Monday, August 30, 2021

Back To Business

Over the past year and a half, the Covid 19 pandemic has taken so much from all of us. It has been especially hard on small business, especially those deemed non-essential during lock downs and closures. Increased safety practices requirements also posed challenges for business with limited finances to implement new policies. 

Factor in would be customers being too cautious or too sick to patronize the business and employees also becoming more scarce due to illness or preventative caution and the effect is compounded. 

We are still not out of the woods with this pandemic, and it seems like we only keep getting further away from normalcy instead of closer. Still, in many areas, businesses are pretty much starting to re-open as usual. It is important for those of us that have the means to support small business that we really show up and get these businesses thriving again.

Data Cleaning Steps for Small Businesses - Business 2 Community

Huge chain corporations will not miss your business. They will survive and continue to not pay taxes and underpay workers. There will never be a shortage of McDonald's or Subway. But if your favorite little cafe, bakery, or Mexican restaurant were to close down, it would be impossible to replace.


Not only do these small businesses offer one of a kind goods and services, many times, they pay higher wages than chain corporations. A living wage. A good small business will treat the workers with respect. Most times, they become like family. 

So many small businesses also give back to the community. I have come across so many local small business that donate to those in needs, usually in many different ways. They do profit share fundraisers for local school, provide free food for charity events, and they hold food drives, toy drives, supply drives, and more. 

That is the real beauty of small business. They are your neighbors. We help them and they help us and we are all far better for it. The world needs a lot more of that. More kindness, more empathy, more understanding, more generosity. We all need to do what we can and be the good we want to see in the world.

I found a great article by Max Gorin that talks about some of the ways in which small business can make a bug impact on the community. It is great information and so true. I believe in the value of small business. I believe that we would all be worse off if they don't get the support they need to thrive and stay around for us. 

So, just in case you may need the reminder, as you go back to your girls night cocktails or Sunday brunches, or post quarantine haircuts and manicures, as you shop for your fall wardrobe and home decor, as you begin your holiday shopping, please remember that small businesses need us, and we need them. 

Also remember, that just because we are moving forward, we are not past this pandemic. Please use caution. Be safe and keep others safe.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Business and SOX Compliance

In 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was designed in an effort to protect investors from fraudulent business practices by public corporations. This was a positive change for investors, but made for a larger regulatory burden on businesses. The penalty for SOX non-compliance can be quite severe. Financial loss, reputation damage, dipping stocks, required remediation, and more, are all examples of the cost of SOX non-compliance.

What is SOX Compliance? Requirements & Controls - DNSstuff

The types of practices the SOX act prohibits are: altering (shredding, mutilating, destroying) or falsifying documents, certifying misleading or fraudulent financial reports, failing to report material conditions or financial changes in real time (as timely as reasonable), and failing to file regular financial reports with the FEC. Some of these sections carry the potential for heavy jail time if violated.

While these measures certainly are essential for a transparent (therefor trustworthy) business, the mental strain and worry of accidentally making a mistake can seem more like a a negative to business and workers. Just more stress.

The good news is that there are many SOX compliant software options that can easily ensure these regulations are being followed appropriately. I found a great list of the top SOX compliance software solutions.

Implementing software that has built in checks and automatically comply with the SOX regulations can help alleviate some of the weight off of your (and your employee's) shoulders.  Modern businesses require many different financial applications, such as SAP Oracle, Workday Financials, and more. It can prove difficult to keep them all SOX compliant. 

Thankfully, solutions such as Pathlock, can help monitor all of the data from these applications, to monitor that data for segregation of duties (SoD) exposures, business process exceptions, or IT general control failures. It tracks and logs all suspect behavior and generates reports that are suitable for SOX requirements.

Not only can it find and isolate these types of violations, Pathlock can also take action immediately when it detects suspicious activity by blocking transactions, masking data, sending alerts, or ending sessions.

When the stakes are that high, no business can afford to cut corners or take risks with their SOX compliance. And the easiest, safest way to ensure these requirements are met is by implementing SOX compliant softwares that are made to watch for and correct any problems before they turn into bigger problems. 

I still have a lot to learn about the SOX act and SOX compliance, applications, and software, but I am thankful I started getting informed and taking action before it became damage control instead of damage prevention. Never take unnecessary risks with your business. It is much too important.

If there are pertinent facts about the SOX act or SOX compliance that I may have inadvertently omitted, I would be very glad to be corrected. I am always willing to learn and improve on my shortcomings. And I want to have the most informed views I can to share with my readers. I think the sharing of knowledge between strangers is one of the most useful tools we as a people have, and we should start making better use of it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A New Perspective

When you live in the same town most of your life, you start to see things as "just the way it is." It can be hard to shift perspective. For example, our state is one of the most popular destinations for things like Spring Break and Bike Week. And we also have Biketober Fest, which is coming up fairly soon.

As a resident, parent, and driver, I can't say that I look forward to this event. I don't ride a motorcycle, so I tend to view it is more noise, more traffic, and more crowds at the stores and restaurants that I patronize. None of those are particularly appealing to me.

The thing is, that I can get so wrapped up in the ways that it might affect me, that I sort of become numb to the fact that a lot of bikers end up in danger. There is always an influx of traffic accidents during those events. People's lives forever changed.

Motorcycle Laws in Florida - Jones Law Group

It got me thinking about what happens afterward, when Biketober fest is over and I move on with my bike free life. So I wanted to do a little research on accidents. What I realized is, that if you are in a motorcycle accident, it can be very important to have someone on your side. Legal representation that has experience and puts your interests first.

I found a motorcycle accident lawyer in Tampa that I think really fits the bill. KF&B can help take care of all the stressful legal matters while you just focus on recovering. There is so much peace of mind in knowing you don't have to worry about fighting insurance companies or trying to gather evidence yourself.

It can be especially difficult to navigate motorcycle accidents in Florida because it is one of the few states that does not require motorcycle riders to carry PIP insurance. KF&B still know how to navigate the process, communicating with the other party's insurance to ensure all your damages get paid, along with medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and whatever other costs may be necessary. 

Our family has never been in an accident, thank goodness, but I still find it very good to be prepared for such things, and I find the process quite interesting. We have needed to take legal action before, and having a lawyer that is specialized in the particular area makes all the difference. They have done this before. They know what to expect and have the experience to handle your case with confidence.

So, if you or someone you love rides motorcycles or needs an accident lawyer, I suggest doing your research. But I just thought we could all use a reminder to try to see things outside of how they affect us. We have to look out for each other more and have more compassion and understanding. We're all in this life together. We need to act more like it.

And, as always. Stay safe out there. And stay kind.

Pride LBTQ+ Makeup Tips for Your First Pride Event

Prepare your skin

One of the essential things to do before applying any makeup is to ensure that your face is ready. The first step is always to clean your face to remove any residue of dirt, oils, or any left-over makeup. Cleaning your skin well will help it glow and will ensure that you do not have a nasty breakout of pimples due to clogged pores. Once that is done, the next thing is to apply a face primer. This will help even out the surface of the skin and thus grant you a smooth appearance.

Use the right foundation

To achieve a polished look, you must select the right shade of foundation. One of the frequent skin mistakes that people often do is getting the wrong shade of foundation. Getting a shade that is either too dark or too light will leave your face mismatched, as compared to the skin on your neck or the hands. If in doubt, consult a professional who will help you pick out a foundation that suits your face nicely. Always remember to apply it evenly.

Select the right eye shadow

Pride events often give you the freedom to experiment with a lot of bold colors, such as bright reds, yellows and blues, and even neon types. If you wish to, you can use makeup to compliment your outfits, along with other accessories such as jewelry, handbags, or statement pieces. Eyeshadow in particular helps a great deal, as it comes in different shades and colors. For your pride makeup, you can even consider getting glittery eye shadow which will help to highlight your eyes. 

Person Wearing Sequin Outfit

Line your eyes 

Eyeliner is a simple but very effective addition to your makeup. When well done, it will help to make your eyes pop and give you that extra confidence boost that everyone needs. We know it may be a little intimidating trying to do a smooth cat eye on both ends, but you can just keep it simple. You do not necessarily have to start with a bold extravagant look, but you can just do a single smooth line, which will work just as well. Do not neglect your eyelashes also, as they help to frame your eyes. There is a wide variety of extensions available that you can try out. If you do not wish to get extensions then you may just keep it classy with a good mascara.

Some random tips 

Always have wet wipes with you, as these are essentially good to wipe off any smudges on your face in case you need to retouch your makeup. Put on waterproof makeup, as this will help it last longer throughout the day. Carry a bag of makeup essentials like a compact or lipstick, as these often come in handy when you need to redo your makeup or help another person out. At the end of the day, no matter how tired you are, ensure that you wash it all off, and moisturize for healthy, glowing skin.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Health Hurdles

Some of you may have noticed that in the past few months I have been very scare with posting here. I am sorry for that. There are several personal reasons that have kept me from being able to work. I am not able to share all the circumstances, but I can mention that I have had to go out of state for a while.

I had to spend some time in New Jersey, where my mother in law lives. She is in increasingly poor health, both physically and mentally, and now requires 24/7 care. Whenever we are able to be with her, I am her primary caregiver. In our absence, she has home health aides that stay with her around the clock.

Still, it seems that she will need even more care, that she may only be able to get in a live-in facility. This is obviously a huge decision for many reasons. Of course there is her health and happiness to consider. Those may be conflicting in this case. She would prefer to stay at home. But she is not really in a sound mind anymore, so she has a power of attorney and a healthcare proxy that can make these decisions in her best interest.

Of course, as much as it should not be a factor, financial matters also play a role in what options we    explore. My mother in law's health is the most important thing, but we need to do a lot of research and find a place that is, first and foremost, trustworthy and secondly that is covered by her insurance, or is worth the cost of going outside of insurance.

I have never needed any expertise in this area, so I have none. It is quite a tedious process and it can feel very overwhelming at times. I have done so many searches that words hardly seem real. Google, of course, medical articles, care facility websites, hospice, AHM, and much more.

The Average Cost of Hospice and Palliative Care

Still, it feels like we are only at the very start of this, and the road ahead seems long and bumpy. Aside from how draining and time consuming this process has been, there is also a mental hurdle to overcome. It has become hard to get back to this blog and anything else without feeling I am being selfish and not doing enough. 

I just wanted to let everyone know why I have been so bad about posting, and apologize, but also to say that, while I hope to get back to more frequent posts, that I am not sure that I will be able to for a little while longer.

Also, if anyone else is (or has) also going through this, I want to send my sincere support. Really, we all have invisible battles every day, and if you are struggling or just not at your best, please know that I care and I am wishing you the best. And that just getting up and continuing to try is such a huge victory. Things will get better. Stay strong, but it's okay not to be.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Summer Sips

When I think of "summer" I tend to think of the two and a half month time period where the kids are out of school. But, though my daughter returned to school today, summer is still going strong. According to the calendar, autumn doesn't begin until net month. Living in Florida, though, we have a lot more summery days ahead of us.

It is very easy to become so focused on all of life's responsibilities that you forget to sit back and enjoy whatever moments you can. I find the best way to do that is to bask in the things you enjoy. Be it a bubble bath, taking a walk, making your favorite meal (or ordering it) binge watching your favorite TV series or movies, or whatever else brings you moments of peace and joy.

Sometimes you need just a little bit more than those. I am not the biggest drinker, but once in awhile it is just what I need to stop my mind from racing over the stress that comes with day to day life. When I do indulge in a drink or two, I prefer to find special varieties. Something unique, an experience.

Melvin Brewing has been great for that. They have a huge selection of wonderful craft beers. They have several wonderful IPAs and some great pilsgnar options, but I am a huge fan of the Killer Bees Blonde Ale. It is a light, honey flavored blonde ale. Smooth, clean, easy to drink. Low in alcohol content (great so I can enjoy a few). Just an overall fantastic drink that I would highly recommend to anyone. 

These wonderful beers are the perfect choice for cookouts, parties, and get togethers of any kind, as well as gift baskets and housewarming presents. Anywhere beer is appreciated, these will up the experience. The packaging is really lively, as well, and adds great visuals to the mix, which might not be the most important aspect, but it certainly does not hurt.

I really love these designs. They remind me a lot of street art or old school graphic shirt designs. They are so unique and have a ton of personality. It just makes the who experience feel like an artistic expression.

Whoever you are and whatever you do this summer, or fall or winter, I hope you take some much needed (and deserved) breaks along the way, and maybe have a nice beer (or three) to help you enjoy the down time just a little bit more. 

One last thing, try to keep in mind, as life keeps throwing curve balls at us, that we are all doing the best we can. If you can, try to find ways to help your fellow humans have an easier time. And, if you can't, please don't be one of the things making it harder on them. We could all use a little more compassion, especially right now.

Life is hard enough when we're not battling each other just because we have been conditioned to see the small ways in which we are different more than the endless ways that we are all the same.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Welcome to Rocville comes to Daytona Beach!

I am so excited to announce that this year, for the first time ever, Welcome To Rockville will take place in Daytona Beach, Florida. This was supposed to happen in 2020, but with the pandemic postponing all live events, it will now be this year. As a huge fan of music and festivals, I am so thrilled to have such an exciting festival taking place so close to where I live.

The lineup is stacked! While, of course, the headliners are fantastic, I am super excited by some of the newer acts, such as Badflower who are quickly becoming one of my favorite bands of all time. They were the last band I saw before concerts were shut down, and they put in an incredible show. If you have the chance, I highly recommend seeing them live, especially at Rockville. 

Tickets are on sale now. https://rockville.frontgatetickets.com/

 

If all goes well, I will be covering the event this year, so stay tuned for all the amazing reviews and photos from the shows. Let me know if you plan to attend and who you are most excited to see.