paper post-it notes used…..try using digital post it notes on your computer or a dry erase board.

9. Make important information stand out and be noticed…..for file folders and post-it notes; use different shapes, colors and sizes. For important information contained in computer documents and emails…..change font styles, sizes, boldness and colors or simply highlight those words you want noticed.

10. Use a label maker to create labels. Clearly printed labels are not only easier to read, they are also quicker to find and look much neater than handwritten ones.

Face Your Home Office Organizational Fears! Expert Advice for WAHMs by Christina Scalise @ChristinaScalise whynotmom.com/organize

11. Store all papers you plan on shredding into a small file folder within reach of your desk. Place newer papers towards the back and push older ones to the front each time. When the file starts to get full, grab a handful from the front of the file and start shredding. This gives you time to change your mind and prevent accidental shredding of important papers.

12. Purge all unwanted emails, computer documents and paper files often. Spending a few minutes doing this at the beginning, and end, of each day can save lots of time.

13. Learn how to use computer programs that will help you become more efficient such as accounting programs and Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.) and keep a list of computer keyboard shortcuts close by.

14. Store important business information such as passwords and business contact information (name, address, phone and fax numbers; and any pertinent information about the person and/or business you may need to remember) onto your computer and update those lists often – Microsoft Excel works great for this. And, once again, be sure to back up your files often and print out a paper copy as well for your reference, if needed.

15. Schedule in time for checking emails (2-3 times a day is usually best) and then avoid getting sidetracked by checking it more often than necessary.  When you do check your email, take care of each one right away…..delete, file, unsubscribe, flag or respond.

16. For remembering how to use office equipment, computer programs or accomplishing certain tasks…..keep a set of written instruction sheets in a file folder close by or posted next to the corresponding office equipment involved. And for frequent updating of instruction sheets, save them into a computer file.

17. Give yourself a break. Get up, move and stretch every so often. This will give both your body and brain a chance to rest and restart; renewing your level of concentration.

18. Don’t over commit to too many things. Keep your schedule under control by learning how to say “No thank you” a little more often.

19. Keep the lines of communication open with family and coworkers by taking time each week to discuss any problems or concerns. If there are any, work together to find the best solution for everyone involved.

20. Take 5-10 minutes at the end of each day to put a few things away. If you find an item that does not have a designated storage place; create one and then keep it there when it’s not in use.  Remember these organizing proverbs…..

“A place for everything and everything in its place.”
“Don’t put it down, put it away.”
“File it, don’t pile it.”

[pullquote]*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links[/pullquote]