Best Windows Apps for Sports Fans

If you are still thinking of what to give the man in your life this Father’s Day, worry not! I’ve got you covered with some of the best Windows apps for sports fans! With a Windows App, you don’t have to worry about even leaving your house to pick up a gift. There is no shipping and handling involved. Your gift won’t be forgotten about in some deep dark corner of the house that holds all of the “world’s greatestest Dad” memorabilia he’s received over the years! Instead, your gift will remain at the tip of his fingers whenever he feels like utilizing! It won’t fade, shrink, or expire!


Here are a few the best Windows Apps for Sports fans:


Baseball Pro+

For the baseball fanatic. Live scores, up to the minute standings, and news about your favorite teams! Go Red Sox! :)


Watch NFL Network

Access NFL network programming AND your NFL Redzone, directly from your Windows 8 device!


Tactics Board

If you have a coach in your life, they’re bound to LOVE this app! Tactic board allows you to strategize and plan out plays right on your Windows 8.1 device.


Car Fanatic

It’s no secret that most men love cars! This app will allow them to access to the fastest cars, right at their fingertips, making it very easy to pull up and show off to their buddies!


My Golf Hub

If you have a golfer in your life, this app is an essential. The app actually helps you improve your golf game by analyzing your swing, based on a video you’ve uploaded! It’s like having your own personal golf coach, right in the palm of your hand (but for much less money)!



FIFA 2014

Soccer fans will love this app.  Featuring 34 leagues, over 600 licensed teams, and more than 16,000 players. From the English Premier League to La Liga and beyond. Plus, for the first time on mobile, listen to commentaries in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish!




Men’s Health 

An important app for men that allows you to make a fitness plan, create a healthy diet, reduce stress, enhance sleep, and more! (And if he’s PLAYING any of these sports he’s loving the app to, he’ll want to be healthy so he can continue to enjoy them!)



These are just a very small sample of what’s available for sports fans using Windows Apps! Head on over to Microsoft and see for yourself!


Of course, he’ll need a tablet for all of these cool apps. Why not get him a Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet? Head over to your local Microsoft Store and pick one up- knowing how helpful the folks are there, I’m sure they would be happy to help you load some of these apps onto the tablet before you leave so he can turn it on and play right away!


This tablet has it all- Create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on the go. Synch your email and calendars with Outlook. And with up to 64GB of expandable memory and OneDrive, you can save your documents and pick up where you left off whenever you want. As you can see from the picture above, the profile of the Lumia 2520 is teeny tiny.  Not a lot of extra weight for him to tote around when he’s travelling or commuting to work (or the playground).


The Nokia Lumia 2520 with high-res Full HD display is crisp and clear even in bright sunlight. So you can see whatever you’re working on, wherever you’re working, indoors or outside.

Snap on the Nokia Power Keyboard and let your fingers do the talking. With up to five hours of extra battery life, a touch pad and two full-sized USB ports, getting things done on the move has never been easier.

The Nokia Lumia 2520 can store an 80% charge in just one hour, leaving you 100% free to unplug and do your thing.


One reader will win a Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet!




I receive information and devices as part of the WindowsChampions program.  No compensation was received for this post.  Opinions are my own. 

Updated Straight Talk plans and promotions

Straight Talk has some new updated plans and great promotions going right now and they wanted me to let you all know about them! I’m really excited about the new plans- well, one is updated, one is new- but I’m still excited!


New and Updated Straight Talk Plans:

Updated! With the updated $45 30-day plan you get Unlimited* nationwide talk, text and data (high speed data for the first 3.0 GB of data use)

Now, with 10X more data than the other guys, they bring us  3.0 GB of high speed data each month

After reaching 3.0 GB of high speed data, data speeds will be reduced for the remainder of the 30-day cycle

Also updated! Straight Talk also launched an updated plan for casual users – $30 a month for 1,500 minutes of talk, unlimited texting and 100 MB of data (plan not compatible with most smartphones)


Each Saturday in May, you can visit your local Walmart wireless center to learn more about Straight Talk. Find out what you want to know and take advantage of the free gift card with purchase promotion when you buy a Samsung Galaxy Centura or Galaxy Discover from Straight Talk through May 31, 2014. (At participating stores)


Straight Talk is now on Instagram  @MyStraightTalk. Be sure to follow them because they are having a fabulous contest right now and you could win $1000!

straighttalkhere contest

Enter the #StraightTalkHere Instagram contest for a chance to win $1,000 and a new Straight Talk smartphone!  How awesome is that?  Entry is pretty easy (and fun, if you ask me) – you just have to share pictures of where in the USA your cell service has you covered.  Tag your photo with #StraightTalkHere and @myStraightTalk. Have some FUN with it, you guys!! Be silly and creative!

Begins Tuesday 5/6/2014 and ends Monday 6/2/2014

There will be 4 winners (one each week) who will win $1,000 and a new Straight Talk device

Remember, you can also bring your own phone over to Straight Talk.  I’ve had an iPhone with Straight Talk for 3 years now (give or take) and I’ve been thrilled with my service.  Both locally and when I travel with family or media trips, I’ve been extremely pleased with my coverage and, of course, the awesome pricing that comes with Straight Talk.  I’m an Ambassador for Straight Talk this year, but I’ve been a customer for a few more years, and will continue to be for a long time.

Have you thought about breaking up with your cell phone contract and moving to Straight Talk?

This post is brought to you by our friends at Straight Talk as part of my Ambassadorship with the brand.  Opinions are my own.

Ad free searches + Free Surface Tablets for schools! #adfreesearch #bingclassroom

I have three kids who attend public school.  I have three kids who, like it or not, have the internet as part of their education.  The internet is here to stay.  It’s not going anywhere.  That said, when children are on the internet, it becomes a much scarier place than when we adults are on it.  Most places don’t just have a web page. There are advertisements that take many forms wherever you turn online, and THAT is something I don’t want my kids to see all the time.


They are innundated around the clock, through each calendar year with advertising.  School is supposed to be where they learn and expand their minds, not get exposed to more advertising. I can take measures at home to limit what advertising they are exposed to. I cannot take measures to limit or restrict at school- or at least, I haven’t until now.  Bing in the Classroom removes ads and blocks searches from being used for personalized advertising for all Bing searches done through the school’s network, making Bing the only major search engine to provide a search offering tailored specifically for the classroom.


Now, I have mad love for Bing and have for a year now. I am not looking back. The fact that they are making ad free searches available to all schools and are even letting people earn free Surface Tablets for their local schools simply by using Bing to search is AMAZING. I puffy heart Bing.

And the puffy heart love grows again.


Anyone can earn credits just by searching the web with Bing—similar to a frequent flyer program. Credits can be donated to help get free Microsoft Surface tablets for schools. It’s easy! All you have to do is stay signed in as you search with Bing. . You can search for any school by ZIP code and see how many other people are contributing, how many Surface tablets the school has earned so far, and how many credits are needed to earn the next Surface. They’ll  also tell you if the school is registered for the search enhancements, so you can know if your kids are receiving ad-free, safer, more private search in the classroom when they choose Bing.

So without spending a dime, we can support our schools.  I search at least 20 times per day. Most of us search daily. Why not support a local school?  Or choose a school in a community that is in a very depressed area? This is a win-win.  Educated kids means a smarter generation to enter the work force.  We cannot do without them.

To begin supporting schools with Bing rewards, simply visit the campaign landing page and select “Find your school” map in the lower right corner of the page.

Next, enter your school’s zip code and select the name of your school via the dropdown menu and select “Find”.

From here, select the “Support Your School” section and click on the “Try it now, FREE!” section. You’ll be prompted to create a Microsoft account, or sign in with your Facebook account. All you have to do is stay signed in as you search with Bing to earn credits.




Many thanks to Bing for sponsoring today’s post, and inspiring me to share about their #adfreesearch classroom initiative.


Unlimited cell phone plans: Straight Talk #StraightTalkTesters

I used to have one of the “traditional” cell phone plans with a major service provider.  I was delighted when we signed on with my husband’s 15% employee discount available to us.  What did I get for that?  Well, I got unlimited night and weekend calling, and voice mail. 250 minutes to use otherwise before I had extra charges incurred. No texting.  No data. The discount covered taxes and that’s about it.  Being a blogger, I really needed a phone to be able to get online so that I could use social media when I was at events or doing campaigns for clients.  That’s hard to do without data. We didn’t have the money to pay for a plan with data from any traditional cell phone plans and needed other options.

That’s when my friend Leandrea told me about Straight Talk.  Once I grasped what she was saying, and to be honest, she had to repeat herself a few times, I was sold. I had always (wrongfully) assumed that no-contract phones were for people who had no credit or less than stellar credit.

So why ditch other cell phone plans for Straight Talk? For me it was a no brainer.  I could get the same popular smartphones with the same coverage for a huge discounted price.  With no commitment, except when I chose to commit to.  (I pay 12 months at a time, because it offers an extra savings by doing that, so it drops the price a bit lower even).

Unlimited Cell Phone Plans: Straight Talk

straight talk logo

Same nationwide coverage as on America’s largest and most dependable networks

This was HUGE for me. We live in an area that has dead spots (and they have decreased since we moved here 9 years ago but there are 2 spots remaining in town that no providers have service.)  They are small but they are there.  I wanted to be certain that my phone would work anywhere I need it to since I’m the primary caregiver, being home full time, and need to be reached at any time.

straight talk data

Get up to 8x more high speed data than other $45 no-contract plans

With the $45 30-day plan you get Unlimited* nationwide talk, text and data (high speed data for the first 2.5 GB of data use)
• Easily check your balance and service end date at
Straight Talk is available exclusively at Walmart, and

You can even BYOP (Bring your own phone)

With Straight Talk, you can use almost ANY phone.  You can purchase one of the many Straight Talk ready smartphones or Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) to Straight Talk. I’ve had an iPhone of one kind or another for 2 years on this plan, and couldn’t be happier about the service. I honestly don’t remember what I had before my iPhones- I’ve had an iPhone 3, iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and currently, a hot pink iPhone 5c.

straight talk same phones

Switching to Straight Talk Wireless is so simple

This is even easier than before. Got a smartphone and don’t want to pay the rates of other cell phone plans? Simply bring your phone and buy a new SIM or network activation code (on CDMA) to get started with unlimited talk, text and data for $45 a month.

Half the Cost

This is the big one for me.  Straight Talk is half the cost.  $45 a month for Unlimited talk, text and data.  You aren’t bound to a contract, no termination fees, nothing.  Just service and pretty much any phone you want to use.

I don’t know what you pay for cellular service in your house. I can tell you that most people I’ve talked to seem to pay $90 or more for their plans for just one person and have not spoken with anyone who pays less than $160 for 2 people in a house.  That may be regional, but I talk with a lot of people about their cell phone service. I like to spend smart.  I don’t want to pay $90 or $100 for service when I can get the equivalent for half of that.  I’d rather use that other $45 a month to have some fun, go on a date with my husband, pay down our mortgage principal- but not give it to a huge company!

The hardest part for me has been deciding WHICH phone I’d like to use.  I can’t wait to see what’s coming next for Straight Talk.

So I have a question for you- what kind of cell phone plan do you use?  Have you considered switching to an unlimited cell phone plan like Straight Talk?



This is a partnered post as part of my participation in the Straight Talk Testers program.  Opinions are my own. 

Say Hello to Office 365 Personal

Say Hello to Office 365 Personal

I LOVE Office 365.  It’s made my life- personally and professionally- so much easier. Things are just in sync with one another and having things available no matter where I am, without having to save or whatever? Priceless. Now it’s available in a personal version so for those of us who may not need it on multiple PC or Macs, we can save a little and enjoy all that Office 365 has to offer. When my friends at Lunchbox asked if I’d do a post with a giveaway to tell everyone about Office 365 Personal, I had to say yes! I love it!  Seriously. OneNote and OneDrive are worth it for me. I use both all day, every day.  Other too, but those are my 2 main. LOVE them.

office365 personal

Introducing Office Personal 365, a brand new version just for you.

Personal gives you all the perks of Office 365 for less — including installations on 1 PC or Mac, 1 Tablet + mobile, as well as subscriptions for your favorite Office Professional apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook. Get anywhere access across your devices for the low price of $69.99 annually or $6.99 monthly. Your apps will always be up to date and you can enjoy the benefits of 20 GB of additional OneDrive storage plus 60 minutes of Skype calling per month.


Office for iPad

With Office Personal 365, documents look better than ever on iPad and you never have to worry about losing your formatting. Take your work with you on the go and edit with ease on the always-up-to-date Word, Excel and Powerpoint apps.


One is not the loneliest number when it comes to new Office 365 Personal. Shop now or renew your subscription today. Available at Walmart.

 One reader will win a $50 Walmart Gift Card !!

To enter, retweet the following tweet:


You can also Tweet this yourself- just leave the link to your Tweet- but the tweet MUST include this exact verbiage:

Office 365 is here! RT for a chance to #win a $50 Walmart gift card! #OfficeGiveaway

Another Tweet to RT for extra chances to win:

This giveaway will end on Sunday, April 27 at 11:59pm EST.

8 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 8.1 at Staples (Twitter Party) April 7 #byeXP

I am a Windows Champion and have partnered with Windows and Staples to host this Twitter party. Opinions are my own.

I hope you’ll join Windows and Staples (and me!) on Monday, April 7.  We’re going to be talking about 8 reasons to Upgrade to Windows 8.1 at Staples during this party, because who doesn’t want to have the most current technology? Really, as service for WindowsXP ends on April 8th, if you aren’t using a newer form of Windows, you could be putting your information at risk.  Be smart. Be safe. Besides…I find  8.1 to be so much more FUN to use than XP ever was!

I myself have been using Windows 8.1 for many months and I find it so much easier to use than any other Operating System I’ve come across.  The touch screen devices only help to enhance the experience and make it even more user friendly.

I hope you’ll come join us for some tech talk and fun… and a fabulous giveaway!  Of course Windows and Staples aren’t going to have all this talk about upgrading and cool new operating systems without a fantastic prize for someone lucky!

XP & Staples Twitter Party Promo Image

Date: April 7

Time: 12-1 PM PST/ 3-4 PM ET

Who to follow: @brettbmartin (Host) @Windows  @Staples

Prizes/Giveaways: One Microsoft Surface Pro 2 valued at $999.00 courtesy of Staples

Hashtag: #byeXP


Not sure if you are running XP on your current device? Visit and you’ll know instantly when the page loads. During the party, we’ll also be talking all about a fabulous Staples Upgrade Offer, and reasons you want to have current technology for both your home and work devices. At the end of the party, we’ll be giving one very lucky participant a Surface Pro 2 valued at $999 thanks to Staples!!


Staples Upgrade Offer:

“Bring in any working Windows XP computer and receive a free data transfer with the purchase of a Windows 8 PC.”

  • Runs Sun 3/30- Sat 5/3
  • Windows XP computer must be able to boot into the operating system
  • Valid in-store only
  • Not valid on Windows 8 RT or Android tablets


 To be eligible to win the Surface Pro 2, you must RSVP with your Twitter URL (see below for linky) and be an active participant in the party using the hashtag #byeXP.  

Winner to be chosen randomly from those who are both RSVP’d and have participated actively. US residents only.  Staples will be selecting the winner after the end of the party and contacting them directly.

Tips for Tax time and helpful budget tips

As I sit here looking at the far too big folder of all of our tax papers… and really just would like to avoid the task one more day, it got me to thinking about  budgets and taxes and ways to stay on top of things. My friends at Windows sent over these tips for tax time and helpful budget tips and I thought I’d share with you all.  I mean, we all have to pay taxes, right?  Whether we like it or not?

helpful budget tips

Are finances on top of your mind this month? With taxes due April 15th, there’s no better time to catch the budget bug!

 bing finance tips

Whether you’re interested in maximizing your refund or streamlining your finances for the year ahead, apps from Windows and Windows Phone have your back.  We love our Windows devices in this house (some of which were sent as part of the Windows Champions program but most of which we bought on our own.


1.       Check Your Status


Everyone has the same question as they’re filing their taxes – what’s my refund going to be?! Apps on Windows and Windows Phone remove the guesswork. TryTaxCaster on Windows Phone, utilizing the same calculator found in TurboTax, to quickly enter some basic information and watch your refund amount add up. Once you’ve filed, MyTaxRefund on Windows will allow you to quickly check the status of your return and give you an immediate estimate of when you can expect your refund.


2.       Make the Most of Your Refund


Sure, you’ve probably already made plans for how you want to spend some of your refund once you get it. What about the rest? Invest and maximize your refund with Bing Finance on Windows Phone and Windows, which helps you stay on top of fast-changing market conditions so you can make the most informed financial decisions. Keep an eye on all of your investments with SigFig, and sync all of your accounts in one place to track all of your stocks, funds, 401ks and IRAs in real time, available on Windows and Windows Phone.


3.       Budget Tips


Get in the mood to save more money for next tax season. On both Windows andWindows PhoneMint helps you understand where you’re spending your money with helpful charts and graphs that make saving easy. Use Billminder on yourWindows Phone or laptop to keep an eye on all of your monthly bills so you never miss a payment (and know how much you have left to spend!). Save for the next step of your life with MoBu Financial Management on Windows Phone andWindows. MoBu allows you to view your current financial assets as well as the opportunity to simulate your future savings with how much you can save in 5, 10, or 20 years!

 windows budget ideas

Make it Easy with Microsoft’s New Wireless Mobile Mouse 1850


You’ll find Microsoft’s new Mobile Mouse 1850 very helpful when trying to do your taxes, or stay on top of your finances from the road. Make your life easier and spend a little of your tax refund on this value mouse, that retails for only $14.95.


Designed for comfort and portability, the Wireless Mobile Mouse 1850 is great for life on the go, offering wireless freedom and built-in transceiver storage for ultimate mobility.

red mousenavy mousepurple mousepink mouse

Comfortable to use with either hand and with a scroll wheel for easy navigation, this mouse is the ideal device for your modern, mobile lifestyle. I really would like the pink one.  I love pink. In case anyone’s asking…

Savings Challenge(1)

If you are doing the weekly savings challenge, and you’ve maybe fallen behind or want to do a boost, consider throwing some of your tax refund towards it.


Have you filed your taxes? Do you have any helpful budget tips?


No compensation received for this post.  As part of my Windows Champions Ambassadorship, I have received devices to use to familiarize myself with Windows and Microsoft.  Opinions are my own.

The Microsoft Store in Farmington, Connecticut #WindowsChampions

A few weeks ago, the new Microsoft Store opened at the Westfarms Mall in Farmington, Connecticut. I was all kinds of excited to attend the media tour before the Grand Opening celebration and check out the store itself….but sad for me, I had a nasty bout of strep throat and wasn’t even able to get out of bed. My friend Kathy came to the rescue and headed down to cover the opening for me.

microsoft store farmington ct


I’ll be heading over in the next few weeks, because I just can’t stay away… if for nothing else but to drool over the Nokia Lumia line of phones and wish again that I had one of my own… So.  Microsoft Stores aren’t just a place to go and shop.  I mean, trust me, you want to go shop there. It’s just there’s a whole lot more to the stores.  Service, sales, community events and programs are all key components of the Microsoft Store Experience. (I feel like it needs that capital E because it really is an experience, not just a store).

microsoft store xbox

When new games are released they’ll host a tryout party so people can try games before they’re even released. That’s right. A party.  I’m not really sure if there will be balloons or cake, but there’s always hope, right? Still, trying before you buy especially with expensive games is a great thing.  It’s also nice if someone in your life is asking for a game and you aren’t sure if it’s going to be the best game for them- age appropriate, content, etc…. you can pop in and check it out BEFORE purchasing.  We’ve not bought tons of games to date but even with the few we’ve purchased we’ve found some duds.  That’s never fun to waste money.

This “Living room” area lets you try the games. Family friendly during the day so it’s kid safe. That’s a win for me, because I have this little guy in my house who would love to play video games all the time but given that he’s 6, I really don’t want him seeing many of the video games that exist in the world.  Family friendly is where I’m at in life and that’s what I like to see when I have my kids nearby.

microsoft store nokia lumia

Remember I mentioned the Nokia Lumia phones?  Do you know why I love them so much?  This love affair started months ago when I was in Seattle and I’m still thinking about them.  There’s a 41 megapixel camera on the Nokia Lumia 1020 windows phone. That’s more megapixels than I have on my Canon 60D DSLR. Yea.  That many. You can zoom in so close without losing quality. Lots of accessories including my favorite battery charging grip case. Office built in. Stabilizer for photo and video. Different lens effects. Blink mode is great to capture motion. (Just a note, I’m turning 40 in May, right around Mother’s Day, so if the Microsoft Fairy were to ask what I’d wish for….refer to this please). Remember, this is a PHONE we are talking about, with these features.  Not a camera. A smartphone.  There’s even different colors!!

microsoft store

Got tech questions?  Issues? There’s an Answer Desk at your Microsoft Store… with free services. Doesn’t even need to be purchased here NOR need to be a Microsoft product to get free help. Data recovery for $149 if they can help you in store. They’ll load your software purchased there too. My nephew Kyle will be REALLY happy I have someone else to bug with every.little.question that pops in my head about laptops, tablets or computers. Ecstatic maybe.

microsoft store theater


This is the Theatre. Microsoft will do personal training and workshops on days before the store opens to train on software. Oh yea!  Training . So when you get that new software and aren’t sure how to get familiar?  Go to the store.  Help is there!   There’s a 103″ tv for training. (I wonder if I visit if they’ll pull up my home page of my blog and let it stay on the tv for a while… imagine? 103″ of my own little piece of the internet??!! Crazy). The space can also be used for free community events. A business could bring in employees to learn Outlook. Or Boy Scouts could learn how to make movies and borrow the cameras in the store. Someone could rent the space for a gaming tournament. You can schedule your free event online. Yea. Free.  Sweet, right?

microsoft store 3d printer

This section features newest emerging tech like this MakerBot 3D printer. You can watch it work in the store, making these objects. And like all MS products, they’re all  easily compatible with other MS products. I got to see the MakerBot 3D printer printing about a foot away from me at Microsoft Headquarters in November.  Blew my mind.  I still have  hard time wrapping my head around what happens, but really? Its something to see.  I wish my grampa was alive to see, because he’d be blown away.

So– can you see why I have to call it the Microsoft Store Experience?  It’s not just a store. It’s oh so much more. Have you been to a Microsoft Store yet?

How to stay safe on Facebook

This post about How to Stay Safe on Facebook is brought to you through my Ambassadorship with Hotspot Shield.  Opinions are my own.

 how to stay safe on facebook

When it comes to Facebook, virtually everyone is joining in the fun. (Except my husband). In world where your Grandma is just as likely to have a profile as your best friend, Facebook has truly gone global. Along with that excitement comes a potential for danger as well, however. The web is full of examples of Facebook scams, phishers, identity thieves and the like. Add to that your garden variety burglars and criminals that have learned how to use Facebook to their advantage and you are at risk if you are not savvy about it. Here are some tips to shift the Internet safety factors back in your favor:

Set your privacy settings logically

If you don’t set your privacy features to “friends” you are allowing a whole lot of information about yourself to move about. To change these features, simply go to the little gear symbol at the top of your Facebook page, choose “privacy settings” from the drop down menu. From this page you can say exactly who and what can see or use your information.

facebook privacy

Understand that Facebook can and will make changes

Facebook has always been a fluid entity and they will occasionally make changes that can affect your security. Keeping up with these can be a headache, but a good place to start would be your privacy and account settings. Always stay aware of them and how they might change.

Never post personal information

Posting your personal info like your phone number, address and so on can be great fun when you hear from your bestie you haven’t seen since high school. When you start hearing from that creep that stalked you, it is no longer fun. It is also not fun at all when strangers start calling or an identity thief uses that info. Keep that stuff close the vest and share it individually with those you think should have it. (I just don’t have it visible in my account at all.  Problem solved).

privacy on facebook

Beware the revealing status update

When you post that you are out, others can use that information against you. When you post you are going on vacation, burglars can take note. What better place for a criminal to hang out than on Facebook? Be smart and always keep that information to yourself. Never ever post that you are alone or that you will be gone for a period of time. Even “friends” are sometimes not what you think they are.

unsafe facebook update

Use the same “friending” caution you would use in person

Be very cautious about who you link up with on Facebook. You would not go out to a bar and give out all your personal information and address. Why give out your life story to a stranger that may or may not have ulterior motives? Be wary of friend requests from strangers.

Skip the apps and games until they proven

Many of these are developed by small, independent companies that want your information to sell. Wait until they are proven safe and then enjoy after safely researching.

Change your password regularly

Choosing a different password often is a great way to thwart many online scams. The key is to not only change them, but to make them good. Choose a mixture of letters, symbols, upper-case and lower and numbers to put together a truly good password. This is perhaps the best and easiest way to make yourself safe there is. Nothing is foolproof but this is an easy win for anyone.

Check links with a malware/virus checker

Before you ever click on any link, you should run it through a link checker at a minimum. While this won’t be a perfect option by any means, it is a way to lower your risks. A very good one to try is This site will run it through various checks and give you some good information. Remember to right-click the link on Facebook and choose to “Copy” so that you can paste it without actually going there.

Although you can’t eliminate all risks on Facebook, these simple steps can make your risk very slim. If you do all of the above, most criminals will move on to easier pickings. The one thing you can count on about criminals is that they will always take the easiest road. Make it hard for them…even on Facebook.

 hotspot shield

One way you can make things harder for criminals to get your information? Use a VPN like Hotspot Shield. Benefits of using a VPN like this include:

  • Anonymous surfing – Because of privacy and security concerns, you may want to browse the Web anonymously. Hotspot Shield Free VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your computer and our servers to let you conduct your online activities (visit the websites you want, make online transactions, download files) anonymously, without being tracked and spied upon.
  • Hide your IP address – The Internet is infested with spammers, snoopers, and hackers. They silently monitor your online activities and steal your sensitive data like credit card information and passwords when you least expect it. If you connect with Hotspot Shield enabled, you get a new US IP address to mask your actual IP address and surf the Internet anonymously.
  • Private & secure browsing – VPN offers an enhanced level of security online. Whenever you connect to the Internet through Hotspot Shield VPN, your data, including passwords, financial transactions and instant messages, is secured and encrypted. Additionally, all of your personal information is hidden from web spies.
  • WiFi security – If you browse the Internet at a public WiFi hotspot like the Starbucks in your town, anyone on that network can monitor and spy on your web activities. Irrespective of where you connect from, a personal VPN secures your web browsing session and keeps your private data considerably more private.
  • Malware protection – Hotspot Shield VPN will alert you if you visit sites that are known to contain malware, and then block the site. It detects and blocks more than 3.5 million malicious, phishing and spam sites from infecting your device.

How do YOU stay safe on Facebook?

Weight Watchers Simple Start Program #SimpleStart

It’s the New Year, which inspires new resolutions by  many to lose weight, be healthier, and so many other things.  I was given a free one month subscription to Weight Watchers to try their Simple Start plan and write about my experience.Though I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own. I made a decision about a month ago that it was time to get serious about my weight.  Not just to look better, but because I want to stick around for a really, really long time. I need to BE healthy and LIVE healthy to set that example for my kids.  I owe it to myself. SO. 

I think part of the reason so many don’t keep resolutions is that doing something for 365 days can seem like a really, really long time.  For those who haven’t ever exercised, promising yourself you will exercise every single day for a year can kind of feel like all or nothing. And most of us  know how easy it is to miss a day for illness, and then when you are better, to have to catch up on other things in life, and well, that’s 2 days gone, and then you have fun plans the third day…. it’s easy to slip OUT of the mindset of that resolution once life happens.

There are countless programs out there designed to help regular folks like you and like me to help meet fitness and weight loss goals. One thing I really like about Weight Watchers’ Simple Start program is that it’s 2 weeks to start.  It’s not a year long commitment.  It’s 2 weeks.  2 weeks, and you get all kinds of tools to help you be successful.  Most of us can handle a 2 week commitment, right? Sign up is so easy, and takes a minute at most.

weight watchers simple start

Once you’ve created your information, it’ll double check that your info is correct.

weight watchers simple start 2

Once you are signed up,you can start following the Simple Start plan which makes things SO simple for us.

weight watchers simple start 3

You can also make customizations and set smaller goals for yourself. I really liked the “My Routines” section.  I’m great about having fruit with lunch and veggies at dinner.  But veggies at lunch?  Fruit at breakfast? Notsomuch. Also…I’ve fallen off my Fitbit wagon and need to start. So that was added in.  Putting my fork down is something I REALLY want to work on. So for a start, these are my routines I want to work on. Once they are more habit than conscious decision, I’ll change up my routines.

weight watchers simple start routines

Simple Start gives you a FULL 2 weeks of recipe ideas and suggestions.  Really, all we have to do is make sure we have ingredients and a bit of time to make them. Each recipe seems to have some “swaps” ideas so you can add protein, make it a vegetarian meal, dairy free, vegan.  This isn’t even all of the lunch options offered in the Simple Start!

weight watcher simple start lunches

If you look at the photos, those aren’t teeny tiny little meals!

Simple Start is exactly what it says it is.  A simple start to kick off your decision (I’m not saying resolution) to be healthier.  For whatever reason.  It’s a plan designed to give you a full set of tools to have a successful 2 weeks on the program to see what you think.  There is, of course, an app for Simple Start, so you can keep track and check in no matter where you are.

2 weeks. 14 days.  THAT is an attainable goal to give a weight loss plan a try, don’t you agree?

Do you have a decision (formerly known as resolution) to be healthier this year?  Have you tried Simple Start?