Mobile and Online Banking Perks and Tips: Making it Secure

  1. Prevent Phishing – Never follow a banking link sent to you in a text message or e-mail unless you requested the link from your bank directly. Also, never send account info via email or text.
  2. WiFi Network “No No” – Never use a public WiFi to access your bank accounts.
  3. Authentic Apps – In general, a bank’s official smart phone or tablet app will be more secure than sending information by SMS or e-mail.
  4. Login Laziness – Your mobile device may let you store your password to make login faster, but this also makes your banking info more accessible to anyone who uses your phone.
  5. Keep Away From Keyloggers –  Mobile devices are less prone to malware attacks than computers, but still be very careful when downloading all apps — not just your banking app, but all apps.
  6. Lock Down Logic – If your device has a digital locking mechanism, use it!




Feed Your Family Friday: Spanish Pot Roast and Veggies Crock Pot Style

300_foodsystemsAs a busy mompreneur and gluten free girl, I love crock pots for those days when we really want to eat well, but I know there will be NO TIME to prep dinner!

This week I decided to try the recipe, Spanish Round Steak” form the “Fix it and Forget it” cookbook by Dawn J Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good. Since I am a “Cook”, I made a few tweaks to the recipe and listed them in GREEN within the recipe.

Spanish Round Steak: 4-6 servings

  • 1 Small onion, sliced (1.5.onions coarsely chopped)
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced in rings (I coarsely chopped the pepper as well)
  • 2 lbs round steak (Mine as 3 lbs)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or 2 tsp dried parsley (I skipped this all together)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dry mustard (I used 2 Tbsp prepared mustard)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder (I didn’t have it, so I used the same amount of Garlic Pepper from Costco)
  • 2 C canned tomatoes (Little Man hates chopped tomatoes, so I used a 24 oz can of Garlic and Onion spaghetti sauce — the kind without corn syrup or other yucky stuff)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (Skipped it and let everyone add their own salt)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (Skipped it because I added the Garlic Pepper)

Spanish Potroast Sarah L CookI basically ignored all the directions in the book and simply put the roast in the pot and dumped all the other ingredients around it and on top of it as they were listed on in the recipe. Then, I covered the pot and cooked for 1 hour on high, followed by 7 hours on low. It was served with garlic mashed potatoes, but we prefer it with quinoa!

What’s on the menu for dinner at your house tonight? :-) 




Why Systems?

400x350_badgeI’ve been asked many times – “Why systems?”

The truth is, that’s not a simple answer for me.

Have you ever forgotten to pay a bill, return a book, or send a Birthday card?

I’ve felt the anger of late fees on bills and overdue books and the embarrassment of forgetting special occasions.

Now, I have systems!

Is meal time at your home sheer madness because you eat the same thing OVER and OVER and OVER and when you do decide to make something different, you don’t have all ingredients?

At our house it looked like this – “Pizza, again? Or would you prefer Hamburger Helper?” I was a miserable cook, didn’t make time to learn, and always made meals at the last minute, but never had the supplies on hand to create something my family would both enjoy and gain nutrition from. 

Now, I have systems!

How about mornings? Does everyone rush around unsure of where shoes, backpacks, lunches, and jackets are?

There used to be more tantrums in our house between 6:30 AM and 7:30 AM than at nearly any other time of day. 

Now, I have systems!

Are you a business owner and you spend part of your day or week trying to figure out what you are supposed to next?

I’ve been a business owner for over two decades and for the first 17 years, it seemed, I would spend the first 7-10 days of the month figuring out what I was supposed to do with the rest of the month. The month would be half way over before I would really bite into to it!

Now, I have systems!

more lifeI could go on and on giving you “before and after” scenarios of my life without systems, but I think you get the point, that my life was a little lacking, BS (Before Systems). NOW that I HAVE SYSTEMS, I have MORE – more time, more fun, more wholeness, more health, more money, and I truly enjoy this life of mine and so does my family.

So what exactly do I mean by SYSTEMS?

Let me first start with Wiki’s definition:

SYSTEM – A set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole.

My definition:

SYSTEM – Things that work together in such a way that the outcome allows for life and business to ROCK!

In the coming weeks and months, we’re going to be discovering/creating, implementing, and fine-tuning more systems in every area of life and business so that we can all enjoy the wonderful “MORE LIFE”!

Systems for Living Now and Changing the Future

Good Enough is FINEAre there shadows of doubt and levels of perfection that have stopped you from living the life you were meant to live?

I can totally relate!
Maybe you have believed the lies and limited thinking of others. Maybe you have achieved success, but you are still just shy of your big goals, dreams, and true heart’s desire. Perhaps you have even fallen into the trap that everything has to be perfect rather than letting unimportant things be “good enough”. Allowing for some things to be “good enough” creates space and time to move on to what’s really important and complete with a level of excellence the things that are near and dear to our heart.

Today I want to share with you a few things, my “SYSTEM”, if you will, for living now and re-writing the future! I haven’t re-written all of my “past”, but I am well on my way to creating the future I dream of and desire, stepping into the vision God has for me! I have chosen to let go of the impossible task of having everything be perfect and have choose to allow for somethings to be “good enough”.

So far my “system” has allowed me to go from the “plus size” I was in all my life, to a 4/6 in just 2.5 months and I have kept the weight off for over ten years now. My system has allowed me to earn the use of 10 company cars in the skin care company I have represented for 21 years. It’s allowed me to write and publish my first book and be featured in three others, land my own TV segment, speak at fabulous events, travel with my family, successfully home school my oldest two children, and on and on. Yes, I am loving who I am now more than ever before. I have a fabulous life, and while there are uphill days and struggles, each day I am creating an even brighter future! You can too! 😉

 1. Show Up

Staying in bed all day feeding my fears wasn’t going to introduce me to amazing people. Everyday I chose to SHOW UP and be in places where I was open to opportunities, new adventures, and fabulous connections. Sometimes those places were virtual, like Tweet chats and telesummits. Other times, I have found opportunities and fabulous people at conferences, the post office, and even the grocery store. Are you showing up?

2. Suit Up

The t-shirts, jeans, and Birkenstocks of my past were never going to get me to the places I have been and certainly aren’t going to take me where I am going. Yes, I still love my favorite button-fly jeans and v-necked shirts, but when it comes to creating success, I strive to SUIT UP and “dress to impress”.  Are you dressing like the person you want to be and the clients you want to attract?

3. Speak Up

It is true that what you “profess you possess”. By nature, I am a critical thinker. I like things to be perfect, and I often see the imperfections first. This is great when refining systems that you want to run more smoothly and efficiently, but it’s not effective when you want to create a new vision for yourself and all you see is what is “not enough” and “not working”. I WORK daily to think and SPEAK UP and say only what I WANT to BE REALITY, rather than continuing to tell the story of what was or what “seems to be” right now. Dozens of times a day, I tell myself the story that I am in the process of creating. I affirm that I am learning all that I need to learn and that sometimes “good enough” is enough. Every success I have ever achieved has come that way… my new body, the cars, books, trips… all of it! What are you speaking and creating today?

Now is the time to draw a line in the sand and commit to changing what the past predicts the future to be! One step forward at a time – Show Up, Suit Up, and Speak Up! You can do it! I can do it! We can do it!

Would you like some help along your journey? Register for my Systems with Sarah email resources by adding your name and email here.  You are also welcome to contact me regarding 1:1 coaching by contacting me here. 

Mompreneurs Making Do! It’s Show Time!

Today I made another appearance on Sacramento and Company! I love being on the show and the crew is so fabulous to work with, but I still get a few pre-show jitters. Last night I was trying to figure out which outfit to wear and decided on this red dress, only the v-neck was way to low in the front and I didn’t really want to wear something under it, so I opted to “fix it myself”.

How do you do that though when you’re the only one home? Well, you sew it while wearing it of course! 😉 It turned out just fine and the show went great as well.

Here’s Six more Secrets I learned since my first appearance last July

1. Try on your COMPLETE outfit ahead of time including accessories and shoes.

2. Pack all your jewelry ahead of time in your purse. This will save you the stress of trying to find the matching earrings 5 minutes before you need to leave the house.

3. Have an emergency essentials bag with you: extra hose (if you are wearing them), lip gloss, beauty blotters, powder, liners, hand cream, mints…

4. Take pictures… lots of them! You can use them for SO many things! More on that later! 😉 Oh, and bring someone with you to take the pictures! My daughter had that assignment this time and did a GREAT job!

5. Introduce yourself to all the other guests! You never know what fabulous connections you will make on the set, so be prepared with business cards.

6. Schedule tweets and FB posts to go out just before the show goes live! You may not have time to do it while you are on the set, but you want your fans, friends, and followers to know when it’s airing! Scheduling posts in advance takes care of the reminders without causing you any stress!

A New Twist on the To Do List

Let me ask you a question – are you getting the Most Important things done in your life and business?

For the last sixteen years or so I have used a 6 Most Important Things list. It’s a great list, the only problem is I could never stop with just six. This tendency to have a LONG list produced the hassle of narrowing the list rather than getting sucked into doing just the EASY things on the list. Can you relate?

Now, I spend a bit of time each day or at least every few days, DUMPING my BRAIN. After everything has been written down that “needs” to get done, I choose the TOP 2 things that I  MUST DO – that are MOST IMPORTANT to grow my business. After doing those two things, I go back to where I wrote everything from the Brain Dump and choose two more. As you tackle the Most Important things, you will have more confidence and energy to keep accomplishing and you won’t get overwhelmed by such a long list!

I would love to hear how you approach accomplishing tasks in your life and business! 😉 What system works for you? If you decide to try the Top 2 system, let me know how that works for you by leaving a comment here or on my Facebook page!


Last Monday afternoon our home was listed for sale on MLS and by 8 PM we had a call to schedule a showing for the next morning. 😉

We had been thinking about moving for over two years, but didn’t officially meet with a realtor until the Friday before it listed. In the few weeks before we met with the realtor, we began the process of MOVING. We started going through our physical possessions and assessing whether or not we wanted those things in our next location (where ever that ends up being). We began to go through closets and cupboards carefully deciding to keep, donate, or dump the items that were contained inside.

So far we have taken THREE car loads full of stuff OUT of our house. Some things went to friends, some to the thrift store, some to the recycle bin, and some got put in the garbage. Only the treasured possessions have stayed. What things would you move with you?

For me MOVING is not only a physical process, it is a mental and emotional shift. When we made the decision to sell our house, my entire being began to transform and “MOVE”.

As we began to move “stuff” out of our home, I felt things begin to shift and MOVE within me as well. The shift within me has brought a greater sense of clarity, peace, and well-being. It has motivated me to keep going through the long process of letting go of “things”. I have begun to see that goals I had on the distant horizon are possible NOW (or at least sooner). I have begun to let go of things I was holding on tightly to emotionally – stuff, hard memories, disappointments and unfulfilled hopes and dreams. This process of preparing to MOVE and let go of physical stuff, has allowed for me to let go of emotional and mental stuff as well! It is so freeing and so positive! What impact would a transformation like this have on your life?

I know that you may not have the opportunity to physically MOVE right now, but what could you do to start the MOVING process to create the positive emotional and mental shift and transformation in your life as well?

I would love to hear your thoughts below on ways you create emotional and physical shifts in your life as well as any moving tips! 😉

PS – The photos are from my home. There will be more to come as we continue on our “moving” journey.

All TREATS Customer Service

Every business has the opportunity to provide customer service for their clients that make the clients feel like they are being not only getting good service but getting treats or gifts! Let’s start first with:

The Promise is Delivered

I heard Mary Kay Ash say many times, “Under Promise and Over Deliver” as well as “Your Word is Your Bond”. How does that affect your business?

Keeping promises to your customers is crucial to our short term and long term success in business. What promises are you making to your clients in your advertising, in your voice and in the look of your business?

When your clients can trust you they will come back again and again. What better value for you is there as a business owner than to have happy customers and word of mouth advertising take care  of 30% of your advertising costs. As loyal clients, they will also become your most effective form of advertising!

Enjoy your day and be sure to give lots of TREATS to your clients and everyone you meet! 😉

Taking the Scary out of Social – Part 2

In part one of this series, I shared with you how scary social was for me when I started and some of the questions I had when I was just beginning. Now, just a couple of years later, I not only LOVE social media, I get paid to teach best practices to others as well as to manage social accounts for businesses.

Before we can get into my Systems and Secrets for Social Management and creating a successful platform, I want to share with you some of the tools I love using to Simplify Social and take the SCARY out of it!

Hootsuite is my preferred platform management tool. It not only has a FREE (for up to 5 social platforms) online dashboard, but it also has a FREE mobile application. Having the online dashboard vs. a desktop dashboard allows you to save memory on your computer as well as log into multiple computers without having your settings change.

Here’s picture of a portion of my hootsuite dashboard:

You will note that I have a stream to show mentions of @SarahLCook, which allows me to see who is talking to me. The next column, is actually a “keyword stream” which allows me to track what’s being talked about with regards to my husband, @DrJerryLCook’s account, RaisingCEOKids, and CEOKids.  Setting up my keyword stream this way allows me to help manage my husband’s Twitter account without having to change screens. It also allows me to see when someone is replying to @RaisingCEOkids, using the hashtag #RaisingCEOkids or using a link to our site If I had set up the stream to be @RaisingCEOkids mentions as I did for my @SarahLCook stream,  I would have missed the tweet that @MicroSociety shared a link to their community about our website on facebook and twitter. I was able to thank them for the mention and send them a direct message (DM) to set up a time to chat about possible collaborations. Pretty cool! 😉

The tools I use to monitor my influence on social media are: Klout, PeerIndex, and TweetLevel. All three of these give you an idea of what your influence is on social media and help you see where you can improve.

Each of the various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.) have tools to network your content to the other platforms. I am all for linking platforms together, as long as it’s done in a way that supports the engagement you would like to achieve on that specific platform.

There are many more tools you can use, but my goal was to take the SCARY out of Social and show you how just using one tool, like Hootsuite will really help you! For less than $6 with the paid version, you will be able to have access to an unlimited number of social profiles. You will also be able to give remote access to a team member which will be helpful when you start outsourcing! Hootsuite has so many other features, but those are the ones I find to be most helpful to business owners who are just beginning to use social media systems.

Are you feeling less scared knowing that just one tool will help you so much?

Do you want more help with your social media strategy and implementation? Schedule a FREE 15 minute consultation with me about how I can help you with your social media! 😉

Taking the Scary Out of Social – Part 1 in a Series

I remember when I first started using social media. I was terrified! I was NEW to technology in the fact that I had always gotten someone else to do it for me and with social media I was trying to learn it and do it myself.

I had SO MANY questions and I had no idea where to begin to get the answers!

  • Do I use my real name online?
  • How do I keep all the passwords & user names straight?
  • Should I be on ALL the possible platforms or just the BIG FOUR?
  • What do I share and not share?
  • How do you keep up with all of the platforms with only 24 hours in the day?
  • How do you make all the custom backgrounds and pictures?
  • What’s the difference between a Like page and a personal page on Facebook and do I need both?

In this series, I am going to share with you my social media story as well as some of the Systems, Secrets and Tools I implemented and used to grow my social media platform from ZERO to over 20,000 on Twitter, growing Like pages for both Raising CEO Kids and Sarah L Cook, as well as a strong Youtube channel with over 100 videos.

Today I want to share with you what my social media platform has done for me in the last two years and why I feel qualified to share this series with you even though I’m not a Social Guru! 😉

SUPER BRIEF History of  me on Twitter:  I originally started out using @MissVibrant (which has now been taken over by someone else) on Twitter which I eventually changed to @RaisingCEOKids and now I use both @RaisingCEOKids and @SarahLCook. 😉

Six of My Social Media Outcomes

  1. Overcame my fear of being on video, produced over 100 videos, and landed speaking positions on radio, telesummits, conferences (including TEDx) and TV!
  2. Got FULL sponsorship to Blissdom 2011 by AboutOne.
  3. Have been listed over 500 times on Twitter on @SarahLCook and over 100 times on @RaisingCEOkids.
  4. Get emails constantly to review products, sit on company boards, and to “pick my brain” (which by the way, I now charge for as a consultant ;-)).
  5. Helped my husband get an offer to publish his book about marriage…. (more on that later).
  6. I or my family has been featured on Yahoo Finance, Reuters, Forbes, News10, Fox, and many more!

Those are just a sampling of the many things that have come from building a growing social media platform in a very specific niche and connecting with leaders in that niche. It’s exciting, fun, rewarding and yes, sometimes overwhelming. That’s why I am doing this series, to take the overwhelming part out of it and give you Systems & Tools that Simplify Social!

Are you excited? 😉 See you next week for Part 2!