The Three Most Important Guidelines for Backing Up Your Computer

The Three Most Important Guidelines for Backing Up Your Computer

If you are like me, your computer holds so much diverse information: client records, home repair notes, favorite recipes, eyeglass prescription, photos, email, and the list of movies I want to see. This pretty much accounts for much of the “stuff “from every aspect of life. What would happen if that data were lost, deleted by accident, corrupted by disk error, attacked by a virus or other malicious software, including held hostage by ransomware? Yes, life would be complicated, that is for sure!

A client had a recent scare when several dozen files got corrupted by a disk issue. What could have been a disaster turned into only a mild inconvenience because all her data were backed up.

Do YOU have a backup plan for your data? Find below three guidelines for setting up such a vital plan.

  1. Backup on a consistent schedule. Can you really afford to lose a day’s worth of data? If not, backup daily or more frequently. MAC users can set up automatic backups using the Time Machine app. If you do not have a consistent schedule, you will go too long between backup or forget altogether.
  2. Backup to multiple devices. What happens if your backup drive is corrupted? Backup frequently to another external hard drive. Time Machine backs up my computer to my main backup drive (a 4T external drive) multiple times a day. Once a week, on a set schedule so I do not forget, I plug in a different external drive and let Time Machine back up to it.
  3. Keep backups in multiple locations. Worst case scenarios: a burglar steals your computer and all your electronics, including your external hard drives. Heaven forbids house damage (fire, roof leak, tornado) affects your computer and backup drives. While it is true that you would have bigger problems than a loss of data, this is one headache that you can prevent. Store a backup at your office (if it’s in a different location than your home), at a trusted friend’s house, or in a safe deposit box. This backup can be updated at greater intervals. I personally do this every three month, because that is the most data loss, I am willing to risk. What is more, I rotate the offsite disk with my secondary backup disk. That is, I backup to my secondary disk and take that to the bank where my safe deposit box is. Then I take the external hard drive out of my safe deposit box and use that as my secondary backup disk for the next three months. Rinse and repeat…

It really is a gamble if you are not backing up your computer. One other precaution is to back up to the cloud. Now you have both a physical backup on your external drive and a cloud-based solution.

Photo: Pixabay

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Will You Be Humiliated If You Wear White After Labor Day?

Will You Be Humiliated If You Wear White After Labor Day?

How many of you were raised being told you were not allowed to wear white after Labor Day? Is it still a thing or a question one thinks about? I was brought up to believe in this ‘rule’ that no one ever questioned.

This custom of not wearing white after Labor Day originated in the 19th century as a way for the upper class to differentiate themselves from the working class and to spot the nouveau riche who were not privy to the elite secret. It is a totally fabricated fashion ‘rule’ that is well past its prime.

Bottom line, yes, you can wear white year-round. If you still want more information, here are some links to read more about this.

Yahoo!

The US Sun

Newsweek

Better Homes & Gardens

Photo: Pixabay

 

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Travel Tip – Pack These Items Just in Case

Travel Tip – Pack These Items Just in Case

I recently traveled out of state to Oregon to attend my niece’s wedding. I stayed in a hotel with my sister, and we both realized items that the other included in her luggage that really came in handy. Pack these items just in case you, yourself, should need them in your travels.

  1. Sealed Plastic Bags – Grab a few snack, sandwich, quart, and gallon size bags. You never know when you will need them, and they take up little space. My smart sister had these with her, and we used them to keep snacks away from pesky ants in our room, to create a makeshift ice wrap, and to prevent any spills in our sightseeing bag when we brought yogurt to have as a snack.
  2. Mesh Laundry Bag – We were gone for seven nights and knew we were going to do laundry at least once while away. I find it easier to throw my dirty clothes in a laundry bag, so it is easier to grab to do laundry. What’s more, separating them from my clean clothes when packing up my suitcase at the end of a trip allows for merely emptying the laundry bag contents into my hamper upon returning home.
  3. Soap – I attended my annual organizing conference in April and was shocked that the hotel had run out of soap! I used to travel with a small bar of soap and a small bottle of body wash but stopped doing so years ago when I never used it. Now those two items are back in my toiletry bag because it was so annoying, and I felt so yucky when I could not use soap. I ended up using shampoo until the hotel received their shipment.
  4. White Noise App – When traveling, one never knows what noises will be bothersome and what may affect one’s sleep. Whether it be a snoring person, a barking dog, garbage truck pickup, traffic, people talking outside your door or window, or the on and off noise from the air conditioner or heater, how pleasant it is to have consistent background noise to neutralize other obnoxious sounds when trying to fall asleep or to stay asleep.
  5. Insulated Water Bottle – I love cold water and my 12-hour insulated water bottle. I have started packing one that has a wide enough opening to fit ice cubes in case I don’t have access to a refrigerator’s cold water. Staying hydrated is so important when traveling. We often forget to drink water as we are so busy exploring and visiting with one another.

I am sure you have a few items you could add to my list. If you do, please leave them in the comments section. I love learning from all of you. Happy trails!

Photo: Pixabay

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Tips and Tools for Keeping Your Children Safe and Healthy in School

Tips and Tools for Keeping Your Children Safe and Healthy in School

In some areas of the United States children have already begun their new school year. Other areas will be returning soon. Regardless of timing, here are some tips and tools for keeping your children safe and healthy for the coming academic year.

I could reiterate what is already out there, but I found a great website, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). It provides a wealth of resources for parents and educators about health conditions and safety for children of all ages, starting with mom’s pregnancy going through age 19. Topics include preparing for back-to-school, safety in the home, information on the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines, bullying, and so much more. There are also articles about specific conditions, such as ADHD and ASD. The information is presented as podcasts and articles.

Heading back to school is an exciting and sometimes scary time for children. Preparing them and you, as parents, will send them off to, hopefully, have their best school year ever.

Photo: CDC.gov

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Cool Summer Drinks

Cool Summer Drinks

Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than lingering over any liquid served to you over ice. When organizing backyard gatherings, though, how often are drinks the last item to spark your creativity? Rather than the standard iced tea and lemonade, let us put on our thinking caps and explore cool summer drinks.

I have a friend who will seek out a new concoction every year to be her signature drink for the summer. I think that is such a “cool” and brilliant idea! Come on folks, we can do that, right?

To get some inspiration you may want to explore the following websites to see what fun non-alcoholic drink might become your go-to summer beverage

Woman’s Day

The Spruce Eats

Our Food and Home

Taste of Home

Southern Living

Delish

Now after investigating these sites, what have you selected as your signature 2022 cool non-alcoholic summer drink?

Photo: Pixabay

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The Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Days of Summer

Has it been hot enough for you? Ask friends about the meaning of the “dog days of summer”, and they will probably respond with something along the lines of “It is when it is too hot and humid in July and August for dogs to be comfortable outside.” Well, you know what? They are wrong.

The expression originated in ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt and is tied to astronomy. It is when the star, Sirius, appears in mid-to-late summer. The “dog star”, another name for Sirius, is one of the largest stars in the Canis, the big constellation.

In Greece and Rome, the “dog days” meant sweltering days (that could drive men and dogs insane), bad luck, drought, and disease. They were referring to the twenty days before and twenty days after Sirius aligns with the Sun. These days were not only the hottest days of the year but were when bad things happened.

Egypt, in contrast, welcomed the dog days, as that signaled that the annual floods so greatly needed for their crops were on the way.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac considers the Dog Days to be the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11.

Here is how to stay cool in these dog days of summer:

  • Dress in light weight and soft colored clothing.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Put your feet in cool water if you are not able to swim.
  • Keep your neck cool – it is the main body temperature sensor.

We may be complaining about these hot days; however, what is the alternative? Freezing in January? Well, we know those days will be coming sooner than we think. Just live in the moment. Chill, baby, chill.

Photo: Pixabay

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Happy summer reading!

Happy summer reading!

One of the best summer activities is reading, whether at the beach, on your deck, or in your air-conditioned bedroom.

How to choose what to read? Of course, you can check the bestseller lists, but for lesser-known gems, seek out your local, independent book seller for recommendations and support a local business. https://www.indiebound.org

Another great resource is a newer app, Readerly, where you can read reviews by your friends, post your own reviews, and rate books not by stars but by recommendation phrases, which offers you better insight based on your taste in books.

Happy reading!

Photo: Pixabay

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The Ultimate BBQ Planning Lists

The Ultimate BBQ Planning Lists

Ah, summer … when “the livin’ is easy …”, who does not love cooking outdoors? Will you be hosting a barbeque for a crowd this season? There are still many weekends of beautiful weather remaining to host one. If you are planning a gathering, here are some useful sites:

  • The Barbecue Planner can calculate how much food, condiments, utensils, ice, and other materials you’ll need.

https://www.barbecueplanner.com/

Here are a couple of comprehensive checklists:

What’s more, for those days when you get the sudden urge to entertain, here are some recipes you can prepare in little time on short notice so you can spend your time with family and friends:

https://www.allrecipes.com/article/last-minute-bbq-recipes-and-party-ideas/

All this brings to mind a recent backyard barbeque that I attended where the host served the most amazing smoked barbequed ribs. It was a perfect summer day and a great time to sit back and relax with great friends. I hope you will be able to do the same given the useful – and fun – tips above. Bon appetit!

Photo: Pixabay

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What Is in Your Wallet?

What Is in Your Wallet?

Sounds like the tagline for the commercial for that famous company, right? Well, I mean the question to stimulate your thoughts just in case…

You see, a client of mine just had his wallet stollen. One of the first things that crosses one’s mind in that panic-stricken situation is, of course, “What did I have in my wallet?”. It is indeed an awful thing to happen to anyone. In addition to feeling violated, who has the time to deal with contacting banks, credit card companies, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and any other company that concerns the contents of your wallet?

To ward off the pangs of regret, knowing it is too late when disaster strikes, adopt a rather simple proactive stance right now. Go get your wallet and empty out its contents onto a table. Make photocopies of the cards – front and back – on your computer or even with your phone. Keep these photocopies in a safe, secure location, i.e., a place that has easy access when in the panic of the moment, but not accessible to unwanted eyes. If you took pictures of everything on your phone, those photos should be stored in the Cloud. If you scanned them into your computer, you could easily file them away in a folder. I might also suggest keeping a hard copy of everything with your other important documents.

Steps to take if your wallet is stolen:

  • Create a list of what was in your wallet
  • Contact your local police department and file a report. This will verify that you were a victim of crime if you must prove any fraudulent accounts were opened in your name.
  • Call the following:
    • Bank – where your debit card is linked
    • Credit card companies
    • Credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
      • Tell them your credit card has been stolen
      • Freeze your credit
      • Get credit report
    • Department of Motor Vehicles to re-issue your driver’s license
    • Health insurance provider
    • Auto insurance carrier
    • Social Security Administration (SSA) – please tell me you are not still carrying your SS card in your wallet? If so, please stop!
  • Update all your accounts with online auto payments once new debit/credit cards are replaced
  • Change passwords and if possible, start using two-factor authentication

Being prepared now with a copy of all the contents of your wallet will make the process easier when you do know what is in your wallet. If, heaven forbid, you do become a victim of theft. After all, “Better safe than sorry.”

Photo: Pixabay

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Are the Meds in Your Medicine Cabinet Older Than Your Sneakers?

Are the Meds in Your Medicine Cabinet Older Than Your Sneakers?

Are you storing medicine in a medicine cabinet? If you answer, “Yes,” you are doing so incorrectly according to experts. It seems that bathrooms are much too humid for medications, and that can affect their efficacy. Rather, store meds in a cool and dry location, such as a closet.

Now, the next logical concern is: Are the meds in your medicine cabinet older than your sneakers? For most of us, we do not know what to keep, what to toss, and how to toss them out even properly, so they just stay put.

As a rule, toss anything that has expired, whether prescription medicine or over the counter (OTC) no matter the form: pills, ointments, or creams. This includes supplements, vitamins, and that 12-year-old extra-large bottle of Tylenol. Expired meds can be ineffective at best, toxic at worst. This applies to medications for your pets, too.

How can we safely and responsibly dispose of these items? For controlled substances, your local pharmacy, hospital, or town might have a take-back program. You can find a take-back site near you here.

You can dispose of some items in the trash, (However, use this means as a last resort), following these guidelines:

  1. Remove the drugs from their original containers and mix them with something undesirable, such as used coffee grounds, dirt, or cat litter. This makes the medicine less appealing to children and pets and unrecognizable to someone who might intentionally go through the trash looking for drugs.
  2. Put the mixture in something you can close (a re-sealable zipper storage bag, empty can, or other container) to prevent the drug from leaking or spilling out.
  3. Throw the container in the garbage.
  4. Scratch out all your personal information on the empty medicine packaging to protect your identity and privacy, or do like I do, peel the label off and shred it.
  5. Throw the packaging away.

Some medications can be flushed, but there exists a potential environmental impact in doing so as chemicals do leach into water supplies. Here’s a list of drugs that can be flushed if you have no other options for disposing of them.

In the end, if you have a question about your medicine, consult with your health care provider or pharmacist as the final arbiter in the important matter.

Check here for more information on what you should know about the disposal of unused medication.

Photo: Pixabay

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