A lot has changed in the past couple months. My apologies for not keeping y’all updated.

1. I’m NOT moving to Phoenix. That’s the biggest change. While it’d be fun, it wouldn’t be a good move for my company at this time, nor would it be a good move for me personally. Life happens. I’m owning this mistake.

2. I’m still working on my Whistle3 and FitBark testing. The progress has been slow, to say the least. Ideally I’d love to submit the findings as a conference talk, but I may just release the findings on here instead. Any preferences?

Okay, I’m done with the list. Life has a funny way of sneaking up on me. As I’m turning <insert milestone age here> in a couple months, I’ve realized that life needs to happen NOW. That’s either to have kids or not, to be in a relationship or not, to move or not, to start a business or not, etc. While none of these decisions need made today, some do need made ASAP. If only there was a crystal ball for these sorts of decisions…

What’s New, Pussycat…

Life has been more than a little crazy lately. Between work and my landlords selling the house I’m in, there hasn’t been much down time. In a way that’s good – I’ve always been one to enjoy being busy. However, the occasional downtime to read a book, do laundry, or even get groceries has been few and far between. A few updates though….

  1. I traded in my car and am now the proud owner of a new SUV. It’s a fabulous bright blue, making it my first colorful vehicle. It also drives fast (okay, I drive fast, but it equally feels fast).
  2. I joined Orangetheory Fitness! If you haven’t heard of this place (maybe you’ve been living under a rock), you should check it out. You wear a heart rate monitor to gauge how hard you are pushing yourself and complete a circuit of cardio and strength training. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite workouts because it changes every day. Also, your first class is FREE.
  3. There is roughly 30 days left before my first cruise and first trip to the Mediterranean. I still have yet to test out my new camera, but I’m hopeful that can happen this weekend. I’ll likely take it out to Lake Michigan and test a few settings with the combo of water and buildings, which is similar to the cruise atmosphere.
  4. The best news of all – I’M MOVING TO PHOENIX. It’s true. Next June, I’m officially moving for a variety of reasons. The climate (heat and lack of insane humidity) and having a couple incredible friends already there are my two biggest reasons. I may even have a roommate after a couple months there if things work out, which would be awesome for saving money.

That’s pretty much all I have for now. I’m working on a side forensics project testing FitBark and Whistle3, but don’t really have any updates on that yet. Once I do, you’ll be the firsts to know (as well as anyone attending Phoenix’s CactusCon, if my talk gets accepted).

DFIR Summit Family Reunion

“Reunited and it feels so good…” That lyric sums up my overall thoughts on the annual SANS DFIR (Digital Forensics and Incident Response) Summit experience in Austin, TX. Although, so does this song by Dual Core.

This conference is easily my favorite of the year. The talks are highly technical, but not to the point of overwhelming with your eyes glazing over. You can find the links to the presentations here. There were a surprising number of Mac Forensics talks this year (which I love!), open source and hardware talks (check out Brian Moran’s and Jessica Hyde’s Alexa badassery), workflow organization, and more. There really wasn’t anything that I did not find interesting, and that’s saying a lot.

The evenings provided an opportunity for networking and fun (so much fun). Honestly, the networking is worth its weight in gold. Each year I meet new people in the DFIR field and form lasting friendships (and many that are like close family). Being a naturally introverted person, for me to say that I actually enjoy the networking, that’s huge. We seriously have some truly incredible people in this industry.

Rather than uploading a bunch of photos from the talks and evenings, it’s likely easiest to just check my Twitter account: @4n6woman. Feel free to also follow me on there!

Hopefully next year I will see more new faces in Austin. It really is worth the trip!

One Loss and Another Gain

Welp, Facebook is gone again. That didn’t last long. I noticed, in the few short weeks of having it, that I was starting to feel depressed again, then thought back to how I felt during Lent without Facebook. Easy decision – goodbye Facebook! Unless someone can provide me with a compelling argument as to why I need Facebook, I am not going back.

Life the last few weeks has been a bit hectic. From lengthy testing appointments (I’ll fill you in on this later) to weird work schedules and visits from friends, life has been a bit of a blur. My house could use a bit of a touch-up from a cleaning service – not to mention my dog could use a serious de-shedding treatment. One day that’ll happen, one day.

The most exciting thing so far has been picking out my cruise’s land excursions! I’m not able to officially book anything until 90 days out, but it has been fun researching the various options. My biggest goals for the trip are to see as many archeological and ancient sites as possible. Greece and Western Turkey have so much history that it would be silly to sit on a cruise boat all day and not take advantage of some of the explorations and eat the phenomenal local cuisine. I have a feeling I will be visiting this region again in the future.

What a week! From activities and trips to visits from friends, the past few days have been nonstop. Normally the busyness would bother me, but this time it seemed to be the exception rather than the rule.

Sunday started with brunch with a friend. Despite not being a morning person (that’s an understatement), I got up and tried a new restaurant. It was actually quite awesome!

Work sent me out of the state for a few days mid-week, but on Thursday I was able to get back in time to see my best friend and her family. We had Lou Malnati’s for a late dinner (their first time, my I’ve-lost-track time). So delicious. Unfortunately we didn’t get to spend a ton of time together, but even the small time was exactly what I needed!

Yesterday, Sunday, was quite the day. It started with the American Brain Tumor Association 5K, which went from Soldier Field, along Lake Michigan up to Monroe Street and back to the stadium. The weather was absolutely gorgeous! The night ended with a friend stopping over for the night in Chicago. We hunted Pokémon through Grant Park, then stopped by a local bar to chat. A few hours later… 3 AM… and I quickly realized that I needed sleep. Well worth the lack of sleep!

On the agenda for later: a couple more 5Ks, a few trips, and hopefully more friend visits.

Happy Easter!

Welp, I made it! Giving up social media for Lent really wasn’t too bad! Now, the update…

Twitter: I’m back. A few people left me messages throughout Lent, which was a nice surprise to come back to. One friend DM’d me baby animal photos nearly every day. So adorbs!!!

Facebook: I’m back, I guess. My account has been reactivated, all group notifications have been disabled, and many friends have been unfollowed. Trust me – it was necessary. Reading the stream of drama from a few people today after being away for a few weeks has really opened my eyes. I don’t need it in my life. I don’t need to read about it, participate in it, and it can wholly be ignored.

Instagram: This is staying deactivated. I don’t need it or want it.

I will not be reinstalling the social media applications on my phone. They are unnecessary. The notifications are interrupt my life, and I can do without more interruptions and the stress of checking the “omg what did X say…” messages.

If you participated in giving something up for Lent, what was it and were you successful? Let me know!

Day 35

Less than two weeks are remaining in this hiatus. There has been a lot going on, much of which I’ll update on later. Aww, the suspense. 😉

I’ve officially signed up for three 5km walks this season. I’ll likely do more, but three are on the books at the moment. All donations are tax deductible.

  1. Sunday, April 23: BT5K
    – This walk is the American Brain Tumor Association’s 5km walk for brain tumor research. To donate: BT5K Personal Walk Page
  2. Saturday, May 6: Best Buddies Friendship Walk
    – This walk benefits Best Buddies International, which was established to create opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To donate: Best Buddies Personal Walk Page
  3. Saturday, May 13: Autism Speaks Walk
    – This walk benefits Autism Speaks, which helps fuel innovative research critical support and services for the autism community. To donate: Autism Speaks Personal Walk Page

Thank you all for your support! If you know of other walks, either for charity or fun, let me know. I’ll likely sign up!

Day 27

It appears we have made it over the hump. We are now closer to Easter than we are to Ash Wednesday, which means, I am now closer to being allowed on social media. Honestly, I am having a bit of anxiety about re-joining the social world. I miss my Twitter friends, but it is a LOT to keep up with conversations, tweets, messages, etc.

Facebook may be put on the back-burner until the end of April. It’s a little more overwhelming with all the status updates, photos, parties, groups, pages… the list goes on. I’m sure I’ll go back to it at some point, but I may try to hold off for a while longer.

The one big positive from this break, which I have mentioned before, is that I am developing deeper friendships with a few people. One friend messages me every day – something I used to freak out about – but it is nice to have the contact rather than a “like” or fun retort to a status update. A few friends email me on occasion, but I never know how to start or continue the conversation, so it typically dwindles. But I do appreciate the check-ins.

So, three weeks left. No sweat!

Day 15, already!

Two weeks into Lent and I’m feeling great about the lack of social media. Sure, there are times where I wish I could mass share something, but then I end up singularly sharing whatever-it-was with a few individual people and end up receiving much better feedback! Who knew?! (That last comment was sarcasm. Of course it works that way.)

This week’s whatever-it-was moment actually happened today. I booked a 7-day Mediterranean cruise to Greece and Turkey. You read that right. This lady is going on a cruise BY HERSELF! It is an all-inclusive trip exploring various parts of Greece, the Greek Islands, and a few places in Turkey. One of the must visit places is Ephesus. Key places there: Temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the world), Library of Celsus, Basilica of St. John, and the last known House of the Virgin Mary. Overall, it will be an amazing trip with many gorgeous excursions.

Day 9 of the Social Media Purge

Day 9? Already? Time is really flying by with this break in social media. To be perfectly honest, it has been almost two whole weeks since dumping Facebook, and I don’t miss it even a little bit.

What I have discovered over the past week has shocked me. (Wait, did I just use a clickbait phrase? Shame on me.) But seriously, what I discovered is that I am having more meaningful and intentional conversations with family and friends. Life is no longer about a casual ‘like’ here and there, or a well-timed LOL, or even creepy poke.

The best part of this process is I’m feeling less stressed. Social media, like it or not, can be a huge stressor for people. There is pressure to always be in-the-know. It’s really okay to not always know about events. If it’s important enough, someone will reach out and tell you directly. Let me repeat that. If an event is truly important, someone will reach out to you directly and tell you. 

Looking forward to seeing how the next few weeks play out. Until next time…