The Cover Edition 2021

by | Dec 14, 2021 | 0 comments


The crew and I thought we’d keep this edition short and sweet. Whether you’ve been part of the family for years, or new to KARJAKA our narrative has always been to bring out the ineffable of our clients in our imagery and direction. This online zine/magazine, or whatever you want to call it, has had a mission to not only show off our iconic studio work, but also give a voice to our clients on a larger scale, through readership, design/layout reposting, and highlighting their own business/lives and best practices to help build your empire. 

As I reflect on this 2021 Cover Edition I am humbled by all of you and your support through working with us, wisdom, appreciation and generally speaking, LOVE. It’s been a hell of a year, ups and downs, but in the end speaking for the few dozen freelancers that make this magazine and business possible, we’re thankful for all of you who keep KARJAKA a part of your lives, monthly, daily or otherwise.  

Wishing you the very Best this Holiday Season!

Holidays and How to Combat the Stress with Craig Thomas

This time of the year is always a bum rush to the end of the year.  It feels like the shortest month—even though there are 31 days officially.  It is, however, the shortest month of the year in terms of daylight hours so it also feels like days are truncated.  Coupling the short days with end of the year business financials, holiday obligations with friends and family and all styles of celebrations.  I love this time of year.  It is the time of year in which I live off adrenaline though and burn candles (literally) for day-long durations.   

Needless to say, this month can be the most stressful time of the year.  The stress multiplies for those that have children and for those that either own their business or those that bear the title of President/CEO, COO, CFO, etc.  The demands and expectations can soar through the roof.  It becomes a hell of a juggling act.  

Dinners.  Parties.  Baked goods sent to your office.  Lower vitamin D levels with lack of going outside.  Indulgence to offset the high stress of getting everything done.  When all is said and done, it’s a formula for depression in the extreme and minor weight gain and exhaustion on the lesser side of the spectrum for many people.  

All of this isn’t to say that this time of year can’t be a time where you can have your peppermint bark and eat it too.  It’s really about formulating a plan ahead of time as best as possible within your assumed constraints.  “Out of sight, out of mind” tends to work for most people.  Holiday treats can be limited just by keeping them off your desk or out of your home.  Remove yourself from the area in which they are at work.   Give the excess away to friends or those in need if you have too much at home.  I only reserve holiday treats for the evening after I have finished dinner.  I don’t tell myself “no”—I have what I truly want.  I take only the amount I would give to my kids and savor what I do have.  

Work levels can really get out of control this time of year too.  Being able to shut off electronics at night is extremely helpful to get a better night’s sleep.  Even being able to turn off wifi during sleep is good for the 

brain.  I reserve my blue blocking glasses when I watch TV in the evening only.  I wake up to red lights in the morning and then, like most people, look at emails and work-related items.  According to Stanford neurology professor Andrew Huberman, sunlight for anywhere from 2 minutes to 30 minutes can help balance cortisol and melatonin levels and improve sleep, recovery and daytime work production.  Ideally, getting sunlight before coffee is the most optimal.  

Children can be the most challenging this time of year especially for those parents who live in seasonal areas of the world.  Getting them outdoors is particularly challenging when it’s so cold.  In my household, we turn music on in the morning as opposed to the TV first thing.  We encourage non-electronic games and puzzles instead of viewing television shows for at least the first 3 hours.  Suggestions for gifts for Christmas from out extended families revolve around the non-video game/electronic devices and lean toward the hand-dexterous challenges like building blocks, memory games and books.  Granted, our children are young and as they age it can be harder to contain technology.  That being said, if you have the chance to curtail the tv viewership of kids at a younger age, it will make the transition to reading books and engaging in physical activity much easier as the age.

I love this time of year.  One of the things I do is to allow myself to have the things I want, but I make a deal with myself beforehand to only have a what will satisfy my cravings with a large glass of water. Depriving myself entirely of the things I look forward to—celebrations, dinners that I am a guest at, holiday treats and a little overall self indulgence—will only cause me to want them more at a later time.  The holidays should not be a time of regret and saying “I’ll start my good self/resolutions (insert some future date)”, but rather a time to enjoy friends and family, spoil yourself with once-a-year treats and take in some holiday fun.  I can guarantee these behavior changes will make each passing holiday time something you look forward to instead of resisting.  And it makes your “resolutions” more of an achievable task as well. 

Holiday Scams

Are holiday scams all that different than normal run-of-the-mill cyber scams? -with Howard Globus


No & Yes.

All scams rely on victims being greedy or being confused.  Addressing the latter, during the holidays we are generally frazzled.  During a normal holiday season there are gifts to buy, exchanges, returns and more things to purchase, travel to plan, relatives to prepare to receive and a rush to use vacation time or flexible health care dollars, and all the preparation for end of year and a closing out of the books, figuratively and literally. We have not had a normal holiday season in almost two years now.

With the pandemic being off and then on and then back off and on again, a rush to get out and see relatives before the next iteration of variant or lockdown or need for another booster, we’re all running around like crazy.

What kinds of things should we expect to see, scam-wise, this season? Here is a short list of the scams that I’ve had reported to me since the Halloween candy was still fresh:

–  Emails requesting sensitive information to verify a purchase (Phishing scams)

–  Emails and texts from “tech support” that your purchase/package is delayed, or a problem occurred (Phishing and SMSishing – SMS-Phishing)

–  Amazon purchase made was sent to the “wrong” address (Phone call and Phishing)

–  Gift card “problem” requiring verification (Phone, Phishing and SMSishing)

– Search Engine redirection based on misspelling to purchase knock-off product

– Request for donations to charities with skim or all funds stolen

The scams that we have been seeing rely on us trying to do many different tasks simultaneously or without focusing our full attention on where we are and what we are seeing.

An email that comes in requesting some kind of sensitive information might be ignored while not around the holidays.  However, if the request is
ambiguous enough and preys on the fear of failing to provide for our
children or loved ones during the holiday, we may be more likely to respond with a piece of information that we would not normally.

Similarly if we are concerned about a gift delay or a problem that can be averted through clicking on a link that was conveniently sent via email or a text message, by all means we may just circumvent having to root through our emails or saved receipts to double check before confirming delivery with a home address and a portion of our credit card.

A charities website that looks right or a web page for a hard to find gift that has a few in stock can make us eager to enter our credit card information and billing address quickly to secure the transaction.

The question, then, is how do we protect ourselves?

The answer during the holidays is not much different than any other time of year. 

If an email, text or website looks too good to be true, it probably is.

If you are expecting a FedEx package and a text comes in asking you to go to this website to enter data that seems unrelated to the delivery, probably best not to enter that information.

If a website redirects you (opens several links in a row to get to the page that you are finally on) when you click on a link in an email or text, it may not be the online retailer or delivery service that you are expecting to login to with your ID and password.

My advice during the holidays remains similar to my advice during the rest of the year.  Be aware of your surroundings.  As you would think twice about wandering down a dark back alley in a foreign town late at night, know where you are before you enter any sensitive information on a website or answer questions from a caller looking to help you out.

–  When shopping online, go to the retailer’s main page from the address bar or a saved, known good link in your bookmarks. You can always key in a coupon code to get the extra percentage off that is promised in the promo email.

–  If you didn’t make a large appliance purchase on an online retailer it is unlikely that they would be calling you to discuss a missed delivery. It is even more unlikely that they would require your credit card information to verify the purchase before they can speak with you about the incident.  If that kind of urgency is real, hang up, go to the retailer’s website (see previous point) and contact customer service from their portal directly.

–  Donations can be made to charities of your choosing online.  Go to the charities’ main website and navigate from there to donate generously.

A good rule of thumb is slow down, take a moment or two and confirm that you are on the site you intended to be on before entering any sensitive information.

Have a happy, healthy and safe holiday. 

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