Author Archives: Barb

The Spy Online May Not Love You

Barb Here

Every Online Site Could Be a Spy

When we returned to the States in 2016, I was surprised to be overwhelmed by numerous technical issues. After all, we’d had a semi-smart phone that took SIM cards from various countries, an iPad, and a 2014 Dell Laptop—how out of date could I be? Yeah. Let me count the ways: real smartphones, the high cost of data plans, people who text all the flipping time, and every site seemed to Spy on us.  I was surprised when things I’d casually viewed on a shopping site popped up all over Facebook, and stunned when shopping sites required that I provide my email before browsing their online store.  We don’t give brick and mortar stores our ID when we browse and I suggest we don’t frequent overly inquisitive online sites, either—because the spy online may not love you. (Zulilly wants my email in order to even look at their merchandise. Not going to happen. I have followed Lynnelle’s suggestion and am getting rid of unwanted email blasts, not adding to them.)

Amazon, the Spy I tolerate

Amazon got my info years ago and probably knows more about me than I want to know. Like most, I was enticed by the books, eBooks, and Kindles. Stew’s iPad is registered to my account so that he can read the books I’ve purchased, and we signed up with Prime for the free shipping and the free Prime Videos.

Until I Don’t

The other day, as I was actually working on Facebook for Heels and Tevas and a client, I was at first surprised to see ads for a bright yellow tool show up again and again and again. I swear that there was a point where three photos of the dang thing were on the page view at the same time. We needed a laser thermometer for projects (not people) and EW had been searching for them on Amazon. He liked this one but hadn’t purchased it and Amazon WANTED ME TO KNOW THEY HAD IT AND THAT WE HADN’T ORDERED IT!

After conferring with EW, I ordered the damn thing and POOF ads gone.

Counter-espionage Measures


There are solutions for this issue.

  1. When I go to a new site that’s unfamiliar to me, I open an “Incognito” Tab. In Google, you just click on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner and choose “New Incognito Window”. (Careful! Make sure you are on a new tab, or you will close out whatever you were doing on the current tab.) Now, you can browse to your heart’s delight.
  2. You Apple people can do the same thing in Safari. Open the Safari menu and choose “Private Browsing”. You disable it to get back to your normal browsing.
  3. In Amazon, you can change your advertising preferences so that they don’t use your browsing history to bombard you with ads for things you looked up ‘for a friend”. USA Today had an article with directions, but either they missed a step or Amazon made it just a tiny bit more difficult. Here’s what I had to do to make those changes today.
  • Log into Amazon and click on your username in the top right corner.
  • Click on “Your Account”
  • Find the box titled “Email Alerts, Messages, and Ads
  • Click “Advertising Preferences”
  • Opt for “Do not personalize ads”

There you go. The next time you look up “Pee-proof Underwear” (for a friend), you will not have all those very interesting ads showing up in your timeline for weeks.

You are entirely welcome.




You are Freakin’ Awesome! Own it.

Barb Here

I am freakin’ awesome and a work in progress.

This is exactly what Lynnelle and I have been talking about! Seriously, I had big plans for ending 2017 and for starting 2018. Big plans that were derailed by weather, icky colds, poor planning, and lack of execution. This does not make 2018 a failure already. Like me, 2018 is a work in progress.

Traditional New Year’s resolutions can create huge expectations. Our future doesn’t care when we start to “get things right”—January 1, March 31, October 18 (or 1979, 1985, 2010) —none of it matters. What matters is that we flippin’ do it.

Bundled Up Barb


(Lynnelle butting in here… Barb is so polite. If you knew what she is living through as she types this  (living in the cabin of a sailboat with EW -normally a lovely thing – in the coldest weather St. Augustine has seen since Ponce de Leon landed on the shores – in wind gusts up to 50 mph – and no furnace – only a sailboat-type heater for the coolish St. Thomas kind-of-nights… Her laptop wouldn’t power up because it was too cold… aka: almost freezing… aka:  cold as shit, 40 degrees INSIDE their galley cold… and she has a cold – and EW is just getting over his BAD cold… basically – they’re in hell and it’s freezing over…)  you’d be AMAZED she’s not using the real “f” word all over this post.  Flipping’ just doesn’t have the same UMPH! as fuck. When you read through this piece, I encourage you to read “fucking” when you see “flippin'”. It is soooo much more appropriate given the circumstances. Sorry Barb.)

Barb Here… We need to write a post about the F-Bomb. I say it (much too frequently) but still don’t use it on social media. Lynnelle was surprised that I chose this meme. Oh, hell, Lynnelle was delighted I chose this meme.  And now back to our regularly scheduled post…

Flippin’ Do The Things that Make You Freakin’ Awesome

What matters is that we flippin’ DO the things we believe will help us to be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled. What matters is that we recognize those things, define what we need to change to make them happen, and begin the work required. Step by step. Every day. Creating new habits for the rest of our lives.

That’s it. Some folks will choose to focus on one item at a time; others will pick and choose from a list and tackle a few, and others will work on everything all at once. (Bless their hearts).  I’ve tried it all. This year, I’m going to work on a number of different things, but some will take a higher priority. First and foremost, I’m going to be kind to me. Sometimes, I will be kind by letting myself off the hook and sometimes I will be kind by kicking myself in the arse—the trick is to learn when to do one and when to do the other. I’ve often beat myself up for things that weren’t mine to own or (more often) didn’t matter, and let myself off the hook for things that matter a great deal. It’s time to woman up.

What Can You Do This Minute?

What can I do right this minute that will make today a better day than yesterday and that will help me live a fulfilled life? What do I need to let go? What habit do I need to change? What truth do I need to accept?

What can I do this day that will help me move forward in the areas that are truly important for me? In my case, health and financial well-being? For me, everything else will be the raspberry in the salad. (Not gravy on the mashed potatoes or the cherry on top of a sundae—for obvious reasons.)

It’s OK to accept that I may not have started 2018 exactly as I would have wished. But it’s not OK to allow any temporary setback/icky cold/bad weather/attitude challenge/fear of failure/or lack of planning to derail where I want to be in 2019. That meme may have touched a nerve today. But it will mean nothing to me 365 days from now.

I am Freakin’ Awesome. You are Freakin’ Awesome! Own it!

I have a vision of the woman I can be, and I deserve to be her. She is freakin’ awesome! She is worth it.

You are, too.



My Head Start on 2018

Barb Here

My head start on 2018 was to begin my wellness practices in 2017 and this has proven to be brilliant! (I love being brilliant.) After quite a bit of reading and research, I’d decided that the best way for me to lose weight and get in shape was to change my eating habits for life. The most drastic change would be cutting out sugar.

Sugar in the Mornin’

Oh, Sugar, How I love Thee. Let me count the ways. I wasn’t a sneaky kid, except when it came to sugar but can remember pouring a bowl of Cocoa Puffs for a Saturday morning cartoon snack—if my mother was not in sight. No milk was involved, but I added at least 2 teaspoons of white sugar to the bowl filled to the brim with cloying chocolatey sweetness. My default comfort food is candy or chocolate with a bit of salt added. In Jr. High, I loved pink Canada mints in a bowl of potato chips. The words still appeal to me, but when I tried this treat during a moment of nostalgia in my 30’s it no longer satisfied.

Have Yourself a Happy Little Holiday

Barb Here

I don’t miss Christmas Cards.  Yesterday I was in line in the Post Office, waiting patiently, and listening. One young woman was putting holiday stamps on a big pile of cards and gleefully exclaimed, “I only have 27 more to write tonight!” I do not miss that. We haven’t sent cards since 2010 when we left to go sailing. After that first year, I no longer missed receiving cards, either.

What’s Your Road Trip Style?

Barb Here

I’m soloing today while Lynnelle is on her road trip.

Heels Diva Short Hop Adventure

Lynnelle never fails to impress me and this road trip plan is an excellent example. She, her sweetie, and the Littlest are traveling just over 1000 miles from Elgin, Texas to St. Augustine, Florida and taking five days to get here. She has planned adventure or family stops at every location along the way. I expect she will arrive refreshed and full of stories about NASA, swamps, and music. Her secret? She plans to drive for a maximum of only three and a half hours each day. I had suggested a detour from Tallahassee to St. Pete, she looked up the distance and declared, “No! That’s too far.” (It was four and a half hours, though, in fairness, a lot farther from there to St. Augustine.)

An Ode to My Tevas

Barb Here (Of course)

Why Tevas?

Seriously, when we set sail for parts south, I had to find a boat/outdoor/walking sandal that would work for our lifestyle, fit my foot, not mar the boat, and provide some support on easy to medium hikes. I went through two brands of boating sandals before discovering Tevas, and while there may be others that would work, I love my Tevas.