Do you need a digital vault? 3 Questions to Ask

Avoid loss with a digital vault

Do you need an online vault? If you only had 10 minutes to evacuate your home, what could you locate and grab? Your birth certificate? Financial documents? That photo of your grandparents?

How much would you lose if you didn’t have digital copies in a secure location like a vault?

LegacyVault provides just that—a secure place to store digital copies of the things you would hate to lose. Sometimes replacing them is just a hassle, but other times they are irreplaceable and once lost, are gone forever.

Based on the following 3 questions, LegacyVault may be the perfect solution for you:

1) Have you ever misplaced or lost an important document, photo or video?

How many hours have we all spent digging through file drawers and boxes, trying to find that one thing? LegacyVault provides a simple system to file and easily find everything. Well, we can’t help you find your glasses, but we can keep track of darn near everything else.

2) Do you worry about things like privacy and security?

It seems like hacking, identity theft and ‘we’re sorry’ letters from companies are becoming the norm.  However, it absolutely does not have to be like that for you. There are secure ways—very secure ways, in fact—to safely keep data. Your data. Personal data. This is why we made LegacyVault. It is a cloud-based platform with a revolutionary approach to users’ privacy and security. You can store your private documents and family keepsakes in a standard cloud-based service, which requires full rights to see and distribute what is yours, or you can store it in a vault. An online vault, to be specific, that uses military-grade security. A vault so secure that even we can’t get into it. A vault that only you (and people you personally invite) can get access to. A LegacyVault.

3) Are there things you want to make sure aren’t forgotten?

We call it LegacyVault because it’s not just for the here and now, but also for the future. It’s for the people who will need to know where the copy of your will is, or for the people who are gazing at a memory in that very old photo. Imagine if your loved ones had access to your easily-organized life, digitized. Not only would they be able to find important documents, but also have access to family photos and videos you kept, even personal messages you made.

Unlike other cloud-based services, LegacyVault does not have the right to use, distribute or modify your data. (Let’s just say that those Terms of Service can allow for a shocking amount of privacy-breaching. We should read them way more carefully.) We are all about the privacy and security of our users’ data.

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, your next step should be to learn how LegacyVault can support your family’s present and future. Click here to find out more or to sign up for a free account. We think you’ll be glad you did.

Family and friends—Collaborate to make and keep memories

Family photo album

Have you ever been given a scrapbook or stack of photos from a family member? It’s wonderful to see a piece of family history! Except, you have no idea who the people are, and without someone there to tell you, you don’t know any of the stories associated with the pictures. The very obvious problem is that when the person who holds all the knowledge passes away, you lose all that precious information.

There is a solution to this knowledge gap, and you have probably been saying it for years. What you really need is a way to work on those photos and stories together with the key knowledge holders. You know it’s important to secure the stories and archive the family photos. And it’s something you keep meaning to do, but with busy lives and geographic distance between family members, it’s hard to get to.

Once you’ve made it a top priority, then get other family members to join in to help secure as much of your history as possible. It would be great if this could get accomplished in person, but practically speaking, it’s much more likely to get done if everyone has a way to work on their own time. So if we can remove some of the obstacles, this may be the push you need to finally get those photos digitized, organized and shared with the people you love. This is how to share information and make digital photo albums together:

5 steps to capture, store and share family memories from multiple sources

1) Gather the materials.

This can be from digital sources, boxes in attics or basements, photo albums, etc. You don’t have to do all the collecting, just get the other key family members (or people involved in the event, like a wedding) to gather all their own materials together.

2) Digitize and save to one location.

If not already digitized, this is the perfect time to send any printed photos away to a service that digitizes photos and videos, or have each person scan their own materials. Then, everyone can put all of them into one secure location.

(Did you know that it’s easy to have people add to your vault on LegacyVault using the Memories section? Even if they don’t have an account. It’s an easy step for them to follow a link you send to drop photos and videos into a shared album. Imagine having all those family photos digitized, safe and accessible only to those that have the link. It’s the safest, most secure way to store memories. How easy is that?)

3) Collaborate.

Set aside time to go over pictures with other family members so you can share knowledge and insight. This can be by phone with multiple people looking at the photos online, or you can make notes separately for each photo and then plan to review and share once a week or once a month until the project is done. There are some people who are the only ones who know a story. Invite those key memory holders into the process.

4) Capture memories, if needed.

If you don’t have many family photos or memorabilia, consider interviewing people to get their perspective. Not sure what to ask? Check out the resources below:

Questions kids can ask grandparents.

There is a more extensive list here to get help finding out your history. 


4) Produce.

It’s great to have all this knowledge for the people working on it, but it’s even better to share it so everyone holds the keys to family history. Share a link to the project when its is done so the whole family can have access. What a remarkable way for this shared family history to continue to be known!

Don’t let the process overshadow the purpose on this. The idea is to get family memories into a format that can be enjoyed by people now, but also for the family legacy later. The point of this collaborative work is so the important moments and events aren’t forgotten.

How to use a fitness journal to achieve your goals

Fitness Journal and healthy eats

Fitness journaling is a fantastic tool for both the motivated fitness enthusiast and also the less-than motivated fitness enthusiast. If you fall in the former camp, having a visual way to easily record and follow your progress towards specific goals can be a great way to stay on track and hit a bigger goal, like training for a marathon. If you fall into the less motivated camp, fitness journaling can be a tremendous way to evaluate the what, why and how of your fitness journey while also helping you achieve your goals.

Tracking your fitness activity goes way beyond counting calories and reps. Yes, it can do that, too. But knowing what you are actually doing makes a dramatic impact on your mindset about fitness, regardless of your enthusiasm level for it. Checkout how tracking your workouts, diet and other health indicators can help you set and plan your fitness goals:

Journaling helps you set fitness goals you can achieve

As with any behavior you desire to change, S.M.A.R.T goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) are the difference between a wish and an accomplishment. Sure, we say we want to exercise more or ‘eat right’, but what does that look like for you in real life?

A fitness journal keeps you thinking of your goals. It enables you to see what you actually do. When you look back at your activities over a few weeks, you will be able to notice patterns that you might not discern without this written perspective. It can reveal obstacles and truths about how you make fitness choices and what factors might be hindering you from achieving your goals.

For instance, you may see that you always cancel your Monday workout. Seeing this information, you have an opportunity to evaluate the goals you have set and why you can’t seem to get to the gym that day. What are the daily circumstances that impact why you don’t want to or can’t make the workout a priority? When you see a pattern emerge, you can consider what’s blocking you from achieving your goal. Stop feeling like a failure when you grab fast food and cancel your Monday workout. You’ll realize it is hard to fit it in with a weekly Monday meeting. You can plan to pack your healthy lunch, and switch your workout days.

How will you know what your real progress is? How can you make adjustments, if you don’t know why you aren’t taking the action you want? Writing down what you do is crucial to understanding the process of achieving your fitness goals. You will see concretely the process, and link them to your results.

Personal accountability is a powerful thing

Journaling about specific fitness activities and how you are doing on a day-to-day basis is a source of accountability for you. Let’s say you have the goal to eat more fruits and vegetables, or to eat less sugar. Writing it down in a food journal makes you aware of how you are doing through each day. Even just knowing you will record a food in your journal can shape your behavior. Trust me.

You set those fitness goals for a reason. You have something you want to accomplish or habits you want (or absolutely need) to change. It’s the daily decisions that make or break the chance we reach a goal. So start right now—you can add reading a motivational blog post to your daily fitness to-do list! Check!

Did you know that the Journal feature on LegacyVault is easily accessed on your computer or from your mobile device? This makes keeping track of your food journal, workouts, and how you’re feeling about those healthy changes super easy. Set it up now and you won’t have an obstacle later when you are ready to enter in that taekwondo class you took. Okay, and the cookie.

10 lists to plan a smooth (and fun!) summer road trip

If you have a road trip in your summer plans, you know there are some great memories ahead of you. There’s nothing quite like being on your own terms, in your own car with good tunes, snacks and the open road. However, what makes a road trip a dream and not a nightmare is a little bit of planning. Sure, part of the fun is the unexpected (like stumbling upon the World’s Biggest Tumbleweed) but adventures like flat tires in the middle of nowhere are less fun. So here are 10 lists you need to make to help you plan the ultimate road trip—with more of the fun kind of surprises and less of the un-fun but with plenty of room for adventure.

The Lists (with links!)

1) Car readiness

Time to take your car in for a thorough tune-up. Let your mechanic know that you are taking a road trip and have them check all the fluids, tires, brakes, light bulbs, filters, etc. Check out this link for some ideas on how to make sure your car is road-worthy.

2) Snacks

One of the very best parts of travel are the road trip snacks! Consider how many miles/days you will have until you can re-stock your favs and what meals you may eat in the car. You can make fresh food along the way (like ready-to-make tuna kits or have a cooler with tortillas and sandwich fixings). Make sure you pack plenty of cut up veggies and travel-hardy fruits like apples and oranges. Put water in the cooler along with some caffeinated drinks for those long stretches of road. Need some ideas? Check out this list.

3) First Aid

There are quite a few car first aid kits on the market, but making your own isn’t hard. Consider what you would prefer not to find a pharmacy for at 10pm: things like Band-Aids, bug bite cream, pain reliever for adults and kids, tummy medicine, etc. Click here for a very comprehensive list and tailor it as needed.

4) Tunes

The rule in our car is that the driver picks the playlist, so make sure you’ve got some travel music everyone will enjoy. Or music that you want them to listen to and now they have to because you’re the driver. Need some help narrowing down all the great choices? Check out this amazing list of road trip songs.

5) Tool kit/Car emergency kit

These are the things you don’t even realize you should have until you really need them. In addition to a nationwide roadside assistance service, some basic car tools like screwdrivers, a wrench, and jumper cables. Also make sure your spare tire is in good condition and that you have some of the items from this list.

6) Maps and GPS

If you don’t already have a GPS application like Google Maps or Waze on your phone or in your car, this is the time to get one. Navigation apps can alert you to hazardous conditions, re-route you when there is an accident and let you know how long until your destination so you can make those critical game-day calls about whether or not you should stop to top-off the tank one more time. But you also need a paper map or atlas of your route, so if something happens to technology, you’ll be sure to make it to where you mean to go.

7) Entertainment

No matter how many movies you have downloaded or what other electronic devices there are available for keeping folks happy, at some point, the trip is going to call for some non-digital fun. Travel board games, question games, and even the Alphabet game will keep your road trippers (kids and adults alike) having fun. Here are some of the best ideas for car trip entertainment. And make sure you have car charging cords for your phone and other important devices.

8) Your regular packing list

You probably already have a packing list for all the things you put in your luggage: clothes, toiletries, etc. If not, it’s a great time to make sure each member of your family has their own list. Update it as the kids get older and make sure it’s comprehensive enough to cover most of your travel destinations and the weather you’ll encounter. Don’t have one? Check out this comprehensive list!

Did you know that you can store lists like these, along with car maintenance, itinerary info and packing lists in one secure location? LegacyVault offers a great place to keep all your road trip info together with tremendous ease of use and ease of access. And you’ll have it all together when you’re ready to take your next road trip!

9) Itinerary

It’s fun to just go as far as you want each day, but it can also be great to know you have a place to lay your weary head when the hotels are few and far between. There’s probably a magic balance of adventure and security you want to strike. In any case, be sure you keep your itinerary handy so you have it to consult when you need to keep track of reservations of hotels and activities.

10) Bringing a pet?

If you plan on taking the furry part of your family along with you, it will make your trip so much better if you consider the special needs of your pet. Need to know what hotels along the way accept pets? Wonder if you need to carry a shot record with you? We found this handy resource for all your pet-traveling needs. And be sure your pet has been micro-chipped before you leave home.

Here’s a shout out to warmer weather and the great memories your road trip is going to make for you and your family! So get planning—there are snacks to be eaten and tumbleweeds to see.

Surprising benefits of journaling (and easy steps for how to start)

There are some surprising benefits to keeping a personal journal. Not only are the reasons for ‘why to’ journal well-researched, but all the ways of ‘how to’ journal are more accessible than ever. If you have ever wanted to try your hand at keeping a journal or diary, this is the time. Even if you don’t consider yourself a person who likes to write, having a place to collect your thoughts can be surprisingly beneficial. In fact, it can be life-changing.

Why should I journal?

People journal for lots of different reasons: to clear their minds, to have a place to write down their thoughts or to brainstorm ideas. Practically speaking, if you have personal goals you work on daily, like working out or eating healthy, you can track your progress in a journal. In fact, knowing you are going to track a behavior that you want to change or one you want to strengthen is a terrific way to keep yourself accountable to practices you want to get better at. If you don’t write it down, how will you know how you’re really doing? It’s a great way to see how the small changes in your daily habits can actually improve your life. You’ll be able to look back and see your progress. Yay, you!

Why wouldn’t you journal?

Some of the best research on journaling includes significant benefits to physical and mental health that directly impacts quality of life. Benefits of even a few minutes of daily journaling include lowering anxiety, stress and depression. Can you imagine how decreasing any of those would impact how you feel and manage your days?

Writing down your thoughts and reactions to circumstances in your daily life helps you to remember things that will be lost to time and an exhausted attention span, express gratitude, and know what you think. Honestly, knowing what goes on in your own mind is pretty spectacular in the loud, busy, over-stimulating world we live in.

A journal is also a tremendous gift to your future self and as a part of your legacy to your kids, grandkids and beyond. If you have ever run across a childhood diary, you know the feeling of wonder you get when you see the things that were important enough to write down and that years later, allows you to know who you were at that time in your life. That same wonder awaits your future self and the next generations of your family.

How do I start a journal? I have no idea where to begin.

Here’s the thing, the magic of journaling really lies in the habit of doing it regularly. As you begin, keep it simple (this is not the time to learn hand-lettering) and build time into your day for it. Try these tips:

1) Just start. You don’t have to have everything neatly arranged with the perfect journal/pen/software. Just start and it will work itself out. Your writing doesn’t have to be good or anything else but honest. It just has to be started.

2) Decide if you want to use a paper journal or an electronic record. Or both (you can scan written journal pages to be a safe digital backup). The best way to journal is the way that allows you the most likelihood of incorporating it into your daily life. If you hate handwriting, the fabulous leather journal you found is probably not going to be enough to get past it long-term. So do what actually works for you to start the habit. You can learn calligraphy down the road. If you know that typing it out will work best for you, consider an online platform that is secure and easily handed over to the person you would want to have access to it in the future.

LegacyVault’s Journal function is a supremely safe, encrypted online personal journal you can access from anywhere, even your phone. You can type directly into the program or digitally save written journal pages there. Kinda nifty.

3)  Know why you want to journal. Journaling should feel a bit like self-care. It should be a thing that you enjoy doing and so doing it reinforces the behavior. Ideally, you want it to be a habit you want to strengthen. So as you begin, it’s helpful to know why it’s important to you to journal. Looking back, you’ll be so glad you got started.

4) Set aside time to do it. There is no right amount of time to journal. Find what meets your ‘why to’ journal need and is possible in your current life. Maybe you set a timer for 5 minutes and just write the big rocks of what is clanging around in your head. Or maybe you want to instill the habit of writing morning pages, the practice of writing three pages every morning that is a stream of consciousness exercise. It’s your journal-write for the joy it brings you.

People from rock stars (like Kurt Cobain) to creative geniuses (Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Edison) to leaders (Winston Churchill) to even unintentional world changers (Anne Frank) certainly prove some of the benefits of journaling that can even live beyond ourselves. It’s a powerful daily habit that can bring awareness to you about how and why you think the things you do. With the resources available to you to do it, just start where you are.