Friday, July 31, 2015

things i'm dreaming of {july}:

 
this perfect in every way flower box & watering can.
a dish cabinet with mesh wire.
the perfect shirt for hot, humid months.
a colorful boho pillow to add to the apartment.
this semi-healthy fruity frozen yogurt.   
sandals with scallops!
a reason to throw a watermelon party in the next few months.
another WWII book to add to my to-read pile.

image via.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

catching up.

You know when you discover a food that you love and you eat it every chance you get for weeks, months, maybe even years? And then in one strange moment you realize it's not appealing. At all. You're confused of course, because hello, your favorite food. (Maybe just me? Definitely went through a Pork & Beans phase, a Top Ramen phase, a mandarin orange phase, an oatmeal phase, etc. while in my youth - some lasting for years.)

Well, my friends, that same thing happened to me with blogging. It was sandwiched on my list of delightful activities between cleaning toilets and lugging groceries up two flights of stairs; essentially it became a chore. Granted, it was a self-imposed, non-essential chore and because it was so non-essential, I happily let it fall to the wayside without a care. But now I'm kind of wishing that I'd kept up the last two months with posting pictures or just the basics because I don't document life anywhere else. Everyone has things they're really great at, and for me writing in a journal is sandwiched between rapping and making bundt cakes (totally awful at both... don't ask me to try either) (lots of "sandwiches" today - must be hungry).

So what have we been up to for the last two months? Moving, surviving crazy Airbnb guests, going on bike rides, celebrating our birthdays, cleaning up after a flood in the basement and garage, avoiding unpacking because it's the worst, watching baseball, indulging in Netflix marathons, partying for a weekend with the girls, working more hours in three weeks than I ever thought possible, driving out west to visit family, and celebrating my best friend.

It's been busy. Especially the Netflix part.

 ^^Ben bought me a bike. We flooded. We flooded some more.^^
^^Mormon Night @ the Cardinals. Girls' weekend in St. George. Road trip out west to see family.^^
^^Jackson Hole, WY. Best burger & fry sauce of my life. Sister-in-law's graduation.^^
^^Sister-in-law went through the temple. Baby shower for my BFF. Park City with the family.^^

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! :)