New Favorite App

For children: Toca Hair Salon.

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My daughter adores styling Santa and the Christmas tree on the free version.

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Twenty Minutes

I sweat this time of year, New Years resolutions and all. I feel pressured to create a whole new life plan when what I really need is to do what I already do a little better; to feel like the day to day is a little more manageable.

So I’m stealing a trick from a friend. I am going to set the timer on my phone and work on one thing for 20 minutes. If I need to come back to it after a break and finish, then great. But the trick is to focus for short, manageable bursts of time.

Okay, my 20 (ok 30) are up. On to the next.

Good Boss

I have a guest post entitled The Good Boss up on a new blog, The Ladies Have “IT” where four women at different companies decided to share their experiences in exhibiting “IT”. Chanda reached out to me to write a guest post, and with the recent retirement of one of my all time favorite bosses, I jumped at the chance to write something that would honor him.

My stepfather, owner and CEO of Cabell’s Directories, significantly contributed to the article. But any of the errors or omissions are my own.

Thanks, Chanda and Dave, for the opportunity to reflect on such a critical aspect of our careers – The Good Boss.

Excuse me, do you have a blog?

When I started this blog, a friend with some blog experience looked it over and asked me about my angle, my niche. And I told her I was going to write about being a mom, working, and maintaining your sense of individuality and style. I think I disappointed her. It’s not exactly the focused concept I think she was looking for.

And she is right. My blog would have been more successful if I was a model wearing high fashion outfits and posting cupcake recipes on a daily basis. (Now that is a niche.) Your average working professional moms don’t exactly spend their days combing blogs posts for fashion tips, career advice, and mommy how-tos. Or do they?

Recently, I joined my husband for a dinner to celebrate a panel discussion on patent law reform (ah, lawyers in love!) with other panelists and University folks. One of our dinner companions, a recent transplant from San Francisco, leans over and tells me I look familiar. Do I have a blog?

I look at my husband. He is gaping. But it quickly makes sense. Our companion happens to be a patent attorney and a mother. Although she lived on the West Coast, she probably found me via Corporette.

I am energized that there is a group of women who could easily feel isolated from each other, simply by our impossible schedules, who have an opportunity to connect despite the fact that we have never met – and probably never will. Just as I planned when I started, I usually write my posts just for me. But this one is for the women – across the country and around the world (if you read my last post) – who are encouraged by other women through these blogs.

If you are grateful for a blog that has given you a tip or helped you feel sane, post the name of it in the comment section. Let others know about it, and let’s keep in touch!

Shocking Stats

Inspired by Domestic Deeds, I took a look at 2011 blog statistics. Considering the lengthy breaks I have been taking this summer and fall, I was shocked to discover that I had 17,493 visitors last year. Average time spent was 1m 42s, and most of the visits that arrived via links were from Facebook and A Working Mom’s Closet. Favorite posts include the Fashion Mama Spotlight, how to wear short skirts to work, and love for skirt pockets. Top five countries (besides the US) include:

Canada
United Kingdom
Australia
Germany
Poland

Wow. Working moms of the world unite.

Techno Tuesday: Instagram +

Three out of four pictures in the previous post were uploaded to Instagram and edited with their Polaroid-like filters. You aren’t probably the last person to know about it. But did you also know about Webstagram (Instagram Web Viewer), StickyGram, and Keepsy (for photo albums)?

My favorite filters? Nashville, Lomo-Fi and 1977. Want to know how the filters have anything to do with a Polariod? This is a good blog post.

I took some photos of our daughter playing in the yard right before I left for Russia. I used the 1977 filter and comparing them with photos that are actually from 1977. You couldn’t hardly tell the difference.

Techno Tuesday: Remember Passwords

Passwords are great – if you remember them. Security expert, Steve Gibson, has a solution. Use repetitious symbols:

D0g!(!(!(!(!(!

You can also use this strategy for specific websites. For your home mortgage, try a random but repetitious number sequence with a symbol and two letters (one capitalized) that references your house:

20-20-20-Ho

Easy to remember, right? And, if you type it into Gibson’s website, it estimates it would take 1.83 billion centuries to crack it through a simple online attack.

Techno Tuesday: STRONG Passwords

Last week, I alluded to the need to have a 14+ character password with both alpha- and numeric keystrokes. This is because I heard that even 12 character passwords can be cracked within a matter of days, if not hours. And then I stumbled on this website, called HowSecureIsMyPassword.net, where you can enter your passwords to find out how fast a PC can crack it. The 10 character password I used to use can be cracked in only three hours.

So, I did about three seconds of internet research for creating strong passwords, and copied these tips from Wikipedia:

- Password length should be around 12 to 14 characters if permitted, and longer still if possible while remaining memorable

- Use randomly generated passwords where feasible

- Avoid any password based on repetition, dictionary words, letter or number sequences, usernames, relative or pet names, romantic links (current or past), or biographical information (e.g., ID numbers, ancestors’ names or dates)

- Include numbers, and symbols in passwords if allowed by the system

- If the system recognizes case as significant, use capital and lower-case letters

- Avoid using the same password for multiple sites or purposes

- If you write your passwords down, keep the list in a safe place, such as a wallet or safe, not attached to a monitor or in an unlocked desk drawer

I like using initials of words that have meaning to only myself as a way to memorize your password, and then throw in symbols and numbers until you get to 14.

Any tips you have to share? Please comment!