Monday, January 25, 2021

Time to file!

It is that time of year. It is time, or nearly time, to file your tax returns. Even if you are not expected to owe many or any tax payments; Even if you are expecting to get a refund, filing taxes is not something most people look forward to. It is generally a stressful, tedious, process that very few would appreciate doing.

That is why so many people uses services to file their income taxes, even when it is often free or cheaper to do it on your own. Time is money, and saving time and aggravation, in addition to be sure it is done correctly (even the most intelligent and careful people can make mistakes in things they are not trained/skilled in).

Now, as unpleasant as it can be to file taxes once a year, there are many instances where the same types of tasks are required more often. Most notably is sales tax filing. When you own or run a business, you have to manage all things related to taxes. Including the taxes from sales and use, taxes taken from employee wages, and much more. And those things require monthly reports.

That is something that I, personally, would never want to handle on my own. I always defer to the experts when I am outside my depth, and that is almost always when it comes to data and figures. I am not a numbers person.

If you are one of the unfortunate souls that has to worry about sales tax nexus, or anything of the kind, I would highly suggest looking into a service to manage it for you. It is done so often on yearly income tax filing and yet so many business struggle to do all the work themselves. It seems counterintuitive. Work smart, not hard.

I really love it when I can find easy ways to ease the burden of mental and actual work that I have to carry. It is so surreal how sometimes saving yourself let's say, for example, an hour of work can actually make you two hours more productive. When you have the weight of a stress inducing task hanging over you, it slows down your performance. So by getting help for that one thing, you are actually improving two or more sets of tasks. 

I know it is sometimes difficult to justify the cost or just to take what you might see as a hit to your pride in admitting you need or simply want help, but it can be so worth it. While the situation is obviously not entirely similar, I will think of this example every time I try to talk myself out of getting help because I think it is not worth the cost.

The story is, the cartridge in our tub stopped working. It was the second time this happened. The part was under warranty, so we got that shipped at no charge. We're already doing good. But last time the plumber said the repair is simple IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. That was the key part. Hubby and I figured to save on the cost of a plumber to just try it ourselves. Well, needless to say, it was a huge fail.

The cartridge blew out (whether it was only mishandling or the part was faulty I still don't know). With that damaged, there was nothing to stop the water from just flowing out the handle. We had to shut the water off. This was a Friday night. So we had to call an emergency plumber, they couldn't come until the next day. They cost more than the plumber we would have used had they been open on weekend or had we been able to wait. We even had to pay for a part, again, since they other one broke.

So, yeah, take it from me. Sometimes it is better to just pay to get it done right the first time. Seeking help is never something to be ashamed of. Sometimes not seeking it can be, though.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

What Do You Do?

I don't know about you, but I feel like this is a question that comes up a lot. Whenever you meet new people, there s always that getting to know you period where they as the small talk questions. One of the ones that seems most common is, "What do you do for a living?"

I can see why that would be common, but, before I get on to the actual point of this post, I want to get on my soapbox for a moment about why that is not an ideal question, especially in the current state of the world. The bottom line reason is that it could be a sore spot for the person you are asking.

There are several reasons why this could be. They could have a job they are not proud of. As sad as it is, people still look down on certain jobs, even ones they rely on the use of (for example janitors and fast food workers, etc. Those jobs are essential and yet the very people who make them essential act as if it is some how something to look down on.

Other reasons could be the person has a disability that prevents them from working, or they have recently been laid off or otherwise are temporarily not working (like the closures for COVID). Basically, it is not a great idea to assume that someone is employed or appear to be using that as a form of judging them as a person as in a 'get to know you' setting.

Anyway, I digress. The reason I brought that up though, is because I have been asked that question a lot and I often struggle with what to say. My only source of employment is this blog. However, when you say "I am a blogger" people tend to be a bit confused, and then I have to explain it.

It seems the new, more familiar term is "influencer" so I have started to use that instead. And once people hear that, they almost always ask questions about what that entails. And, usually, I also get many questions about how to become an influencer.

I find that a bit strange, too, since most people don't do that with other jobs. If someone told you they are an accountant, you wouldn't ask them how you could become one. At least most people wouldn't.

But I still try to offer whatever advice I can. The first thing I always suggest is to be true to yourself. No one wants some fake image of you out there trying to use them for clicks or whatever. Be yourself and talk about things you really care about, otherwise your influence is just another ad. No one wants that.

The other thing I suggest is startup pr. Building a following that is genuinely interested in what you have to say is the most important thing. And that will come. But in the beginning, you need to find a way to get yourself out there, so your people can find you. This will not only help with exposure but it will help you shape what your "brand" will be. There is no shame in getting a helping hand.

And, even when the question is maybe out of place, there is still nothing wrong with answering "What do you do?" with "I'm and influencer."

Monday, January 11, 2021

Bright in More Ways Than One

The 19-20 and 20-21 school years have certainly not been easy. Not only have they forced a lot of changes to take place to the structure of classrooms and schooling in general, but in the midst of that there was also the ever present feelings of stress and fear that are just par for the course while trying to live during a global pandemic.

Of course, the things that have happened and the way things have happened is nothing that anyone would wish for, and the effects of these historic times are not only immediate. There will surely be much trauma and emotional (and possibly physical) scarring in the years and decades to come.

But that doesn't mean that there cannot also still be bright spots. There is always a light in the darkness, no matter how small or faint it may seem.

One of the positive things I just recently found out about is that graduation rates are up. I got an email from our county's school board letting me know. The 19-20 school year had a higher graduation rate than previous years. 3.2% higher to be exact. The rate had been increasing every year for the past 10 years.

The fact that last year, even in the thick of a global crisis that up heaved the entire learning process, students still continued to be excellent, that is just truly something to admire and find joy in. With that increase, the VCS graduation rate is now at its highest ever.

And obviously, graduating high school, in many cases, leads to heading off to college. Though if that is not the path for some people, that is absolutely valid. In fact, there is a lack of trade workers since college is pushed so heavily nowadays. College was meant to prepare you for a career, but it is not the only path, by far.

However, for those who are looking to attend college, there are many things to consider. One of the biggest factors, for many, is the cost. Taking out student loans at ridiculous interest rates that will take decades to repay is the least desirable choice. The most preferable option is to obtain scholarships.

There are many sources that these can be found. There is almost always a list of local scholarships available through the high school a student was attending. Guidance counselors should be proactive in making sure the student is informed of the options. But, if for some reason that does not happen, make sure you ask.

Some private business have scholarship programs as well. They are generally not full scholarships, of course, but every bit helps. And there are so many other avenues as well. Nancy Etz has a list of 12 scholarships that are available to inspirational young women, to empower them for the future.

No matter what tools you may obtain along the way, to help you reach your dreams, he most important will always be your own mind, your hard work, and your will to make an impact. You are the goal. You are the prize. The rest is support. Support is nice, it is necessary, at times, but it could never be a replacement for the intellect and passion that are unique to you alone.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Uncertain Times

The world we are living in today is a very turbulent place. There has been so much unrest and uncertainty and a lot more stress and hardship than anyone should have to face in such a short amount of time. It can be very scary. It can be hard to know what to do or where to turn and a lot of people are searching for any means of feeling safe or having a sense of control. 

I have always found that in difficult times it is best to lean on those close to you. And to, in turn, support them, as well. There is a very rare kind of strength that comes from knowing that no matter what else is going on n the world around you that the bonds that you share with others are too strong to be changed. It is like a beacon; a constant reminder of the fact that there are things you can always control, even when you feel powerless to change other things.

Of course, just loving those who love you, and loving everyone who is not out to harm you, even strangers, while very powerful, is sometimes not enough to give rest to an uneasy mind. Sometimes it takes other symbols. Sometimes you need a safety net. Be it self defense classes, survival training, a home security system, or any other physical asset that can help you feel protected.

I know that right now I see a lot of people starting to buy or consider buying weapons. Guns, mainly. That is not something I would choose, for a few reasons. One I would worry more about my children's safety, for fear of accidents. Also I have always felt that if I had to take another life to save my own that I would rather just let it happen, since I would not want to live with something like that on my conscience.

I am in no way judging those that do seek that as a safety measure or any personal choice in general. As long as they are not our using it as a threat, it is absolutely a valid choice for others. And it is, after all, a one of the rights set for us in the constitution.

The most important thing of you do chose a gun for protection is safety. That means doing research and making sure you know how to handle it safely, before you start handling it regularly. And it also means storing it safely and carrying it in a safe way. That doesn't mean tucked down the back of your jeans. It means an actual holster, designed to hold a gun safely. We The People Holsters is a good place to find that. And quick side not, they also have apparel and accessories. Like this Marine Corps Tumblr. Hubby was in the Marines.

Whether you opt for a gun, another weapon, security system, defense training, survival skills, keeping closer to your loved ones, or any other of countless ways to find a sense of security and hope in these trying times, what really matters is that you never forget that things can get better. They can always get better and it is up to us to not only keep that knowledge in our minds, but to actually work together, as a country, and a planet, to achieve that. It doesn't come by accident, it takes actions. Positive actions.

Be the change you want to see. And Keep the faith.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Start on the Right Foot

In my last post I just did quite a bit of talking about my New Year's Resolutions. They are nothing crazy. All very standard. Weight loss, of course, like every year. And this year I wanted to add some smaller, easier to achieve goals. So I added in swapping natural beauty and personal care products for my usual chemical filled ones.

Another goal I have for this year is to be better about reusing things. I am not that bad at it already. In fact I will wear my things until they have holes. And then keep wearing them until it is risking indecent exposure. But I am not great at repairing things, so things that are too damage to function as is, often must be thrown out. Or at least, that is how I have always done it up until now. I want to change that.

I want to learn how to deconstruct clothing that is too small, and add extra fabric to make it larger. In the process it will create cool unique pieces. I have several things that don't fit but I love them too much to let them go. Being able to give something a second life is so cool.

And for the things I cannot learn on my own, I plan to seek help. I know that my sister in law was great and making her own bell bottoms with fabric sewn onto regular jeans. That is kind of the concept I have for my "too small" clothes repair, so I am hoping I can get help from her if I cannot figure it out on my own.

And there is always the option of just hiring a seamstress if it came to that. And that goes for other repurposing tasks, as well. Like when I want to reuse an old piece of furniture, I plan to have it redone by someone who knows how to do it. (I am not someone who knows how to do it, lol)

And that led me to think of all the other things I've wanted to fix but never could, like broken shoes. And I actually just found out that it can be done. And it is s not even that rare. I feel silly for not realizing this sooner, before I doomed several pairs of awesome shoes to a life at the dump, but high heel restoration is a real thing.

I am not sure why I am so excited to learn this, because I do not wear high heels extremely often, but I am very clumsy and rough on everything I own. So when I do wear high heels, there is a great chance that I will break them. Knowing that if I do, they can most likely still be saved, that is really reassuring. I like knowing things will work out even before they go wrong. Now, when I break my neck, that will be another story. But at least my shoes will always be safe.

I hope you will always be safe, as well. Happy New Year!

Natural Beauty With Amanda Jo of Organic Bunny

There is going to be tons of talk about resolutions in the next week or maybe month. I always pick the same one. Weight loss. But I wanted to do something different this year and make another one that would be easier to keep. Not just easier to keep, easier to do in general. Even if you stick to a hard resolution, it's still hard. But there are simple things that you can do that can also have a positive impact on you and on the world.

So, one of the things I wanted to start with is using better products. That's an easy one. Natural products are not only better for me, they are better for the environment. And, also, buying from smaller companies or sales consultants helps support real people instead of greedy corporations. So it's a win win.

I've recently found a few really good natural products that I am really excited about. First is Schmidt's Natural Deodorant. I love the Rose and Vanilla scent the most, but they have a wide variety of scents. They are all aluminum free. I have always stayed away from natural deodorant, because I had a few tries where the product didn't work well for me. This one is very effective. It keeps me smelling good all day. It's a keeper.

Another must have in my newly evolving beauty repertoire is Monsuir Lemongrass and Ginger body scrub. It's really strange that I fell so deeply in love with the scrub, because I am not the biggest fan of either lemongrass or ginger as far as scents go. Somehow, though, it doesn't matter. I adore this product. It makes my skin feel amazing and the scent is actually quite pleasing. And it's affordable, as natural products go.

My absolute favorite natural product I have found so far would have to be Moroccan Magic Lip Balm. It is so silky smooth, buttery, velvety. And word you can think of to describe the softest thing to ever grace your lips, that is what Moroccan Magic is. It never feels sticky, even if it is "drying out". It stays on for a long time, but it also soaks in, absorbing into your lips so that their health and moisture actually improve. I never go to sleep without applying this lip balm first. It really is a fifteen out of ten.

Though I have found several great natural items already, it was my resolution to make the switch almost entirely. That means that I have a lot more products to replace. Thankfully I just learned of Amanda Jo of Organic Bunny.

Not only does she provide reviews of natural and organic beauty products, her site is also a shop, so that the products can all be purchased easily, all in one place. It is so convenient. As I already mentioned, I need to replace a lot of staple items, still. So instead of searching for one place for my hair care needs and another for my cosmetics and my fragrance somewhere else, I can easily find a ton of great choices, backed by knowledgeable research and reviews. It's almost too easy to even be a resolution at this point.  But after the year I had (we all had, probably) in 2020, I'll take a fail proof resolution.

Friday, January 1, 2021

How to Choose the Best Beauty Brand?

Are you sick and tired of the beauty brands you are currently using? Well, your skin unquestionably deserves the best possible treatment, which is why you need to introduce certain changes.

Although your skin type is supposed to guide you through the shopping journey, the reputation and prices of cosmetic brands are worth considering as well. Established companies produce cosmetic lines that fit all derma types while using non-allergenic, safe ingredients. 

The following tips will certainly assist you in your decision. 

Know your skin type 

In order to make the best choice of beauty brands, buyers are suggested to know their skin type. It’s paramount for the one you select to meet your requirements in terms of derma type, as it’s the only way to prevent the cosmetic products from harming your skin. Visit this URL to learn about different skin types and how to care for each of them. 

Victims of dry derma need creamy skincare and makeup products, which provide enough moisture. Cream-based foundation, concealers, eye shadows, and lip glosses are believed to improve hydration and silky texture. Make sure to avoid oil-free crèmes, lotions, and serums, as these would only increase dryness and create lines. 

Women with sensitive skin should be particularly attentive when selecting a beauty brand. Cosmetic products should contain no fragrances, parabens, and other preservatives. These buyers should always look for non-allergenic makeup, moisturizers, exfoliators, serums, etc. Conversely, individuals with combination skin should purchase cosmetics specially designed for their type of derma or use different products meant for the other derma types. 

People struggling with oily skin are supposed to check whether beauty brands offer a line of non-oily makeup and skincare products. Given the excessive amount of sebum produced by their sebaceous glands, these buyers need products containing no additional oil. 

An important thing for women to remember when shopping for cosmetics is avoiding products that induce derma dryness and irritation. You aren’t required to purchase all cosmetic products from a single beauty brand. Most women use a certain brand for foundation, whereas another for eye shadow or lipstick. For guidance on the causes, symptoms, and signs of dry skin, check out this link,

Check reputation

The reputation of beauty brands is crucial to consider, as it takes years for cosmetic companies to earn the trust of customers. Established brands are popular for their high-end makeup and skincare products, as well as for providing excellent customer service. 

In order to make a well-reasoned decision, buyers are advised to conduct detailed research into the market reputation of cosmetic companies. Unless the research proves customers consider a particular company trustworthy, there’s no point in investing in skincare products no one recommends. 

Make price comparison 

Another vital factor to take into account when choosing between various beauty brands is the price. The price range of cosmetic products is vast, speaking volumes about their quality. Generally, the cost is determined by the effectiveness of the product and the choice of ingredients. Makeup is supposed to provide remarkable coverage, while moisturizers, serums, and crèmes have to benefit the skin. 

Comparing prices is essential in order to check what the market has to offer. Even though high prices don’t necessarily indicate superb quality, these are still considered more reliable. In contrast, extremely low-cost skincare goods are best to be avoided.

Check the return policies

Return policies are worth inspecting before deciding on a beauty brand. These policies say a lot about the attention and care companies provide to clients by allowing them to return the goods in the event of low quality or a mistake on the part of the seller. 

Customers are supposed to get information about guarantees and return policies on the online sites of such companies. When shopping for organic cosmetics, such as lxmi organic products, make sure the brand offers a full refund. Customers are usually allowed to return the package in a thirty-day period to get a refund but they need to cover the cost for return shipping. 

Final word

Cosmetics should be chosen with the utmost attention in order to prevent dehydration, rashes, and acne breakouts.

Do not rush through the process to avoid regrets!

Holiday Gift Guide - Razor Petite Pocket Mod

The holidays this year were pure insanity. Online shopping and shipping were at record highs, causing backups and delays all over. But all the shipping providers have been working tirelessly to get things delivered, even if they had to arrive a little later than anticipated.

Some of my gift guide items arrived after Christmas. But that doesn't make them any less awesome. And they are still great gift ideas for any occasion. I think a lot of us deserve a gift for just surviving 2020, anyway. But there's also always birthdays, Valentine's Day, Easter, etc.

2020 may have lasted 5 years, but as a rule, holidays always approach way sooner than you expect them to. Planning ahead is the best way to spare stress and panic later.

So, back to my point; one of the coolest items I've checked out this year just arrived this week. It's a kids item, which I am super bummed about, since I would love this for myself. The Razor Petite Pocket Mod Scooter. It's so cute. I love the color and retro look. Everything about this is epic. 

It is meant for ages 7 and up. I can't even imagine having such a cool toy when I was that age. I was still traveling on a Big Wheel back then. Part of me is a bit jealous, but mostly I am just excited to be able to give my children all the cool stuff that I never had.

My daughter is over the moon for this thing. I don't blame her one bit. It's seriously so stylish and it looks like a blast. If it wasn't for those blasted (but practical and necessary) weight limits, I would have taken it for a spin. But At least I get to watch her enjoy it.

So whether you are still attempting to cling to the joy of holidays, or if you are ready to leave 2020 in your dust (aren't we all), the Razor Petite Pocket Mod is a perfect choice for any occasion. 

I hope you all have a very safe and happy New Year.

*Although I received this product at no cost, to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*