A New Style for 2017

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So last night I just randomly decided to change the entire design and style of my lifestyle blog CatherineVaughansWorld.com.

This choice has been determined by my recent foraying back into the blogs I enjoyed back in the day. On my gap Year in 2009 and in my first year of University I was dipping into to blogs by Leo Babauta, Tim Ferriss and Cal Newport. I became frustrated as well as deeply affected by the horrid things that had been going on in my life since my teens and needed a new outlook on life, a vision of how life could be. I was insatiably materialistic with a huge propensity to excess (in attitude and habit) in those days and knew it was not the way to be. The bloggers and writers mentioned above are somewhat collectively LifeHackers, a term fellow British readers may not be too familiar with as life-hacking techniques are not particularly present in our culture. It’s a very American concept and one that I didn’t realize I had been doing since my teen years before I discovered these online writers.

I felt the need for transformation on my blogs. Things had been brewing for a while. I had successfully updated, revitalized and changed the entire layout of my arts blog NouveauBohemian.com and now it was time for my namesake Lifestyle blog to get the same treatment.

This former website design and aesthetic is simply too much. Too colourful, too bold. It’s crowded and distracted. It’s time for change. Time for simplicity. Time to pare things down to the bare essentials.

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It reflects the old me that had to be bold and striking but now I’m fed up of that approach and crave simplicity and spareness, even boringness.

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I want to go back to the roots of my reading and writing style. Previously I thought my obsession with efficiency and discipline would reduce my artsy credibility so to speak, but then I realized that firstly those qualities shape me and enable me to find pieces of success in the arts field and secondly fellow admirers of productivity tips are actually quite Bohemian. The likes of Ferriss, Babauta and Newport are often contrarian in their views. They’re non-conformist types. If anything efficiency and productivity are non-conformist traits because there’s so little presence of it in daily conventional life despite it being necessary for a functional life.

I was watching an interview with ZenHabits.net blogger Leo and FourHourWorkWeek.com blogger Tim and realizing these guys are the Zen Bohemians that Laren Stover writes about in her book The Bohemian Manifesto.

Something else I’ve also had to accept in life is that these kinds of people are basically the top in their field and that such discussions in the video just do not happen in real life, sadly. It’s not a typical topic of discussion at all… Though it seems quite natural to me….

I no longer have to choose either side as both sides of myself the artistic, romantic and sensitive dreamer can work in unison with my detail-orientated, productivity-seeking and perfectionist tendencies.

I’m glad I’m embracing this side of myself again and also discussing such writers because they’ve been so influential on my life and are cumulatively a supreme bank of knowledge. I hope maybe some readers of this blog will check out these incredible writers mentioned on this post:

Tim Ferriss
His books, USA Link: http://amzn.to/2ikY071
UK Link: http://amzn.to/2hkiSvm
Blog:
FourHourWorkWeek.com

Cal Newport
His books, USA Link: http://amzn.to/2i0nLGT
UK Link: http://amzn.to/2il9RC1
Blog:
CalNewport.com/blog

Leo Babauta
His books, USA Link: http://amzn.to/2hQGTZE
UK Link: http://amzn.to/2hgA4QI
Blogs:
ZenHabits.net
Mnmlist.com/archive/


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Cyber Security

Social media gives criminals a blueprint into your life.

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In light of Kim Kardashian’s horrific ordeal and theft at gun point potentially due to her incessant use of social media, I felt the need to discuss how harmful brazen uploads of your life can be on these sites. The problem remains that sharing such info can essentially give the sneaky and corrupt more insight on how to scam the innocent but social media must be questioned and not undermined.

In many ways, the ‘specialists’ who targeted Kardashian have never had it so good. There were immediate and predictable claims of an inside job, but today’s professional criminals can glean all they need via social media and computer hacking. They don’t need to befriend and/or blackmail anyone. – Wensley Clarkson (The Telegraph)

When suspicious activity is detected on your bank card the bank will ask you to confirm your most recently spend items. Criminals could possibly bypass this. Suppose you ‘instagrammed’ your recent spends innocently by tagging yourself at a Starbucks, showing off a new dress you bought and geo-tagged that you are out of town. Therein lies a plethora of information for criminals to use and pretend to be you! Of course the security questions are usually a sufficient means of protection, but you can see how much privacy you are breaching of your own bank account by simple photo uploads.

Also from my own basic and free to use web traffic stats monitor I can get info on the city, time of viewing plus the operating system of each person that views my website. Freaky. Also it can identify the site viewers web browser i.e. Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc. Notably Chrome users have the options to have their username and passwords saved for each site… You catch my drift. Though stats are not always 100% accurate and may not track every visitor nor accurately identify the city, it can still recognize viewers from search engine sites that are supposedly ‘incognito.’ Scary stuff!

From experience I’ve learned to not post reviews of items I’ve recently purchased and most importantly do not review items such as your mobile, laptop, PC or tablet device as it gives potential hackers too much information to get into your system.

Social media and the web are fantastic tools but like most things in life they are a double edged sword, so beware guys.

New York Times article on the topic: “A New Era of Internet Attacks Powered by Everyday Devices”