Tuesday, June 30, 2015

things i'm dreaming of {june}:

this delicious dish to go with some enchiladas.
a bathroom that embodies simplicity.
homemade caramels to eat all by myself. :)
a day spent playing here.
these blankets - one of every color.
hair long enough to do this cute braid.
a pan of these to go with the caramel.
this book and a relaxing afternoon.

image via

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

how i protect myself from identity theft.

One Saturday morning back when I was 9, I was sitting backwards on the couch in our living room looking out the window as I waited for my dad to drive me somewhere. As I was watching cars go by, a red car quickly pull up to our curb and a man opened the little door to the mailbox. He then took the envelopes my parents had set inside that morning for the mailman and sped off.

It turns out that the envelopes contained checks for various things - checks that were wiped clean and filled out by the man in the red car's wife. I remember my mom talking about what a hassle it was to deal with the bank and prove that had been identity theft victims; there were stacks of papers to go through, bank accounts to close, and handwriting tests to show innocence. Seeing what an unfortunate event it was for my parents to go through, I've been leery of letting my information fall into the wrong hands and especially of putting too much personal information out there!

 How I Protect Myself From Identity Theft


1 // File away important information in a safe place.
A while ago I bought a fire-proof file box that has a lock on it* and also bought some hanging file folders. I have files for our important information (birth certificates, SS cards, marriage license, Ben's passport, etc.), car loan papers, bank account papers, insurance papers, and tax papers (I do one file for each year). Don't carry around more personal information in your wallet than you have to - I know too many people who always have their SS card on them and it makes me nervous for them.

*Don't leave the key in the lock or you're really not doing much to protect your information!

2 // Shred, shred, shred.
I may be a bit paranoid about this one, but I never ever throw away papers or receipts that have my name, address, or any personal information on them. I haven't gone as far as making sure to shred every single receipt, but I do shred a good portion of them. Also, I cut old credit cards into teeny tiny pieces and throw the pieces away in 3 different trash cans just to be safe. (I warned you about the paranoia. ;)

3 // I'm weary about what I share on social media.
If I tag a location or check in on social media, there's a 75% chance I'm not still there. A) I don't want people to know that I'm not at home, and B) I don't really like having people know exactly where I am. (There are a few exceptions to this, however.) I don't post a lot of information on Facebook or Instagram - e.g., I don't post my hometown, what high school I went to, pictures of the layout of my apartment, etc.

4 // Don't open emails that raise a red flag.
I don't open emails unless I know the sender, the email address seems legit, or I read the first line that shows up and it sounds like a real person. I automatically delete emails that show up with a "no content" warning and I never, ever, ever reply to emails that ask for bank information, tell me I'm being sued and need to pay money, or ask for any other personal information. Even if it's a legit email, I refuse to send my SS# and bank account information over the internet and ask them to call me.

5 // Create good passwords & change them often.
It kills me that people use "Password" or "1234" as their password. How easy it would be to hack into your computer or phone! I make sure all of my passwords are completely random and have a good mixture of lowercase and capitalized letters and numbers. Never write down passwords, and don't use the same password for every single account. If you can lock your phone, do it and never store information on it that you'd regret putting there if someone stole your phone.

6 // Check your credit score often.
When Ben and I were engaged, we had to meet with a church leader each week where he'd give us advice on a variety of things. One thing that stood out to me is that he mentioned checking your credit score every 4-6 months to make sure that someone isn't stealing your identity. The following three companies offer one free credit score check each year: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. If you use Mint to track your money, it'll do an automatic credit score check every few months and we've really liked going that route.

7 // Remember that's what in "public" can, heaven forbid, potentially become public information.
After the checks had been taken from our mailbox, my mom started dropping off mail with any personal information/checks at the post office drive through because she didn't want to risk having mail stolen again. Just like mail, any information you leave out on your kitchen counter could be seen by the plumber, a nosy neighbor, your teenager's friends. Nothing is private unless it's stored and locked away!

What do you do to protect yourself from identity theft?

Monday, June 8, 2015

one year older and wiser, too!

One of my favorite things about Ben is that he puts up with my love of birthdays and cake and buying presents even though that's not his thing. And he doesn't mind when I have to make sure that the wrapping paper matches the sprinkles on the cake, or even when I sing the birthday song to him in a fake opera voice. He's one of my favorite people to celebrate and he's patient with me when I get a bit carried away. ;)
(Long side note: Before we even started dating, a group of us in our singles ward got together on Sunday nights to watch a movie from the Star Wars series. Mostly because I had never seen all of the movies, and especially not in order. (Gasp! The horror.) It was around November/December - a time when the stores were filled with festive M&M's, some of which Ben had never tried before. One night he and I made a late night grocery store run to get different kinds of M&M's and we ended up sharing some coconut M&M's and some mint M&M's. Now, whenever I see the little coconut or mint candies I think of Ben and associate the two with dating him.)

Thanks for being born, Ben! :)

Friday, June 5, 2015

good reads: volume 3

1 // The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans
Elise Dutton dreads the arrival of another holiday season. Three years earlier, her husband cheated on her with her best friend, resulting in a bitter divorce that left her alone, broken, and distrustful. 

Then, one November day, a stranger approaches Elise in the mall food court. Though she recognizes the man from her building, Elise has never formally met him. Tired of spending the holidays alone, the man offers her a proposition. For the next eight weeks—until the evening of December 24—he suggests that they pretend to be a couple. He draws up a contract with four rules:

1. No deep, probing personal questions
2. No drama
3. No telling anyone the truth about the relationship
4. The contract is void on Christmas Day

The lonely Elise surprises herself by agreeing to the idea. As the charade progresses, the safety of her fake relationship begins to mend her badly broken heart. But just as she begins to find joy again, her long-held secret threatens to unravel the emerging relationship. But she might not be the only one with secrets.

Synopsis from here.

This clean chick lit book is perfect for anytime of year and a great read if you're looking for something light and fluffy. I actually listened to the audiobook and didn't mind the narrator's voice.

2 // Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Quite the opposite of The Mistletoe Promise, this book goes much deeper than surface level topics. Everyone I know has been raving about this book so I decided I'd take some time to see what it was all about and found myself mulling over specific quotes from the book for days. I enjoyed reading 50 or so pages at a time and thinking about it in sections instead of reading it straight through.

Outliers delves into the question "what makes high-achievers different?" and focuses primarily on where successful people come from instead of on their habits. Gladwell touches on influences like family, culture, upbringing, etc. and explains the secrets of certain stereotypes.  

3 // Wonder by R.J. Palacio
August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

Synopsis from here

Personally, I think this is a great read for any age!

4 // 13 Gifts by Wendy Mass
I didn't realize until I had finished the book that this was book #3 in a series, but I didn't think that reading this one out of order was confusing. Another quick, light read, this cute YA book has a few twists that will keep you on your toes.

After getting into trouble at school, Tara is shipped off to live with extended family in a small town for the summer instead of traveling with her parents to Madagascar for a research project. Tara feels like it's a chance to start over and finally make some friends, but gets into trouble and finds herself working for an old lady in town by collecting unique items from other townspeople. With a series of unexpected events, you won't be able to predict how Tara's 13th birthday plays out!

Read any good books lately?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

another what we've been up to post.

// still serving as the Young Men's president at church
// joined a student consulting group
// has rekindled his love of biking

// serving as the secretary in the Relief Society presidency
// was given a promotion in Cardiology
// loves listening to audiobooks

// have two apartments for the month of June & are slowly transitioning to the new one
// discovered Airbnb and love "renting" out the old apartment
// like watching classics on Netflix with a bowl of kettle popcorn