Category:

Blogging

why I write, blog, blogger, the TRUTH about Motherhood

This is not the post that I meant to write today. I meant to write about my family road trip to Boston. And I want to be that person who just let’s things roll of her back. I really do but it’s Monday and I’m not accustomed to being called out and belittled for having an opinion. I’m all about respectful, intelligent debate but name calling is for children not intelligent adults.

See, way back in 2009, I started my blog. I called it The TRUTH about Motherhood because I was right in the thick of Motherhood and it seemed to fit my voice and where I was in life. I just wanted to write.

A friend of mine who worked in traditional media said that the wave of writing was moving to online and to get work, I needed an “online presence”. Hell, I had been neck deep in babies for the past four years, I had no idea what that even was and God knows I didn’t have the time to write about being a mom because I was too damn busy actually being a mom.

The first year was a joke. Seriously, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a few goals 1) develop my “online presence” whatever that was 2) when the kids napped or slept, write, write and write some more because I love to do it. It is how I process. I basically just copied essays that I had jotted down in a notebook for the girls about their childhood 3) to capture all the cute, funny, quirky moments of motherhood and document even the not so pleasant ones so I could appreciate the good ones and if I could help just one mom feel like she wasn’t alone, I’d be happy.

What happened that year was relocation across country that I never documented other than the original drive to Richmond to check out the city. I was too busy living to write about it. Then, things went to shit and my husband was downsized and we had to move home (blessing in disguise our home still hadn’t sold) in a blizzard.

We were quickly running through our money and afraid of what our future would hold with a toddler and a preschooler. The Big Guy (because my husband is 6’5” in case you didn’t know where the reference came from) took a job in another state because it was the only one he could find doing what he does and he made the sacrifice to work to support us and we all made the sacrifice to be apart 5 days a week. It was the worst 2 years of our lives. In those 2 years is when I really started to write.

You remember when you were in your teens and you were “in love” and there were so many ups and downs and drama and all you wanted to do was write poetry? Yeah, that’s called being inspired by your misery. I was going through a hard time and I had lots to write about. That’s where I found my people, moms who blog. I never understood what a “tribe” was until I found one as an adult. It’s more than a clique, it’s a group of people who support one another through good and bad.

I know bloggers are just regular people. I’m not delusional and don’t think they are actual celebrities but they care enough to get up and interact with the world by sharing their experiences. This meant a lot to me because at the time, I was hours away from any family and alone with kids. I needed someone to talk to, especially since my husband wasn’t there.

When you interact with people on such a personal level, I’m not talking just sharing recipes and diaper war stories, I mean the real stuff like marital issues, fertility issues, raising your child and feeling like a failure issues, feeling ugly and vulnerable and raw, the bonds are real and you see what’s on the inside (well, at least what they allow you to see). I have a tendency to have no filter so what you see is pretty much what you get.

I know that sometimes I am dorky, funny, boring, annoying and sometimes my stories are deep or interesting or shocking, sometimes they are well written and sometimes I am half-asleep or writing through the hardest moments of my life and it’s hard to type through tear filled eyes and ugly cries. Sometimes they are completely irrelevant to you and that’s okay because they are written for my children and me. You see it’s been a long time since I started blogging to become a writer. That has come to fruition. People actually pay me to write. I love my job. I am happy.

My blog is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and neither am I. My hair is never perfectly coifed and my clothes are occasionally stylish but I am a tired mom who spends the bulk of my time trying to raise happy, interesting children, while maintaining an open and honest relationship with my husband and sometimes, I write on the Internet.

My blog is real and it is flawed, like me. I cuss on my site and sometimes I add too many commas. I am educated and not a hot “mommy mess” who loses her “mommy cool” at the drop of a hat. I do however have my issues, so I can see where the jump to full on emotional train wreck could be an easy one.

I don’t blow smoke up people’s asses nor do I befriend people solely for their social media stats because none of that matters to me. What matters to me is what kind of people they are on the inside and how they treat me. It’s not about who is the coolest or hottest blogger, not for me anyways. I’m not trying to sleep with them. I want someone who can relate to me.

As bloggers, we have a little bit of real estate in the world to ignite change. Change can come in all shapes and sizes, a charity campaign to raise funds for clean water, to bring awareness to pediatric cancer, to help someone through a shared difficult situation like a miscarriage or a medical diagnosis that might be hard to face alone. Online communities hold our virtual hands through all of life’s events, if we reach out and want it.

My friends that I have met online are not virtual. They are real people. They have lives, families, jobs, interests and situations outside of the Internet but the Internet is our meeting place.

I wrote this in case you are new here or you forgot who I was. Make no mistake, I tell my truth on my blog and I welcome friendly, intelligent debate. I have a lot of opinions, I know they are not the only ones but I won’t debate you with name-calling and tantrum throwing. I just want to write my blog, share my story and tell my truth.

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Walgreens, healthy choices, Balance rewards
I am a member of the Collective Bias ® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.

Women’s Health has suddenly become top priority in my life. Recently, I’ve been focusing more on creating my own healthy habits. Maybe it’s my age or just the fact that the older my daughters get, the more time I have to actually focus on my own health and mortality; you know, now that I have a free moment to pee alone now and again.

Did you ever consider that what you do for a profession could affect your health? I mean, we know that if you are a stunt man or a cop, your life is generally at higher risk than the general population. Of course, I never considered that being a blogger/writer/ sitting at my desk all day could be detrimental to my health. We all laugh at “blogger butt” and joke about sitting around in our pajamas all day but did you ever really consider that blogging could be bad for your health? Me, neither.

vitamins, #Herhealth, #Walgreens, Women's Health, Health

Blogging has made me happy. I love what I do. I love freelancing. I love social media. I love letting my girls see me pursue my dreams and get to do something that I am passionate about.  It’s important to me to be a good example for my girls. In fact, as a mom of girls, being a good example is probably the most important thing to me that and just being around to see them grow from my babies into women.

So imagine my frustration when I went to the doctor and aside from gaining weight, which I can obviously see, my sugar and cholesterol levels were both elevated but normal. All that I heard was blahblahblah HIGH blahblahblah AT RISK blahblahblah.

vitamins, #Herhealth, #Walgreens, Women's Health, Health

My brain went directly to all the things I would miss if I were to suddenly die (yes, I am one of those people); first dates, driving, graduation, college, falling in love, growing up, getting married, getting pregnant, becoming a mom, repeat. Then I thought of all the smaller things like taking care of them when they are sick, holding them when they experience the first crushing blows of falling in and then out of love, the fear and excitement in the big moments, giving the gentle nudges forward when they need to be pushed in the right direction or even just being there to listen when they needed undivided attention and a mother’s unconditional love. I need to be an advocate for not only my health but for #herhealth, as well; both of them. In that moment, I knew exactly what I needed to do. My path had never been so clear. I made all of the doctors’ appointments and I made a plan. I need a plan. I can accomplish almost anything with a plan in hand.

Walgreens, vitamins, #Herhealth, #Walgreens, Women's Health, Health

My first stop was the corner Walgreens to buy myself a bottle of Vitafusion Women’s Daily Multivitamin, Gummies. These have been my favorite vitamins as an adult. They are small and easy to swallow because you chew them and they don’t have that bitter mineral after taste that many adult multivitamins have. I like them so much that I started buying Vitafusion multivitamins for the entire family.

vitamins, #Herhealth, #Walgreens, Women's Health, Health

Next, I started paying attention to what my FitBit was telling me. The first thing that I noticed is that without consciously making an effort to move, a blogger can exist on only taking 337 steps in a day; my goal is 10,000. No wonder why “blogger butt” is a thing. Now, I am getting between 6500 and 12,000 steps a day just by spending an hour every morning taking a walk or bike ride with my daughters. I can feel the difference. I can do better but at least I am off in the right direction.

I’ve eliminated pop from the menu and replaced it with iced water and switched out my daily coffee for unsweetened green tea. I love coffee but I was using so much creamer that it made each coffee have about 250 calories and the caffeine itself was contributing to my terrible insomnia. Now, coffee is a treat that I look forward to once a week (early on Saturday morning) and sleeping without the help of some kind of pill is a wonderful new bonus in my life.

vitamins, #Herhealth, #Walgreens, Women's Health, Health

I linked my FitBit to My Fitness Pal app and started logging everything I eat. You have no idea what you consume until you log it. You might think, “I don’t eat that much or that badly!” Believe me, you probably do. Some days, I found that I didn’t get enough calories and other days, I was going over by about 1000. My Fitness Pal also lets me stay aware of the sugar and cholesterol in everything I eat. In the past month, I have lost 12 pounds. I’ve also committed myself to seeing my doctor once a month to check in on my progress and keep me accountable. These are all baby steps to make sure that I am around for the big and little moments of my life to come.

What do you do to maintain or improve your Women’s health so that you are around for the big and little moments?

 

 

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Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview
Today’s guest on This Blogger’s Life, Ree Drummondis one of the kindest and sweetest bloggers that I know. Ree  aka The Pioneer Woman is everyone’s favorite foodie mom. She does it all. I’ve “known” Ree for a few years now but we only just met in person in 2013 and boy, was it a memorable experience.
In case you were wondering, yes, she is even nicer in person than you could imagine. But don’t be fooled by the gorgeous smile and the cute photos of dogs and cows, Ree’s not just another pretty face. She is a smart, powerful businesswoman who works her tail off to do it all. I don’t know how she does it.

Ree Drummond has been someone that I have respected in the blogging space for some time.

She has truly built an empire doing something she loves; documenting life with her children and husband while writing about and photographing the things she is passionate about. Isn’t that the dream? I know it’s mine; to do what I love and make a living while getting to spend time actually in the moment with my family. Go, Ree! Not to mention, while she is writing books, filming for her cooking show, raising children on a ranch, homeschooling and cooking all of that mouthwatering food she still makes the time for her friends…like filling out these interview questions from me right in the middle of taping a new season of The Pioneer Woman. I appreciate it, Ree. You are good people.
 
Anyways, I could go on all day saying nice things about Ree. The bottom line is that she is a sweet, generous, charismatic mama who puts her foot in some Dr. Pepper barbecue. I’m honored to call her my friend and it’s my privilege to have her on This Blogger’s Life today.

This Blogger’s Life…Ree Drummond

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview, the people behind the blogs

Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging on a whim one day when my husband took all four of our kids to work cattle with him. I had no plan, no sense that it would last longer than a week. I just sat down, set up a free blog, and posted a couple of photos and stories.
 
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?
Blog! Blog often. Blog daily if you can. It’s difficult to get comfortable with blogging if you write one or two blog posts a week. When I started blogging, I fell in love instantly and blogged daily for a few months—even on the weekends. It made me a better writer, and made blogging easier and easier.
 
What are the three words that describe you best?
 Happy, Messy, and Weird.
 
What is your favorite website?
Impossible for me to choose!
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?
My favorite thing to do when I have a little free time is just plop down on the couch and watch Real Housewives or old episodes or 24 or, as is the case right now, the NBA Playoffs. TV time in the evenings is what my husband and I do together. It sounds spectacularly boring, but it’s my favorite time of day. It’s when I recharge.
 What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself  from blogging?
I’ve learned that if I’m passionate about something, I’m much more creative, motivated, and efficient. I have loved blogging from the start, and since I blog about things I love—my family, the country, our dogs, the food I cook—I never get tired of it. That’s one of my biggest pieces of advice to anyone starting a new project of any kind: Make sure your passion shines through. It will show.
 How do you balance life and blogging?
It’s a continual balance. When I started blogging, my kids were all little. Now I have two teenagers, and one is about to be a senior in high school. When they were younger, I  was able to be more rigid and predictable with my blogging schedule. These days, I’ve loosened up a bit because life demands flexibility. While I still blog regularly, I’m not afraid to skip a couple of days here and there if the kids and I are busy. You have to have a little give.
 How has blogging changed you or your life?
Blogging has certainly opened doors for me. I wouldn’t have cookbooks or a TV show if I hadn’t started blogging. It’s all the blog’s fault! 🙂
 What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?
I think a successful blog is one that compels readers to return. One that becomes part of people’s daily reading schedules. That’s why I’ve always recommended that new bloggers commit to blogging regularly—daily, if possible. You won’t become a part of someone’s daily routine if you just blog a couple of times a week. When I first started blogging, I had lived in the country for ten years and must have had a lot to say, because I was prolific in my posting. Months later, after my readership had grown organically, people who visited my site started telling me that reading my site had become part of their day, like their morning cup of coffee. I realized that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t blogged as regularly as I had.
 If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?
Exercise more and learn to embroider.
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? 
For me, it’s always been easy to strike that balance. I do blog about the people I love, but I don’t share their personal stories because they aren’t mine to share. I stick to our interactions together, fun anecdotes, and things about them that I appreciate and love.
Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days? What do you love that has changed?
I love that the blogging community has grown and is so strong today, so I like where blogging is now. If I had to say something I miss from my early days of blogging, it would be that my waist was much smaller. 🙂
How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?
Again, I think if you remain passionate about your subject matter—in my case, family, home, food, etc.—you’ll never run out of things to share. And if your passion comes through, people will be drawn to read it. Also, I do try to change up my content so that it isn’t the same every day; I never want someone to come to my website and be bored!
 If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?
Al Pacino in 1972, Vivien Leigh in 1939, Russell Crowe, Meryl Streep, Mother Teresa, and my grandmother.
 What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I can put both my ankles behind my head.
What’s the one post that you are most proud of?

This sounds like an easy answer, but I would say whatever post I’ve written that day. Because my household is so busy and I’ve got different irons in the fire, if I am able to sit down and see a post through to the end, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. 

If you’d like to find out more about Ree Drummond ( The Pioneer Woman) you can check her out on her blog, twitter and my favorite Pinterest. If you want to learn about other great bloggers like Jill Smokler ( the Original Scary Mommy) , Jessica Gottlieb, Vera Sweeney and many more, please be sure to check out the rest of the interviews in the This Blogger’s Life series

Thank you, Ree Drummond, for being my guest today. Can’t wait to see you again in person, this time I promise not to body check you in the process. XOXO

 
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5 year blog anniversary, blogging, 5 years

Happy 5-years of blogging anniversary to me!

My blog is officially going off to kindergarten in the fall. Honestly, every year my blog turns another year older and I completely forget to celebrate on the anniversary. I never forget my kids’ birthdays and let’s face it; this blog is like my third child. It’s been a labor of love for sure and I have definitely poured my blood, sweat, tears and truth into this hear little website.

It probably has a lot to do with May being hell month in our house.  We are booked solid all month long. The four of us, the Big Guy, the girls and I, just muddle through the entire month in a blur and then on June 1st we all sit down, put our feet up and exhale a sigh of relief.

But not today, today I have flower beds to plant, pitches to send, conference calls to attend and a garage that has to be rearranged as we are finally emptying our storage unit from back in the days when the house was staged for selling.  It’s been 3 years.  Anyways, today, I am pausing to say thank you. Thank you for the past 5 years! Thank you for all of the love and support and perspective. You complete me. The Big Guy made me a wife, the girls made me a mother but you all made me a blogger. And all of you helped me to find my dream and go after it.

When I started this blog, I had no idea what to expect or what I was doing. Some of you may suspect that I still don’t and, truly, I am still learning something new every single day. That’s what I love about blogging.  Like motherhood the space is constantly changing, the rules are different and there are fads a many but I have just stuck to my original plan; to do it all with honesty and try my best to not screw things up too badly.

Today, The TRUTH about Motherhood turns 5. I can barely remember the time that I didn’t write this blog. It’s gotten me through the toughest moments of motherhood and I’ve made lifelong friends through this site.  You’ve been there to make me not feel alone in those quiet times of doubt, held my hand when I thought I couldn’t go on and even celebrated the little wins in my life and I hope I have done the same for you.

There are changes coming for The TRUTH, you’ve been warned.  I mean you know how 5-year-olds are? They like to shake things up.  This month we celebrate 5 years of blogging, 4 years of Throat Punching on Thursdays, 15 years of marriage, 9 years of motherhood and my youngest turns 7-years-old.  I’d complain about being so damn busy but I can’t because I am so damned blessed.

Stay tuned for changes. Speaking of changes, this Friday I will start a new weekly feature called This Blogger’s Life. I will be interviewing some of your and my favorite bloggers and even some new and up and coming bloggers. Wouldn’t you love to be the fly on the wall on the inside of a blogger’s brain? Well, now you can. Our first interview will go live this Friday with Jill Smokler of Scary Mommy. Hope you’ll check it out.

Thanks for the past 5 years, it truly has been life changing. If you want to stay connected, I am also lots of fun on Facebook ( I won’t lie, I like to share a lot of cool things I find on the Internet and see what you think about it), Twitter ( I like to have silly conversations in 140 characters), Instagram ( I posts lots of photos of cute bulldogs, cute kids, nature and the occasional photo of myself with no nose ), Pinterest ( where I pin all the pretty and cool things) and Google+ ( where I am still trying to figure it all out. Want to follow me so that I can get some lessons from you?)

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Internet security, internet casualty, online safety

I don’t want to become an Internet casualty. As a Lionlock ambassador, I take password and online security very seriously. Safety online is not just needed it is imperative in my line of work. As a blogger, I am in the business of sharing my life out loud on the Internet. Even as someone who has been doing this for years now and as an adult, I still have security slips. I sometimes forget that the Internet is forever and I get caught with my metaphorical pants down.

You know that saying, “A moment on the lips, and forever on the hips”? Well, the Internet is JUST.LIKE.THAT! We are so trusting of the Internet that we often forget that a moment on the Internet truly is FOREVER in the world. You can delete and undo all sorts of things but you are always just a screen grab away for being immortalized in Internet infamy. Those private sexts you sent to your ex? There is no such thing. You say Snap Chat? I say screen grab. That nasty comment you left and then deleted? Already sitting in someone’s inbox. That petty FB update about your soon to be ex? Yep, his lawyers already have a copy in their file. The cute naked photo of your toddler in the bathtub that you uploaded and promptly second-guessed and took down 5 minutes later? Some pedo is already getting his rocks off to it. There is no privacy online.

We’ve all put something on the Internet that we wish we hadn’t. It’s embarrassing and we get over it. It’s like going to a party, drinking too much and wanting to crawl under a rock and die the next day when you see the proof on Facebook. It might not ruin us, but it might. None the less, we’d prefer those moments stayed private because we are left feeling compromised and vulnerable. Unfortunately, there are no second chances on the Internet so you have to know going in that everything you put on the Internet is set in stone for eternity. No matter how badly it may differ from reality.  The Internet knows you from glimpses, social media shares and sound bites. There is no emotion, connotation, context or empathy. There is only what you say, what you share and what it sees. The Internet is a cold-hearted bitch and she doesn’t get innuendo or anecdotes. So what you put out there is who she thinks you are. So be safe and think before you go online.

While LionLock automatically audits any interaction that takes place with your passwords in the vault, it is still important to use common sense when sharing any important private information.

Here are a few online security tips to keep you from becoming just another Internet casualty.

1. Keep a Clean Machine

Keep all Internet connected devices free from infection and malware by keeping all critical software—security software, web browsers, apps and operating systems—up to date so that you can counter any new viruses lurking.

Have your security software set to monitor your computer continually, not just a weekly scan.

2. Protect Your Personal Information

Secure your accounts by making passwords long, strong and unique.

3. Own Your Online Presence

This is my favorite. I am very transparent; probably more so than I should be, but I know when I put it out there that it is out there. I consider this every single time I post anything. Set security and privacy settings to your comfort level of sharing.

4. When in Doubt, Throw it Out

If an email, social network post or text looks suspicious, even if you know the source, delete it.

5. Be Web Wise

Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information.

6. Be a Good Online Citizen or Don’t be a Web Douche canoe

Post only about others what you would have them post about you.

7. Beware of public Wi-Fi ( hint: There is no such thing as FREE wi-fi)

Anytime you use public Wi-Fi, keep in mind that everything you do can be visible to a 3rd party/stranger that is also connected to the network. Criminals can see everything the users do and capture any information that is sent over the network. Find a staff member at the coffee shop or hotel that can verify the name of the proper network. Also disable auto-connection features when Wi-Fi is not in use.

8. Save money matters for your trusted networks

Even if you’re not on a compromised Wi-Fi hotspot, it’s really best to wait until you’re back on a secure network you trust before shopping or banking. If it’s an emergency and you need to move funds from one account to another, use your cellular data connection rather than public Wi-Fi.

9. Use Secure Sites (Https://)

Secure SSL connections are connections that encrypt any data you send through a website, adding a layer of protection for your private information. There are a couple different ways that you can check to verify that a site is secure. The first is that you’ll notice the https:// turns into https://, with the s indicating it is a secure network. Additionally, there should be a padlock displayed in the URL bar.

10. Secure your mobile devices

In addition to installing security software on computers, it is equally important to have a mobile security app, for your mobile devices. These apps will help your mobile devices stay secure by detecting security flaws in your apps and preventing you from clicking on malicious links.

The Internet is a wonderful place to live and play but it really is what you make it. Just like your home, you wouldn’t go on vacation and leave all the doors and windows open nor would you announce to the neighborhood gossip that you have syphilis. So use your common sense and take precautions to protect yourself online just like you would in your real life.

How do you keep yourself from becoming just another Internet casualty?

 

 

Photo Credit: Ellen von Unwerth

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lionlock but all opinions are my own. Don’t be an Internet Casualty!

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LionLock, Safety, Internet, password protection

Last month when I announced my ambassadorship with LionLock, I told you what an incredible password management tool I think it is. It’s perfect for every 21st century small business from freelance writers, digital marketing professionals, and social media consultants to virtual assistants. And let’s not forget about us busy 21st century parents who do everything from monitor their nannycams to subscribe to parenting websites and manage their baby’s college fund online. We trust the Internet. We depend on it.

LionLock can securely store all kinds of protected information, including passwords, website logins, bank accounts and credit card details. This information is your “secrets”; called so because they should be protected. Each account or password is it’s own separate secret.

LionLock then encrypts and stores all of your Secrets using AES-256, which is the same level of encryption the government uses for Top Secret documents and then stores all of your information in the vault. It’s one secure place that you can access from your work computer, home computer or any of your mobile devices.

If you need to share a “secret” you created with clients, you can easily grant them access. If the situation or your mind changes, simply adjust their access permissions. You only have to change one password. It’s that simple.  As the Secret Owner you have full control of a Secret. Only you can edit, delete, and grant access to other users.

To help secret owners know how their accounts are being used, LionLock keeps automatic reports of all the users of that you share vaults/passwords with and date/time users viewed or changed any passwords that hey have access to. Owners can view all reports associated with a secret they own. You have complete control of your “secrets”. Nice, right?

But, where does all that information go? I mean the Internet can be a giant scary place and sometimes, I have so much information out “there” that I get a little agoraphobic and want to just keep it all close to home but that’s not really a solution. What am I a social media password hoarder? Maybe I need an intervention.

I work from home and I am my own brand so my reputation means everything. If a brand hires me or I am collaborating on a campaign with a client, I need to be responsible and professional not only for my sake but for theirs, as well. Those pieces of paper with notes written all over them is not professional. It’s very unprofessional and it is just an accident waiting to happen and jobs to be lost.  If I want to be taken seriously, I need to act seriously. My clients need to know that their information is safe on my site and in my hands.

So where does all that private, personal information go? This is going to be a little technical but you will be glad that I told you, so bear with me. Amazon EC2 secure servers in the United States host LionLock. It’s sort of like Dropbox taken to the security extreme. One major security feature of LionLock is that the passwords are not stored on the client machine (my computer, laptop or phone). Nope all the passwords are stored in the secure Lionlock website.

What does any of this mean to you and why should you care? Well, if your computer crashes, your passwords are safely stored on the cloud so you do not have to freak out worrying that they are gone forever and you will have to look unprofessional losing all of your information. People pay you so they don’t have to worry about every single detail.

Also, with passwords being stored offsite (like your money in the Cayman islands) there is never the worry that someone is going to “accidentally” get access from your computer. All passwords are retrieved from the Lionlock website using a secure SSL connection; this is the same web standard used by banks. And no, the developers at Lionlock do not have access to Amazon’s servers and data so they cannot access your “secrets”.

If you don’t believe me, try LionLock out for yourself. An account for up to three users and 25 passwords is free!  If you need more users and unlimited password storage, LionLock has that too! I’m hooked because it just makes my daily work so much easier and more streamlined. I have everything securely stored for myself and my clients.

Lionlock allows me to trust that my passwords and my clients are safe and so is my my reputation.

Have you had the chance to try LionLock yet?

 

 

Photo Credit: 1954 Ellen von Unwerth

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lionlock but all opinions are my own.

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shhh, secrets, Lionlock, password management, passwords

I am thrilled to announce that I have partnered with Lionlock as a brand ambassador.

This makes me happy because not only do I get to share my love of a great and very useful product with you but they even pay me to do it. What? It’s like getting paid to eat chocolate without the calories.

I know many of you, like me, work, play and live online and for security reasons you probably have 25 different passwords. Me, I have so many passwords that I have passwords scribbled all over the place in my office in notebooks, on napkins, up my arm and none of it is really effective because if I misplace the password source, I have to try seemingly endless combinations of letters and numbers, some with capitalization and one even requires a “symbol”. What? Yeah, that account may be lost to me forever. It’s like when you hide all the scissors in the house from the kids only to realize you can never find them again. Yes, just like that and my mommy brain apparently doesn’t remember where I hide scissors, passwords or locker combinations.

So you are probably wondering what is this Lionlock she is rambling on about?

Lionlock is a password management tool for small businesses, teams and parents who live their lives online and honestly, these days, who doesn’t? LionLock can securely store all kinds of protected information, including but not limited to passwords, website logins, bank accounts and credit card details. They refer to this information as “secrets” because it should be protected. Each account or password is it’s own separate secret. For example, your bank account information is one secret.  Your 7 CMS logins are each their own secrets. Your five email account passwords are each their own secret. Now, unfortunately, Lionlock can’t help you at all with those misplaced scissors.

LionLock encrypts and stores all of your Secrets using AES-256 which is the same level of encryption the government uses for Top Secret documents. It’s like having your own personal secret service trained ninja assistant who keeps all of your online secrets in “the vault”. Only Lionlock’s vault can’t be plied open with vodka.

Lionlock’s vault stores all your information in one secure place that you can access from your work computer, home computer or any of your mobile devices. This is great for small businesses because a staggering 60% of small businesses suffer a cyber attack or major data loss in the first six months of operations. But it’s also great for me because when my mommy brain fails me, I know that my Lionlock account wont!

If you want to share your secrets with team members or your husband, you can decide to grant them access. If you change your mind, access denied. Change your Lionlock access password and that’s it. You only have to change one password. It’s that simple.

I am very excited about having the Lionlock password management tool in my online arsenal and getting to work as an ambassador for a product that I genuinely think is awesome. I think it’s perfect for everyone who has multiple accounts online.

Now that I’ve told you all about Lionlock, I’d love to invite you to our #Lionlock Twitter Party on Tuesday, February 25th at 6:00 PM PST/ 9:00 PM EST!  We’ll be giving away prizes and having great conversation.

lionlock, twitter party

**Lionlock Twitter Party Alert**

WHAT:  #Lionlock Twitter Party

WHEN:  TUESDAY, February 25TH, 2014 FROM 6-7 PM PST/ 9-10 EST

HASHTAG TO USE WHEN TWEETING IT UP:  #Lionlock

WHO TO FOLLOW:  @TRUTHFULMOMMY @Lizz_Porter AND @LIONLOCKDC (SPONSOR) >

PRIZES: Four $25 Visa Gift Cards and one grand prize $50 Visa Gift Card

RSVP:  PLEASE RSVP BELOW.

Join in the #Lionlock party for fun conversation and a chance to win some great prizes!

Please RSVP with your twitter name and link to qualify for a chance to win prizes during the #LIONLOCK Twitter Party.

 

Photo Credit: Ellen von Unwerth

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lionlock but all opinions are my own.

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online imposters, blogging, plagiarism, safety online

Something bizarre happened this weekend, someone pretended to be me; leaving me to wonder who the real moms online are and who are the online imposters?

This is the first time I’ve ever been aware of anyone doing this where I was involved. Someone pretended to be me online. I don’t mean they copied my posts and swiped my words, it went beyond that. Unfortunately, I have become used to the plagiarism after 5 years of blogging and I’ve learned how to stop it. I’ve never had someone actually try to pass themselves off as me…the person.

It was brought to my attention that someone had actually created a fake account using my name and photo. I have an imposter pretending to be me online. Imagine my surprise when I see a comment supposedly left by me, only it wasn’t. I do not like being forced to take responsibility for words that I didn’t actually write. God knows that I write enough things to get me in trouble all on my own. Anyways, it left me feeling decidedly vulnerable and violated. Someone had invaded my privacy on a very personal level. It made me begin to question everything.

I’ve put a lot of trust in you, Internet. I know that you are not infallible. I forget that the Internet is not just filled with a whole bunch of moms reaching out for friendship and support. The Internet is full of weirdos; pedophiles, imposters and single white females just waiting for the chance to prey on some poor unsuspecting schmuck. Do we really know anyone?

I feel like from now on, every time I write I should be asking myself Who are the real “moms” & who are the online imposters?

Who are harmless crazy cat ladies sitting in their one room apartments playing with their 10 Reborn baby dolls? Who are the 300-pound, balding perverts who live in their mom’s basement and touch themselves while reading about your children losing a tooth or crying from a booboo? Who are the single white females who sit in their home alone reading about every detail of your pregnancy while doing a little legwork and soon knows where you live and when your baby is due? The crazy lady who wants a baby so badly that she’s willing to befriend you and then cut you open like a fish and take your baby?

We never know who we are talking to; in person or in real life. The guy you worked with at Arby’s could turn out to be a pedophile 20 years later. The guy you went to prom with could secretly dress up like a woman and write erotica. The mom you’ve been sharing every detail about your life with online could really be some man in Brooklyn who has no kids and gets his rocks off reading about yours.

This past weekend has left me with two thoughts; people are really bat shit crazy. I don’t mean crazy like you and I and in need of some sleep and Xanax. I mean off the reserve, scary and dangerous crazy. People who pretend to be others online are creepy on a very deep level. Two, I don’t know if this space is really one that I want to be a part of anymore.

I used to be so naïve and I thought people who wrote about rainbows and unicorns all the time were trying to hide something out of a need to protect themselves from criticism but now, I realize that the lack of transparency was probably born out of an innate need to protect themselves from actual crazy people who can steal every detail of your life and make it their own but I don’t know if I can blog in any other way than with complete openness. One imposter has lied so much that she has convinced herself that the person whose life she’s stolen is the imposter and she will fight anyone who says otherwise. I find that to be very frightening because obviously the lines between fantasy and reality have been blurred so badly that she no longer recognizes which is which.

When I think of the personal stories and photos that I have shared on this blog, it makes me cringe to think what could be done with all of it in the wrong hands. It’s also made me reassess what I want this space to be. I’m not sure the pros outweigh the cons anymore. I just want to write and connect with other moms. I am nobody special, the other bloggers who have had imposter accounts made in their names and my friend who is literally having someone steal her life, we are just moms trying to connect to one another and somewhere in all of that, we’ve let an imposter infiltrate our community but what is the alternative? From behind the screen, do any of us really know who the online imposters are or who we are really talking to?

Can you tell the difference between the online imposters and the “real” moms online?

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mom blogger, bloggers, mommy bloggers, over sharing, moms, GOMI, Instagram

I read a post by my friend Jessica, referencing a post by GOMI and the dastardly state of mom bloggers. The story goes a little something like this, mommy blogger pauses to take and Instagram a photo from the ER where her toddler is being held down by his father so that said toddler’s head could be stitched up. I am usually inclined to agree with Jessica on many topics, GOMI not so much.

However, when I first read this, I agreed with Jessica and GOMI. I really did and then I took a moment and thought about it; really thought about it. We don’t live in the world we grew up in. We live in a digital world and everyone over shares. TMI and inappropriate shares are the norm. For Pete’s sake, the Pope has a Twitter account. Women live tweet their births. Nothing is sacred any more. It’s just the way it is.

I understand the whole argument that she should have been spending the time holding her son’s hand instead of taking and editing a photo. I can see that it looks, from the outside, like it’s all very calculated and callous and maybe it was. I just know that many bloggers have been guilty of exercising impropriety in inappropriate times. Is it for traffic? Or is it force of habit? Bad judgment? Or maybe it’s the only way they know how to document their lives? At first read, it felt like this mom blogger should have put down the phone and held her son’s hand.

Then I remembered that I am the same person who left the obstetrician’s office after being told that my baby had no heartbeat and in the midst of my heart breaking pain and through my own primal cries, I wrote it out. I felt like a trapped animal and I needed to purge myself of the pain, to make sense of it and I wrote it all down. I had 15 minutes before I needed to pick up my 4-year-old from preschool. I had to get my shit together. I needed to process the emotions. I needed to get a hold of my own breakdown. I know that to anyone who doesn’t blog, that probably seemed like an odd thing to do.

At the time I was blogging daily and I knew that this miscarriage was going to fuck me up mentally and it did. I knew I couldn’t skim over it or hide it from my regular readers or the people in my every day life. I hadn’t even told family yet but this wasn’t something that I could keep a secret from them for the rest of my life. I couldn’t write authentically and transparently while hiding a major life event. I couldn’t move through my real life keeping something like this from my friends and family. That night, I texted my family and told them what had happened but asked them to please not call me. I was too fragile to speak or even hear the sadness or pity in their voices.

The next morning before I left to the hospital for my D & E, I scheduled that note from my phone to go live. There was no thought or editing that went into it. It was a purge. I needed two things; to process and to purge. My world was collapsing around me and my first thought was to write it down and get it out.

What I didn’t do was share the last photo of my baby; the ultrasound taken at the request of my 4-year-old so that she had a photo of “her baby”. No, I never even considered sharing it because that is private. That is just for my family. That is one of my most precious possessions and it’s not for sell. Just as I am sure there are things that the mom blogger in question does not share. But everyone’s line in the sand is different.

Maybe for that blogger, she took the photo and Instagramed out of habit. Maybe she has become so accustomed to documenting every moment of her life via social media and her blog that it was the most natural thing to do. We are creatures of habit and there is comfort and reassurance in routine. In the moments of life when we are terrified, we go on autopilot.Would it have been okay had she written about it but not taken the photo? Would it have been fine if she tweeted about how scared she was instead of snapped a photo on her phone? Who decides? Why is one way acceptable and the other not? How are we supposed to blog like no one is reading when everyone is judging? I won’t judge this mom because no one knows why she did what she did and quite frankly, who are we to judge?

Do you think everything bloggers do is for traffic or is there a genuine compulsory desire to share their lives?

Why do you think bloggers share and over share their lives?

 

Image via Flickr/ Tom & Katrien

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blogging, bloggers, blogs, unsubscribers, subscriptions

Dear Unsubscriber,

Hey, You, yeah you! The one who is wondering if she should waste a comment or just go. Yes, I know that you delicately tried to slip away out the back door without anyone noticing but damned if feedproxy wasn’t standing there, right behind you, yelling and pointing…“Hey, look she’s leaving! You suck!” 

And just like that our blogger/reader love affair was over. I know that I don’t always say the right thing and sometimes I’m overtired and cranky and maybe I don’t even make sense but I thought you got me. I really thought you understood that not all of them are gold. I thought I was safe. This was a judge free zone. Some posts are flops but I didn’t know our relationship was so fickle that you would leave me over one bad day. One crap post. I’m sorry my dog died and my period came and the snow has been really bad. Sometimes a bloggers got to complain. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. But hey, I’ll do better next time. I’ll write a funny post about how to survive shark week without losing a limb or explaining your period to kids in a public bathroom at Panda Express.

You knew what you were getting into when we started this relationship. I told you from the beginning that it wasn’t always going to be sunshine and unicorns. I tell it like it is. I’m a real person and sometimes really bad and boring shit happens in my life. I thought our love was unconditional. I listen to your side in the comments. I don’t plug my ears and ignore you. I don’t delete what you have to say. You read and comment, I write and respond. We share. It’s symbiotic.Well, it used to be. We got to know one another. This isn’t match.com. You can’t just order up your flavor of the month and put me into a box. I have thoughts and opinions.

I never took you for the one giveaway type. I’ve never considered myself easy. Did you just pretend to like me to get into my “giveaways”? Say it isn’t so. Please tell me you didn’t subscribe to me JUST for the goodies that I could give you only to toss me aside once you’d had your way with me. I feel so used. Like a bloggy whore. I thought we meant more to one another than that.

Come back.Don’t leave. I won’t always be stressed and bloated and have cabin fever and my kids won’t always drive me up a wall. Things will get better. I won’t do it again. Let’s not take a break and if you are going to “unsubscribe” from this relationship, why not tell me why? Give a girl some closure. Think of it as an exit interview. Just drop me a note so I can grow and learn from it before I get my bloggy heart broken again.

I mean we shared at least one post that meant something to both of us, even if it was just a laugh while you were in the pick up line or an unsuspecting cry in the middle of the night when you couldn’t sleep? Or what about the time I made you shoot diet coke, wine or coffee out your nose? Let’s not even bring up the time you were reading about my labor while sitting on the toilet. I’ve shared my most personal stories with you. We’ve been intimate.

I wish you nothing but sunshine and unicorns unsubscriber. Just know that every time feedproxy sends me an unsubscribe notice, a blogger dies.

XOXO

P.S. If you would like to donate a subscription to the keep a blogger alive foundation subscribe here

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