Online Dating: 4 Tools That May Keep You Safe

online dating, the reporter and the girl, s.c. rhyne, interweb, connection

With a surge of dating sites and apps, online dating has become the norm. Hey, it’s how TheGirl met the reporter, after all! Most websites and apps require a detailed profile or access to your social media accounts including Facebook. Whenever you pony up personal information online, you take on some risks. Keep it fun and practical sans the danger with these tools. It’s better to be prepared and know that you’ve protected yourself before opening up to complete strangers and letting others into your personal life online.

Lifelock

Lifelock is a company that protects users against identity theft. Through its system, it tracks and alerts you if someone is trying to use your identity for different services. Based off of five points of protection including monitoring, scanning, restoring, guaranteeing and tracking, you can have peace of mind that your identity is protected. Not only do you have that guarantee, Lifelock also sends alerts to your email or phone whenever a threat is detected, and each month members are sent a summary email of their account with a report on the health of your identity. Another added bonus is that the company sends out newsletters about the latest security breaches so you can be proactive and protect yourself.

Smartphone

Not only should you have your cellphone on you at all times, alert friends and let them know of your exact location. Call them when you get to the location and when you arrive home safely after the date. Another way to use your phone to protect yourself is to set up tracking. All smartphones are equipped with a GPS device that tracks your phone. These location services must be set up and activated before finding your device, so make sure that you are all set before you go on your first date.

5Star Urgent Response

Along with GPS tracking, this small device that can be attached to your key chain has a built-in emergency response system. For those who do not have a smartphone or want to take the extra step to protect themselves, this 5Star device offers online tools that track your location. Give the login to a close friend or family member so they can track where you are if you go on a date. Also, the device offers instant access to an emergency and medical alert system at the push of a button.

Background Check

After you’ve met up with someone a few times, it might behoove you to run a background check on the person. Although it may sound a little extreme, doing a background check is a great way to protect yourself before you get in too deep. For as little as a few dollars, you can find out someone’s past public records including any criminal action, divorces and legal action taken against him or her. Detailed reports can give you peace of mind and an early heads up if there are past behaviors that you should have reservations about.

Something we all would want to know about!

@ReporterandGirl

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And a Very Merry…

christmas dinner, honey rosemary chicken, holiday tradition, the reporter and the girl, roasted chicken

A very happy holidays to all! I hope most of you are in bed sleeping off whatever happened last night (no judgment)!

I spent most of my day preparing dinner for my family. It is the second year that we did this; but it looks like it is becoming a tradition that I cook for the family on Christmas and make my own eggnog!

I totally love it –the eggnog and the tradition!

Featured above, is the honey rosemary chicken that we feasted upon.

I am hoping with the next few days off, I can get back to writing as I have slacked off the last month or so, but I did want to drop a quick note to wish everyone a happy season and a very merry New Year!

And…share my recipe for the chicken and fruit stuffing.

For Brine:

  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • neck and giblets removed and reserved

For Stuffing:

  • 1/2 cup rice (I use Basmati)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 pear
  • 1/4 cup chopped and pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup chopped and pitted figs
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cranberries

For the brine, bring 4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add salt, honey, peppercorns and rosemary in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt. Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate until needed.

Place chicken in a leak proof ziplock bag,or in a pot or container. Pour brine into the bag or container. Make sure chicken is completely submerge in brine mixture for at least two hours up until 24 hours.

When you’re ready to roast, preheat oven to 350°F, and cook rice as instructed on package. Peel, core, and chop the apple and pear. Once the rice is done, pour in a bowl, and mix in the chopped apple, pear, dates, figs, rosemary, fresh cranberries, and honey. Mix well.

Remove chicken from brine and proceed to add stuffing into the cavities.

Now some folks prefer to add the giblets into the stuffing mixture, but we prefer to cook it on the side; its up to your preference on how you cook the giblets.

Place chicken in a pan and into the oven, baste every 25 minutes. After the first hour and a half, flip the chicken so it can roast on its other side. For the 6.6 pound chicken featured here — roasting was just under 3 hours.

Enjoy! And let me know how it turns out!

@ReporterandGirl

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You Are What You Are

renne talley, butt implants, plastic surgery, botched surgery, body image, the reporter and the girl

So believe it or not, I actually had the motivation to write a 700-word post last night, that was all ready to go for the world to see, after “one last edit”, and then my browser froze. Like…brought my computer back to the ice ages froze. Although I could helplessly see my post, I couldn’t copy and paste the words else where, nor had WordPress’ new shortcut-to-post feature allows a draft to be automatically saved.

Not sure why a company would invest money into a new feature that leaves out this crucial function, but I digress.

So I spent the better part of my Sunday evening, starting out as I normally do: checking emails and social media — catching up on the things I missed during the week.

Or even for the better part of the year.

I had clicked on a link on Facebook that brought me to the entertainment site, Bossip.com where I went through several sets of slideshows that all began with “13 Celebrities you didn’t know…”  Apparently, tinsel town is overrun by a lot “fake” “multiracial” celebrities with extensive criminal records and bad breath.

But what really caught my curiosity, was the Kim Kardashian slide show on her infamous butt. I looked through 6 years of her butt.  And other celebrities who apparently had botched “butt jobs.”

vanity wonder, butt surgery, butt implant, the reporter and the girl
Model and “anti-butt implant” Activist, Vanity Wonder from crunktastical.net

Ms. Vanity Wonder, to my left, is one such celebrity/author who went through over 16 injections, by who knows who on the streets. She felt that a curvier appearance would boost her dancing career. Luckily, she had not had any life threatening complications, but is currently an advocate against this black market plastic surgery.

I honestly have to say, that is a phenomenon that is still foreign to me. I remember reading in the tabloids many years ago about a stripper wanting a bigger butt, but she went to a surgeon who put in breast implants instead of the correct ones, and ruining her career. And I remember thinking (at my very young age) that such a surgery was so unheard of, that the “correct implants” must not have existed!

I grew up during a time of “Does this make my butt look big?” and wanting to hear “no”.

I even remember jokingly, my adolescent peers referring to my behind as “gluteus minimus”, but since I never hit double digits in most brands of jeans, it really didn’t phase me. I more than made up for it with the double D(s)anger assets I carried up front.

But alas, thousands of women in the U.S are getting this type of surgery to add volume to their derrieres.  Some are paying serious consequences from infections to losing limbs, and even their lives.

The woman in the featured photo is from Renee Talley’s youtube. She took a video of herself last year flipping her implant. That’s right. Her implant flipped upside-down while inside of her, and she can flip it back….like a pancake.

Now, although I don’t understand this current trend in artificial enhancement, I do understand the need for perfection or body image. My idea of beauty is different from someone else’s.  And I’m very glad that the media has started to embrace the diversity of body shapes, I just hope that some of these shapes are natural and we aren’t simply replacing one evil (rail thin anorexia) for another (see above).

After 6 months of extensive training which includes a couple hundred jump squats a week, I apparently have maximized by rear-end portfolio as well (unintended consequence) and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback.

But, have I ever thought of getting plastic surgery? Hell yeah…not too long ago I was talking with a fellow gym rat about going South somewhere for a good deal, but could I prepare myself for the risks and having to live the rest of my life with certain scars? That has me second guessing.

Man is not perfect, thus no man can make me perfect; no matter what medical school he graduated from. So I’ll be living with my flaws and lumps for a little while longer.

What about you? If you came into a pile of cash or a magic genie and could change something about yourself, would you?

Tell me!

@ReporterandGirl

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Split Up Chores, Keep Marriage Together

splitting up chores, married couple, doing dishes together

What’s your least favorite household chore? Cleaning the toilet? Folding the laundry? Who does the house cleaning in your relationship? Studies show that couples who share household chores equally are happier, especially if both partners carry their fair share of the work agreeably. PsychCentral says divvying up household chores equitably and agreeably can be difficult for two-career couples, but it’s important to discuss and agree how to get the housework done.

All Things Equal

A University of Illinois study found that equal sharing of housework means a better chance for marital happiness. The study examined 220 heterosexual newly married couples and their beliefs, behaviors and marital quality. University of Illinois professor of human development and family studies Brian G. Ogolsky says it’s important for couples to work out their expectations for sharing chores in the first few years of their marriage because the patterns that get established persist and affect the quality of the marriage over time.

A Pew Research report supports these findings. Out of a list of nine things associated with successful marriages, sharing household chores ranked third in importance in a survey of American adults. This belief is consistent for men and women, young and older adults, and married and single survey participants.

Chores for Fun and Bonding

No one likes to get stuck cleaning up after everyone else. Turn chores into a positive instead of a negative by using them for fun and bonding. Doing chores together in a fun way gets them done faster, and time spent working toward a mutual goal means time to chat and enjoy each other’s company. Chat about your day while doing the dishes as one dries and one puts dishes away in the cabinet. Get a little exercise together while walking the dog. View bigger chores as a bonding experience. Cleaning out the garage or doing pool maintenance can be fun if you work as a team. Treat each other to an ice cream date after a long job well done.

Who Does What

Hartwell-Walker recommends thoroughly discussing different household chores, how both partners feel about them, and making a sincere effort to come to genuine agreement about who will do which chores. She advises couples to list out house cleaning chores, outside chores like cutting the grass and cleaning the gutters, child care responsibilities, and extended relationship chores like writing letters, sending cards, buying gifts and arranging social activities. Discuss each area and the items in them. Couples should explore how they feel about doing different types of chores, which chores they disagree about most, and what they both think is the fairest way to handle them.

Sheila Wray Gregoire, author of “To Love, Honor and Vacuum,” says chores can be used to bring couples closer together, rather than as a point of disagreement and discord. She recommends honoring each partner’s preferences and specialties in the areas of household chores, and revisiting work divisions when changes occur such as different work schedules, illness or injury or a new baby. Gregoire also reminds couples to be honest with each other about their real feelings about cleanliness and clutter because holding your partner to a higher or unrealistic standard of housekeeping perfection is a recipe for disaster.