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life lately | kory woodard

Can y’all believe that it’s already mid-October? I can’t believe that there are just two more weeks until it’s freaking November. November, y’all! I won’t waste any time here though, if you follow me on social media, you know some exciting stuff has been going on in my life, so I’ll go on ahead and dive in to the news (list style, again!):

+ Well, in the last currently post I shared that I was engaged, and now I’m married! I can’t believe it, but it’s been a week now since we officially tied the knot. Being apart and D being military makes things a little tougher, so we decided to go on ahead and make it official so we can ensure that by the end of the year we have a home together in South Carolina.

+ Also in the last post I announced that I was working on an ecourse. As y’all know by now, I’ve officially given it a name: Brand Catalyst. I’ve been spending as much time as I can to develop the content for it. It’s going to be running after the first of the year, but registration will open later this year. If you want to be the first to know when it opens, sign up here.

+ I haven’t meditated once since setting my goals for this month. I truly was going to, but sometimes it’s tough to work into my day. Instead, I’ve just been trying to be more conscious about when I’m feeling stressed or just not good in general. Hopefully in the next few days I can get back to meditating. Along this health part, today makes 79 days without a soda! I’m still pretty stoked on that, y’all!

+ Going along with me moving to SC, I’ve decided to not take on any new clients in December this year. Between the holidays, moving, and spending time with D and our families, I don’t anticipate having tons of time or wanting to spend time away from my loved ones. Instead I’ll finish up with my clients, finish up developing content for Brand Catalyst, and enjoy time with my loved ones.

Other than those sort of little things, I’ve become obsessed with ABC’s new drama How To Get Away With Murder, I’ve been working on finishing up several really awesome projects, one of which I’ll be sharing tomorrow, and last Sunday was my birthday so I’m officially 23. I’m a little sad that I can’t sing, “I’m feeling twenty-twooooo!” anymore.

But enough about me! What’s going on with y’all?! Fill me in!

weekend reading | 10.17.14

weekend reading | grab a cup of tea and check out these posts!

TGIF, friends! I have to say, I’m just a tiiiny bit sad it’s already Friday, but that’s pretty much only because I had such a short week. However, I’m totally okay with why I had a short week (you know, hanging with my man)! Other than that, these last two days have been awesome. I’ve wrapped up two really great projects, which I just can’t wait to share with y’all. I’ve also been lucky enough to start a few projects with some awesome women. Can’t wait to share more on those!

In the meantime, let’s look at some good stuff this weekend, yeah?

Kayla wrote a great guest post on Olivia’s blog about owning your personal brand! If you’re online and trying to build any sort of presence, you need to read this post!

Lisa wrote (another) great post, this one on 8 plugins she uses on each site she codes. I actually use the last two on a few of my own sites around here!

Looking for some books to read now that the weather is cooling down? Jen shared several great books for creatives. I’ve got a few on my to-read list!

Seriously wishing I had my future dog so I could dress her up in this genius and hilarious costume from Chelsea at Lovely Indeed. My current dog here at my parents’ would never go for anything like this. What a party pooper!

Having a mentor is something I never really thought about (my all time favorite professor was pretty much mine while in school), but it’s a popular idea now-a-days. If you’ve been thinking about getting one, Paige has some great tips on what to look for.

Have you ever really thought about how you start your morning? Reading Megan’s 5 ways to make your morning better post had me reflecting on my own routine. I, too, try to spend a little time soaking up inspiration before jumping into work.

To do lists are an obviously necessity for, well.. everyone, but what about done lists? Allyssa make a great point about them this week!

Own a small business and struggling with money? The Dream Job Shop has you covered with a few simple money management basics!

P.s. In case you missed it around here: I’m celebrating Ciera’s 5 year blogging anniversary with a group of awesome people, and we’re giving away a $400 prepaid Mastercard! Also, Alison of Tiny Blue Orange dropped some knowledge on us about what we need to be doing to secure our WordPress blogs!

moodboard | light + free

moodboard : light + free | by kory woodard

Have I ever told y’all one special thing that I enjoy about my work? Aside from the fact that I’m doing something I love and helping people (and getting paid to do those things), is that I get to work with all sorts of people with all sorts of styles that they’re into. I feel like I’ve done such a variety of work this year, and it’s awesome to look back and see that range.

Anyhow, after the last couple of boards, the most recent ones I’ve worked on, this one included, have been much more light and open which I just love. I think it feeds into my love of whitespace, but it’s refreshing to work on projects with soft or neutral color palettes, just like this one!

This moodboard is for a lovely blogger on the other side of the pond from me (people still call the Atlantic a pond, right?). She was a journalism student before starting her blog, which is where she likes to get creative and talk about things like beauty, fashion, and just life in general. A few of the words we’re focusing on are honesty, warmth, hope, and friendliness. I think those words work just perfectly with this moodboard.

Back to the board itself, I have to say I was thrilled when I saw she had pinned work from one of my favorite people  the Ale logo is from Corina or Cocorinna).

Can’t wait to share more of this project with y’all as it progresses!

P.s. Due to the holidays and my personal plans, I will NOT be taking on any new clients this December. So, if you’re thinking you want a new blog design or a refreshed branding for the new year, don’t hesitate to grab a spot in my schedule for November! Otherwise, you’ll be waiting until January.

living in a small town

living in a small town | photo by kory woodard

Aside from being away from my guy, the main thing that bummed me out about moving home after college was the fact that I knew I was moving back to such a small town. Now, if you’re from a bigger city (i.e. if you have coffee shops, a Target, or actual things to do as a young person), you may not understand. However, I know some of y’all can relate. In Clarksville  (where I went to college, in case you’re new here), we literally had three Walmarts (my least favorite store) and more things to do and places to eat than you cared to even try for. My hometown on the other hand? We barely have one Walmart, and a recreation center that was the hang out place back when I was in high school. Not even one coffee shop, y’all.

Living in a small town may seem impossible, but since I’ve been back home for nearly five months, I wanted to share some pointers for those of you who may be facing a similar fate:

Take a second look Elise (of HSP) brought this idea to my eyes in the HSP Instagram class back in September. I think we see our small towns through one set of eyes for so long that we don’t really see it anymore. When you start to take a second look at things you’ll begin to appreciate it a little more. For me, I thought the square in my hometown was rundown and boring. That was until one day when I drove by and thought, “Wow! That actually looks really neat..” When you take a second look at your small town, it’ll really give you the chance to appreciate it more than maybe you have been, which will always help.

Get creative When you start taking a second look around your town, you may start to see things you maybe didn’t notice or hadn’t thought of. Seeing new things will help you get creative with what you already have. For instance, have you ever thought about just heading to your local library to work for the day? Heck, in my case, I opened my eyes one day while I was out and realized there’s a Christian café here in my hometown that I had never noticed the weeks prior when I was driving by. Maybe there’s a new place you can go for a walk, or a different road you can take on your way to the grocery store. Finding little ways to get creative may open you up to new things!

Be open to heading out of town One thing that definitely sucks is not having any (or many) local creatives in my small town, and that may be something you struggle with as well. Although it’s not always ideal, sometimes you just need to be okay with packing up and heading out of town for an afternoon. I’ve down that twice over the past month, and it’s nice to spend a little bit of time grabbing a coffee and working in a bit of a bigger city. It also gives you a chance to check out a new place and maybe even meet a new friend, remember when I mentioned that I met Lauren?

Living in a bigger city has it’s perks, but living in a small town isn’t all bad. What size area do you live in? How do you best take advantage of where you are?

photo by me

wordpress security for bloggers

Hey friends! I’m currently on my way back home after visiting D, and I thought this would be a great time to have my gal Alison from Tiny Blue Orange hang out and chat with everyone about security, something I know we could all stand to learn more about! She’s a genius when it comes to these things, so I hope you take away at least one thing from her. Without further ado, here she is! 

Wordpress Security | a guest post by Alison Monday

Coming up with content for your blog takes some time + energy. Which is why losing all of your existing blog posts + comments would really, really suck. But you don’t have to put your site content at risk every day. If you tackle these 3 areas, you’ll be protected from a truly crappy circumstance if your site {or server} is ever hacked.

LOGIN DETAILS

The most common way for someone to gain access to your site is through the login screen. And thanks to the ease of WordPress, there are a lot of sites using default information. The first major problem with most logins is “admin” as a username + the second is using the built in login URL {yoursitename.com/wp-admin}. The problem with using those defaults is that you are doing the hacker’s job for them by eliminating the need for them to figure out your login URL or username.

I’ll dig into changing the URL in the next step, but let’s start with making sure your username + password are super secure. If you are using admin, your first name or your business name to login, head to the “Add User” section of your dashboard + set up a new account right away. Unfortunately WordPress won’t let you change your username on an existing account, but in a couple minutes, you’ll have a secure account to access your site with. When creating your new account, pick a secure password by using something like this password generator + make sure to store the information securely.

After creating your new login details, log out of the not-so-secure account, log back in using the new one you just made + then head to the user list to delete the one that isn’t doing you any favors in the security department. All you have to remember is to attribute all posts to the new username {don’t worry, WordPress will ask if this is what you want to do before you get too far.}

BRUTE FORCE ATTACKS

There are tons of terms + phrases used when talking about hackers. I think the most important one for small business owners + bloggers to understand is “brute force attack”. It boils down to someone repeatedly trying to log into your site by using a script or program to try hundreds or thousands of login details until they get access. The key thing to know is that hackers often don’t target a site because of who the site belongs to, they are usually looking for easy targets that allow them to do the most damage the fastest. Which means it’s not personal, but also that no one is immune from being a target.

Hands down, the easiest way to protect yourself from brute force attacks is to install a plugin that limits the number of login attempts a user can make in a given time period. For example, your site could limit 4 guesses before a user is locked from trying any other passwords during the next hour. It may sound complicated, but thanks to a few plugin options, it’s an easy thing to do.

My two favorites are “Limit Login Attempts” + “iThemes Security.” The first one hasn’t been updated in a bit, but is a simple plugin that just enables protection to your login page. The second is a pretty robust plugin that also helps you change your login URL {from step 1} along with a dozen other security settings. Both plugins are 100% free, which is the best!

Note: iThemes Security will take a bit of time to fully set up + can feel a bit overwhelming. Don’t get discouraged though, iThemes has amazing tutorials + a guide that walks you through everything you need to do.

BACKUPS

So the worst news of all is that no matter what you do, you can never protect yourself completely from a hacker. The main reason is that the majority of all WordPress sites + blogs are on a shared server – whether it’s a standard shared server or a VPS, which still has other clients sharing space. That means the server is only as secure as the weakest site on it + you are putting the security of all your content into someone else’s hands.

Now for the good news, because I’d hate to end on a low note. There is something you can easily do to protect your site in this type of situation + that is to run frequent site backups. Because if something truly unfortunate happens + your site is hacked or goes down, you will have a backup copy to revert to. Let’s say you run weekly backups. At most you would lose 6 days of work on your site which is 100 times better than starting from scratch.

The biggest thing to keep in mind with backups is that you want to backup everything {not just the database} + storing those backups off your server is best. If the server blows up {a bit dramatic, but you get the idea} backups aren’t going to do you any good if you can’t get to them.

I always recommend BackupBuddy for this sort of thing but it isn’t a free option. It seems worth it to me since you can schedule backups to run without needing to remember them + can set it to automatically store them on your Amazon S3 or dropbox account. Some hosting companies will take care of backups for you but everything is kept in house. Either way, it is worth doing a little research to find a backup solution to protect your site + your hard work.

If you wanted to tackle all 3 steps, I’d recommend setting aside about an hour of your time to get everything set up {especially for setting up iThemes Security + BackupBuddy.} But 1 hour is worth it to do your best to avoid getting hacked + having a plan b in case your site does get broken into.

Want to do a little more to keep your WordPress site safe + sound? Curious about which of these three steps your site is in most need of? Take this free security assessment to analyze which spots are the weak points on your site + learn exactly what you can do to fix it.

Tiny Blue Orange

About Alison Monday

Alison is the WordPress security guard + developer behind tiny blue orange. When she’s not protecting websites with her two dogs, Pixel + Brutus, she’s traveling or working out. Ok, likely working out.