Here Are a Few Ways Around Those Rising Airline Baggage Fees


JetBlue did it first. Then United did it. And now, Delta and American have joined their competitors in hiking fees for checked baggage.

It now costs $ 30 each way for the first checked bag and $ 40 for the second bag — up from $ 25 and $ 35, respectively.

In a statement, American Airlines said it hadn’t raised the fees since 2010.

That’s cold comfort to passengers, said Douglas Kidd, executive director of the National Association of Airline Passengers. He said Wall Street is pressuring the airlines, whose stocks are publicly traded, to ratchet up fees to maximize profits.

In the first six months of 2018, United reaped nearly $ 603,000 from baggage fees, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. United took in more than $ 411,000, Delta $ 375,000 and JetBlue $ 150,000.

“Wall Street wants them to upsell,” said Kidd, whose nonprofit advocates for passengers. “We say charge what you need to charge [for a ticket], and don’t nickel-and-dime the passenger to death.”

What You Can Do to Avoid Checked-Baggage Fees

Short of driving or taking a train or bus, passengers have a few options:

  1. Fly Southwest, which still allows passengers to check two bags for free. “Southwest is very proud to offer our Bags Fly Free program,” company spokesman Dan Landson said. “We have no current plans to start charging for checked bags.”
  2. Apply for an airline-branded credit card. Some cards include waived baggage fees. But the terms vary from card to card and annual fees are required, so you’ll have to do the math to make sure the trade-off makes sense for you.
  3. Buy an airline baggage subscription. These pricy plans — United’s start at $ 349 a year, plus a $ 50 initiation fee that currently is being waived — are best for people who fly often. For that price, United allows a traveler and up to eight companions on the same reservation to check two bags each.
  4. Travel light. This obviously is the most practical choice for budget travelers. As a general rule, airlines allow one free carry-on bag small enough to fit in an overhead bin and one personal item such as a purse, computer bag or briefcase, Kidd said. (In basic economy class on American, only a personal item is allowed.) He advises flyers to always pack a change of clothes, clean underwear and a few toiletries in a carry-on bag even if they do check other luggage —  just in case it gets lost.
  5. If you need a large bag, price the parcel rate and ship it a few days in advance if it’s cheaper.
  6. Buy stock in the airline you fly (it doesn’t have to be a lot) and complain to shareholder relations as well as consumer relations. Shareholders have more clout, Kidd said.

“Traveling today is enough to test the patience and equanimity of most passengers,” he said

Susan Jacobson is an editor at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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3 Ways To Use Coconut Oil For Your Hair

Coconut

Source: Flavia Morlachetti / Getty

Stretching far beyond the kitchen, coconut oil has become a popular beauty solution in its smooth transition out of drinks, dinners, desserts and into hair.

The coconut itself is more than just a tasty tropical drupe. The oil of the palm’s giant ball of yum also acts as a natural repair (or maintenance) kit to many manes. The nutrients in coconut oil help promote shine and prevent hair loss through styling. That in part is due to its vitamin E and lauric acid components that penetrate deep into the hair shaft, making hair strong and healthy. Fuller hair growth, radiance and softness can be facilitated by the use of the oil as it nourishes, moisturizes and protects the scalp and hair.

Best part? Because it’s also used for cooking, you can easily find it in your local food market.

Between the purchasing convenience, inexpensive cost and alluring, yet playful scent, coconut oil is a winner. Check out three ways to incorporate it into your routine hair regimen below!

1. Deep condition

Deep conditioning at least once a month helps restore nutrients that slip away during heat styling, some washing and different product use. Coconut oil as a conditioner is different from your typical post-shampoo conditioner, but essentially follows the same steps. After spooning out coconut oil in a bowl and heating it up in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds (or, stick jar in bowl of warm water until melted), massage the coconut oil into your scalp. If the coconut oil is hot, wait until it’s warm to proceed. Work your way downward from your scalp, rubbing the coconut oil into your hair and all the way to your ends. Place hair in a plastic cap and let sit for about a hour to let the oil soak in. Proceed to wash your hair as normal, 2-3 times or until hair no longer feels oily. During your last wash, rinse with cool water to lock in moisture, make silky and help eliminate frizz.

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Budget-Friendly Ways to Market Your Business

As someone who works in the construction industry, you already know that marketing is an essential part of owning your own business. This is particularly true for contractors, where competition is stiff and it can be difficult to secure new leads at various points throughout the year.

The trickiest part of marketing for many small business owners is the cost. It can be expensive to run ads and print up marketing materials, and every penny counts for small businesses. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can get the word out about your business without breaking the bank. Here are our top tips for budget-friendly ways to market your business.

Close up portrait of civil engineer using laptop to planning project schedule., Engineering and construction concept.

Be Active on Social Media

 

As a business owner these days, it’s essential to have social media accounts that are up to date and informative for potential clients. But having an online presence isn’t enough—being engaged and active is what drives the successful businesses who attract and retain loyal and/or repeat clients. Being active means directly responding to messages, comments, reviews, and questions in order to satisfy your current and potential clients, as well as to grow your lead base.

There are hundreds of social media platforms around, but these are the best for construction industry professionals:

  • Facebook & Twitter– This is where you will post information and updates,  respond to and interact personally with clients, and run ads.
  • Twitter- Use this account for finding and interacting with clients and other industry connections.
  • Instagram– Utilize the photo-first format to showcase your work. Customers especially appreciate before and after photos.
  • LinkedIn– Show off your expertise and experience here, both through your own business profile and also by linking to those of your employees. It’s also a valuable tool for sourcing new contractors in your field.

While the pros of online marketing are obvious (such as instant status updates and a widened search radius for clients), some contractors can be put off by the techy language and unfamiliar processes of social media updates. If this is the case, you can enlist the help of friends or other professionals to guide you through the basics or search for tutorial videos online. You can also hire a social media professional to run your online marketing for you, but this will cost you.

Boost Your Online Presence

Once you’ve signed up for and updated your social media accounts, you will have significantly increased your potential client base just by being online. If you want more people to see your updates, you can opt to boost your posts or run sponsored ads by paying a small amount to the social media platform of your choosing. This option isn’t exactly free, but is still much cheaper than hiring a full time staff member to run your marketing department.

Of course, the Internet is about more than just social media. If you want to increase viewership on your business website or other online pages from outside the platform, you can also run ads on search engines. Many ad companies run on a pay-by-click basis, so you can run online advertisements while staying in budget: you can check out Google’s AdWords for more information on how this kind of marketing could work for you.

Use Sales and Offers to Increase Your Client Base

If your construction business is experiencing a slow period, one of the best ways to boost sales is by offering special deals for existing clients. This technique can also be used to bring in new customers when you want to grow your business – after all, everyone loves a good sale!

There are several ways to go about running a sale in order to market your business, but we have a few personal favorites that we think will help you bring in new leads.

  • Offer online discounts for social media followers (eg. 10% off service for Facebook followers)
  • Host giveaways for your clients (across online platforms or in person)
  • Give incentives for clients who recommend your services (via refer a friend schemes or by sharing your social media posts)

Although giveaways and discounts will slightly lower your profit margin initially, we think the benefits of these customer-friendly practices will more than make up for any losses in the long run. Clients love to be cared for, so they will not forget that you thought about them and will come back to you time and again – and recommend you to their friends!

Tweak Your Brand

Sometimes, all you need to boost sales—and company morale—is a bit of something new. Updating your brand is a great way of making everything feel fresh and new in your business, and potential leads will definitely appreciate the effort you put into your marketing materials.

A brand update doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul; you can often completely revive the look of your brand just by changing the color scheme or font on your logo. We also like the idea of using infographics as a marketing tool, but unless your graphic design skills are excellent this could take some time.

If you decide you do want some help to make your brand look better, you can hire a graphic designer to create a mock-up of the designs you would like. While many graphic design companies will charge you an arm and a leg—hourly—for this kind of work, you can save money by finding a friend who could help you for free. Another way to find help is by advertising your design job online. Websites like Fiverr allow you to post your requirements online and freelancers will bid for your job, so you can choose how much you pay and who you work with.

 

The post Budget-Friendly Ways to Market Your Business appeared first on Modernize.

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3 Ways to Evacuate Ahead of a Hurricane If You Don’t Have a Lot of Money


As a Florida native who yawned while Hurricane Matthew crawled up the eastern coastline of Florida two years ago, I never thought I’d find myself caught up in the usual hysteria.

After all, I’d dealt with major storms before as a local reporter: I’d trudged through knee-deep waters after Tropical Storm Debby pounded Siesta Key in 2012 and photographed college students kayaking the streets of Longboat Key during Tropical Storm Colin four years later.

But Hurricane Harvey, and the devastation it brought to Houston, changed all that.

So there I was in September of last year, waiting three hours in line in south St. Petersburg, Florida, to fill my own sandbags. I watched as news poured in about a run on water, gas and batteries as Hurricane Irma bore down on the state.

Luckily, I had already put together most of my disaster-preparedness kit, and on a budget at that.

But next came the big question: Should I stay or should I go?

Ask Yourself: Do You Actually Need to Evacuate?

“Run from the water. Hide from the wind.”

That’s the refrain Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane repeats every time a tropical cyclone threatens the vulnerable Gulf Coast county.

If you live in a home in a newer subdivision, or at least one that’s been built under current construction guidelines, and have hurricane shutters, you shouldn’t worry about the high winds. The storm surge and flooding will be the biggest threat to your home, McCrane said.

If you’re in a flood zone, you should be prepared to evacuate as a hurricane approaches. Check your county’s emergency management website to determine if you fall in an evacuation zone.

You should also plan to flee the storm if you live in a mobile home park or manufactured home.

For some, it’s just a matter of gassing up the SUV and heading to a hotel in another state if they want to evacuate. But what if you don’t have the luxury?

It may be slim pickings, but there are three resources for people who want to evacuate ahead of a hurricane.

1. Hurricane Shelters Could Be Your Best Bet

Hurricane shelters are there for a reason.

They are usually schools built under strict new construction guidelines that make them the safest place for your family and pets. Yes, your county should have a pet-friendly shelter available, McCrane said.

But what should you actually schlep with you over to the local shelter?

Bring everything you would need for your emergency kit at home, plus a few things to make yourself comfortable: pillows, blankets or air mattresses; folding or lawn chairs; extra clothing, shoes and glasses; toothpaste, deodorant and other hygiene supplies; important papers, identification and family keepsakes; extra medication; and toys or games to keep the kids — and yourselves — sane.

And if you have any furry family members, don’t forget your pet emergency kit.

Also, your insurance policy will be your golden ticket after the storm, so don’t forget that either.

Keep an eye on your local media stations to see when shelters open — don’t assume.

2. Reconnect With Friends and Relatives

Who says a natural disaster can’t be a good time to catch up with old friends?

Forget about paying inflated hotel room costs — let alone finding availability — and reach out to friends and family to see if they have an extra room or couch on which to crash.

“All you have to do is go tens of miles, not hundreds of miles,” McCrane said.

If you have to travel further than a few miles, bring plenty of cash in case ATMs are down and a filled gas can, if possible. Make sure to follow specific instructions like these on how to safely transport it. You’ll want to strap it to the top of your vehicle or secure it in the bed of a truck.

That way you’ll have an emergency stash if gas stations along the highway begin running out, and you can take advantage of current gas prices.

Bring everything mentioned above that you would take to a shelter, and make sure to let as many family members as you can know where you’re headed.

3. Look for an Airbnb

In 2012, Airbnb launched Open Homes, a disaster relief program that encourages Airbnb hosts to provide free temporary shelter for those affected by natural disasters.

Airbnb currently has open homes available for those affected by Tropical Storm Gordon.

The company has not yet announced open homes available for Hurricane Florence — but the storm is expected to make landfall later this week, so be sure you have those emergency kits ready (with lots of water).

But the best advice we have as you prepare your supplies and decide whether to evacuate is not to panic.

As we reach the peak of this year’s hurricane season, we’re reminded of the guidance offered by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman last year as Hurricane Irma approached:

“I know we’re all on edge, but another important reminder as we prepare for Hurricane Irma — let’s be nice to each other. It costs nothing.”

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. He covered hurricanes and tropical storms for five years in Sarasota, Florida.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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5 Ways to Invest in Real Estate Without Ever Buying Property

When it comes to wealth building, there’s probably no more trusted bet than to invest in real estate. According to Forbes, 10% of the top fortunes in America have been built in real estate.

In fact, not investing in real estate is the main cause behind the “American wealth gap.” Which basically means that by 2053, the median black value will drop to $ 0. (Meanwhile, white household wealth is projected to climb to $ 137,000 by 2053.) Granted, major deals require large degrees of startup capital; others lots of know-how. Contrary to popular belief, you can still start accumulating wealth in real estate—even without ever buying or managing a property yourself. Here are five ways to do it.

5 Ways to Invest in Real Estate Without a Property Purchase 

REITs

REITs (short for Real Estate Investment Trusts) are publicly traded companies that own, operate, and develop real estate. By buying REITs, you get direct access to institutional-level real estate.

One of the more popular examples is Empire Realty Trust, which owns the Empire State Building. Trading at $ 17.26, you can actually own a piece of their portfolio.

They’re not the only one, though. A number of New York REITs own a number of Manhattan high rises–here’s another example.

In addition, REITs are liquid securities, meaning you can sell in and out any given day—something you couldn’t do if you were to own the property outright.

Popular REITs:

  • SL Green [SLG]
  • Vornado [VNO]
  • Empire Realty Trust [ESRT]

Real Estate Crowdfunding

Real estate crowdfunding is a relatively new way to invest in real estate. Back in 2014, Washington, D.C.-based firm Fundrise made headlines with their pitch for private investors to own a piece of the World Trade Center for $ 5,000 through crowdfunding.

Since then, crowdfunding has become an avenue for investors to gain ownership. The Tulsa Real Estate Fund recently became the first black-owned real estate crowdfund, raising nearly $ 10 million in one week.

The benefits of crowdfunding are similar to REITs—you buy a piece of a larger portfolio and as it grows, so does your share.

Popular crowdfunding sites:

  • Fundrise.com
  • Realtymogul.com
  • Realtyshares.com

Tax Liens

Investing in tax liens isn’t exactly the most popular method, but it’s another avenue for investors to pocket high yields. According to CNBC, around $ 14 billion in property taxes go unpaid each year. About a third of this is then sold off to private investors.

For an investor, it basically works like this: When a property has unpaid taxes, a lien is issued. From there, a tax lien certificate is created by the municipality that reflects the amount owed, plus interest and penalties.

These certificates are then auctioned off. The investor who is willing to accept the lowest rate of interest or pay the highest premium will be awarded the lien. (Auctions vary from state to state. Here’s some info on how it goes down in New York.)

Real Estate Mutual Funds

Mutual funds, like REITs, are publicly traded companies. And they both give you similar access to the asset. The difference between them, however, is the way they function.

REITs own properties and sell a share of the portfolio. All well and good. Mutual funds own shares of multiple stocks, offering access to a pool of different REITs. (Check out the anatomy of a mutual fund here.)

Sounds confusing? It’s not, really. By owning a piece of one REIT, you own a piece of one portfolio that owns multiple properties. By owning a piece of a mutual fund, you now own a piece of multiple REITs.

REIT ETFs

ETFs—exchange-traded funds—are similar to mutual funds in the sense that both vehicles bundle stocks and bonds together in a nice package.

The idea here, like the mutual funds, is to create diversified portfolios for investors to park their money. How does this relate to real estate? Simple. There are ETFs that track the REITs, which gives you similar exposure as the mutual funds.

A REIT ETF invests in several property-owning real estate companies at once, and of course, this diversification further mitigates an investor’s exposure (whereas the individual buying a property is betting on just that one property).

There are a few differences between mutual funds and ETFs, however—mostly tax-related. (Which I won’t get into now, but you can read about here.)

Popular real estate ETFs:

  • iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF [IYR]
  • Schwab U.S. REIT ETF [SCHH]
  • Vanguard Real Estate ETF [VNQ]

 

 

The post 5 Ways to Invest in Real Estate Without Ever Buying Property appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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11 Ways to Get Rewarded for Becoming Your Best Self


In theory, we want be our best selves.

In reality, that’s a tall order.

Would you rather save for an emergency or venture off on vacation? Hit the gym after work or veg on the couch? Save the environment or crank the air when it’s 100 degrees outside?

Exactly. Exerting willpower and choosing to be your “best self” is difficult.

How to Become a Better Person — and Earn Some Extra Money

What if you could get paid to become a better person? You know, like a pat on the back.

Here are a few ways you can get rewarded for becoming your best self:

1. Become Your Most Fit Self

Grace Schweizer, TPH junior writer, shows off her Asics Outlet shoes she got to work out in.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

There’s a wellness company that’ll pay you to lose weight. It’s called HealthyWage, and we’ve interviewed several successful participants who won money when they hit their weight-loss goals. One woman, Teresa Suarez, lost 68 pounds — and earned more than $ 2,400.

How’s that for motivation? Here’s how it works:

  1. Read our full HealthyWage review, and sign up.
  2. Define a goal weight and the amount of time you’ll give yourself to achieve it.
  3. Place a bet on yourself ranging from $ 20 to $ 500 a month.

Depending on your “HealthyWager,” you could win up to $ 10,000.

2. Become Your Best Debt-Slaying Self

woman online shopping using credit card
kitzcorner/Getty Images

If you need some motivation to become your best debt-free self, how does an Amazon gift card sound?

MoneyLion is a free all-in-one app for managing your personal finances. It will reward you for things like paying your bills and monitoring your credit — even just setting up an account in the app.

If you want to take it a step further and work on paying down debts, for example, MoneyLion can help with a loan to consolidate your debt and potentially reduce your interest rates. And it’ll reward you for that, too.

Exchange your hard-earned rewards for gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Apple and Walmart.

3. Become Your Most Prepared Self

TPH photo editor, Alexa Vincent, uses various budget apps in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

You’ve been meaning to start an emergency fund. You know you need one. If something happens, well… you’re kind of screwed otherwise.

Here’s a way to reward yourself for becoming prepared: Play games with Long Game.

As you save and accomplish missions, you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes. We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels.

I use Long Game to save money. Every two weeks, it sneaks $ 5 out of my bank account and rewards me with coins.

In two months, I saved $ 35.70, just by playing games on my phone. Plus, my winnings amount to a gain of about 2% — way higher than interest on any other savings account I’ve had.

Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 points, so you can start playing while you wait for payday.

You’re playing games, saving money and becoming your best self.

4. Become Your Most I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T Self

girl on laptop at coffee shop
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Does earning $ 60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work from home while helping others succeed?

Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers.

And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.

It’s a great opportunity for parents who want to work part time, millennials who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.

We talked to Robinson about what it takes to become a virtual bookkeeper, as well as tips and advice for making this career track work for you. You can read the full interview here, or check out his website for more information.

5. Become Your Most Minimalist Self

Grace Schweizer, a TPH junior writer, sorts through her clothes to create her own capsule wardrobe at her apartment in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Living that #Minimalist lifestyle is all the rage right now, so why not use this mentality to become your best self?

Start taking a good hard look at your belongings. What do you actually need? What would you rather make money from?

You can sell virtually anything on Letgo. This app lets you snap a photo and upload your item in less than 30 seconds. It removes a lot of the hassle of selling things online, and it’s 100% free to use.

6. Become Your Most Eco-Conscious Self

ight Switches turned off and on, Tampa Fla
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

California residents, you can earn extra money by syncing your utility accounts to an energy-saving program called OhmConnect and agreeing to help reduce energy usage a few hours each week.

We talked with one San Diego resident, John Hastie, who’s made more than $ 400 in one month through the platform.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for a free OhmConnect account, and sync it with your online utility account though Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison.
  2. Once or twice a week, you’ll receive a text message to participate in an #OhmHour, a period of reduced energy consumption. Turn down unnecessary lights, hold off on doing the laundry or the dishes and opt for a fan instead of the AC. It’s a perfect time to go outside, play games on your phone, or go to dinner or the movies.
  3. OhmConnect will pay you for reducing your electricity consumption during #OhmHours.

Why? By cutting your electricity use, you help keep demand low and prevent unclean power sources from kicking in. So you’re earning money while helping the planet — not bad!

7. Become Your Thriftiest Self

Kristy Gaunt shops at Trader Joe's in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Sure, Ibotta is traditionally known as a cash-back app for groceries — and you can still earn a heap of cash on your next haul — but you can also earn cash back on just about anything you purchase.

Yep, the app has expanded, and you can bank cash when you make an Amazon purchase, sign up for Hulu, book your next vacation or even order groceries through Shipt.

If you sign up now, you’ll snag a $ 10 bonus when you claim your first cash-back offer.

8. Become Your Most Retirement-Ready Self

senior couple at the lake having a picnic.
Halfpoint/Getty Images

Got a 401(k)? You’re on the right track.

Now you just need to make sure it’s doing what you need it to. However, tapping into that account and deciphering the information — or lack thereof — can be hard.

There’s a robo-adviser for that. Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm, will optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you.

It gives you an initial 401(k) checkup for free, and you’ll get to know your account a little more intimately. Find out if you’re paying too many hidden fees, have the appropriate amount invested in stocks versus bonds, that kind of fun stuff.

After that, the tool is $ 10 a month to use to continue to monitor your retirement account. Let Blooom know your target retirement age, and it can help you get there by investing more and less aggressively.

9. Become Your Most Artistic Self

young woman taking pictures with phone outdoors
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Got a good eye? Embrace your inner artist and turn your smartphone photos into cash with an app called Foap.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the free app and create an account.
  2. Take a quality photo and upload it to Foap’s marketplace.
  3. Someone buys the license to your photo for $ 10. You make $ 5.

If your photo sells 20 times, you make $ 5 each time and end up with $ 100 in your pocket — all for about five minutes of work. Pretty cool, right?

10. Become Your Most Viral Self

Young woman fixing her camera
Anchiy/Getty Images

Think you have something that might go viral? Or have expertise in something folks might be interested to learn? Make a YouTube video.

Contributor Steve Gillman has done just that. He’s monetized his YouTube videos with Google AdSense. For example, he shot 10 videos about ultralight backpacking. No, they didn’t become huge hits, but he has made more than $ 1,000 over the years.

He outlines how you can start a YouTube channel.

11. Become Your Most Friendly Self

female friends walking into coffee shop together
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Fun fact: You can make money renting your friendship out. RentAFriend is a “strictly platonic friendship website” that allows its members to search for friendships. Cue: Your friendliest self.

“Friends” charge anywhere from $ 10 to $ 50 per hour.

We chatted with several Friends, who acted as a wedding plus-one or tagged along to a movie showing.

Are You Motivated to Become Your Best Self?

Now, when it comes to those tough decisions — should I spend my money on meals out or saving for an emergency? — hopefully some of these perks will help you make the more responsible decision, at least most of the time.

After all, it’s kind of fun watching yourself grow… and make money while doing it.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s her best self after a good 12 hours of sleep.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Here are 15 ways to make your online dating profile stand out

We’ve spoken to the experts to get their top tips on making your dating profile work for you.

dating profile

Creating a dating profile can be scary. After all, it’s not always easy to big yourself up without sounding conceited or (even worse) desperate. But did you know that one in three couples now find love online?

Yes, really.

In this fast-paced, social media-dependent world, we rely on the Internet for everything – from keeping in touch with old school friends and career networking to ordering takeaways and finding a cat-sitter for that weekend away. So it only seems logical you would use the good old Internet for finding that special someone, too.

That said, the world of online dating can be daunting if you’ve never tried it before, so here are our top tips for making the most of your dating profile and spotting a great potential partner.

We also got the help of Charly Lester, Co-Founder of Lumen, the newest dating app on the scene, specifically designed for cool and adventurous over 50s. Her advice however, can help you no matter your age!

dating profile

How to make the most of your online dating profile

1. Ask your friends for help

Get a friend to help you write your profile. Sometimes they know you better than you know yourself.

2. Avoid clichés

Even if you do like “walking on the beach” or “drinking wine in front of a roaring fire” leave it out – everyone says that. Think of something interesting that could be a conversation starter.

3. Look at other profiles

‘If you struggle for inspiration, why not look at other profiles to see what other people are saying?’ suggests Charly Lester, co-founder of new over 50s dating app Lumen. ‘Reading other peoples’ profiles might give you ideas for things to include in your own one.’

4. Choose action shots

Wouldn’t you know, profile photos that demonstrate you playing your guitar or downhill skiing – even if your face isn’t showing – get more messages.

5. Stay positive

Avoid negative tones and always be positive about yourself. Your profile is essentially your dating CV. You wouldn’t want a future employer to read anything negative, so why would you want a potential partner to read anything that isn’t positive?

dating profile

6. Be honest

Lying doesn’t get you anywhere in the dating world. Honesty is the best policy!

7. Be specific

Talk in specifics to give a full flavour of who you are. If you love travelling, say where your favourite place is and why. Anything concrete like this brings you alive to anyone reading.

8. Update regularly

Keep your profile up to date. Make the effort to renew your profile on a regular basis with relevant information about yourself.

9. Check your grammar

Many people find poor grammar and spelling a turn off, and the best of us can make mistakes, so be careful on this point. Put your profile into Word and use your computer spell check for peace of mind.

dating profile

REX

10. Say cheese

In a recent poll, we found that 96 per cent of people would rather see a big, happy grin in a profile photo than a sexy pout.

11. Choose recent photos

If they are more than a year old, don’t use them. One of the most frequent complaints about online dating profiles is “they may have looked like that once but they certainly don’t look like that now”. Looking better in the flesh is better than the reverse.

12. Show them the real you

‘It’s been proven that the more photos you have on your profile, the more attention it will get,’ says Charly. ‘So make the most of that. Include at least a couple of clear head shots, where you’re not wearing sunglasses and you can clearly see your face. I always include at least one full length photo too, so there are no surprises when we meet up in real life.’

13. Have fun

Most people want to find someone who can make them laugh, so show people you have a sense of humour. If you can make someone laugh, it’s a great icebreaker and could get your conversation off to a great start.

14. Be the focus

Don’t choose a picture where you are not the main focal point.

15. Think out of the box

‘If a dating profile asks what you’re looking for, don’t give too much detail. Tell them about the type of relationship you’re looking for, and if you have set deal-breakers like “must like dogs”. But when it comes to things like height, weight, income, hair colour etc – there is no point listing these things,’ explains Charly. ‘Firstly, it can make you look too unapproachable, even to someone who ticks all the right boxes. And secondly, you’ll be surprised how often people fall for someone who doesn’t tick any of their original boxes!’

dating profile

How to spot a good date

1. No negativity

If someone mentions anything cynical about relationships or comments about their “annoying” ex, move along. You don’t need a date with Mr Angry.

2. No arrogance

Avoid Mr ‘It’s All About Me’. It’s good to love yourself but there is a line that should not be crossed.

3. Check their photos

Are they in a bar or nightclub in every shot? If so, don’t contact them if you’re someone who likes to be in bed by 9pm.

4. No waffling

A long and very detailed profile could be an indication of what’s in store when you meet them in person. Nobody likes a waffler.

5. Kindness is key

Look for people with a good character. A profile that mentions family and friends, volunteering, and enjoying spending time with kids is a good sign.

Now you know how to make your dating profile stand out amongst the crowd, why not check out our round-up of the best online dating websites to sign up to? Looking for something a little less serious? These are the best apps for no strings sex – hello Tinder! Already a dating a pro? Then chances are you’ll related to these 12 soul destroying things you only know if you sign up for internet dating.

Whatever you choose, just follow the advice above and chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Happy online dating…

The post Here are 15 ways to make your online dating profile stand out appeared first on Marie Claire.

Marie Claire

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Unconventional ways to save money while traveling

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When you’re at home, you most likely know how to save money by shopping at the cheapest stores and which attractions are free.  So there’s no reason not to use this knowledge on holiday too.  The internet can be very useful in finding out where the best places to go are for saving money. Upon arriving you can also befriend locals and ask them for tips. This is not only a great way to save money, but it also gives you a more comprehensive understanding of the culture in the city you’re visiting. The smaller less-known restaurants and attractions that are off-the-beat-and-track are often the best both for your experience and wallet.

Travel Points

Most of your travel budget goes towards accommodation and transportation, so if you want to save money, you’ll have to find ways to get cheaper hotels and flights. And that’s where travel hacking comes in.  Hotel points and air miles are the way to go, as they can get you either free or discounted prices. For all the money you’ve already spent, you might as well get something back for it.It’s a simple and smart way to save money and allows you to travel like royalty without having to search for the cheapest flights and hotels.

Find cheap transportation

While traveling abroad, there are many ways to save money on transport. However, it all depends on what you’ve got in mind for your trip.  Perhaps booking a train ticket ahead of time is your best bet, or maybe getting a monthly rail pass will save you the most money. You have to do your research and figure out what makes the most sense.  Mainly in Europe, first-class train tickets are much more expensive than the regular cabin and are not all that different or more comfortable. Traveling by bus if you are not rushing will save you even more money. And if you are traveling with a group, sometimes renting a car and splitting the costs is the most efficient way to go, which also has an added element of comfort and freedom.

Choose your destination wisely

If you’re tight on money then you will need to consider your next travel destination very wisely.  Just because you’ve been wanting to go to a specific place, it doesn’t mean that other cheaper options are not worth seeing too. Do your research and find out what will offer you the best deal as well as an unforgettable experience.  Often the average popular tourist spots are very commercial and crowded anyway.

Work while traveling

Working while traveling is a great way to both save money and make money while you’re abroad. It makes the most sense for someone who is traveling for a long period of time and has more time to spend abroad. If you are traveling for just a week, this is not an ideal situation. But many solo travelers go away for months at a time, and if this is you, then working at a hotel or hostel for example can provide you with a free place to stay as well as extra cash to enjoy the your holiday during your time off, especially since this type of work is in shifts. Working at a restaurant as well will give you some free meals. And if you have a specific niche, such as singing then try performing at a bar. If you’re talented at yoga, offer some classes.

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The post Unconventional ways to save money while traveling appeared first on Worldation.

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5 Ways ‘Pac-Man’ Influenced Modern Video Games

In 1980, an odd little game began appearing in arcades, bars, and shopping centers first in Japan, and later the US. The game featured a maze, colorful ghosts, and what looked like a partially-eaten cheese wheel. Unlike anything that had come before it, it took the world by storm and changed the video game industry forever. Even today, video games owe a debt to Pac-Man for breaking ground in so many ways.

The Playable Character


“Woka woka woka woka.”

Although some early computer games did feature crude examples of a playable character, Pac-Man was the first arcade game to utilize the concept, creating a mascot that would become the face of the game. Pac-Man popularized the concept of the player character to the point that the little yellow circle with a mouth became a star in his own right.

Pac-Man showed game designers the true importance of character and helped make the player character a staple of gaming. From Mario to Lara Croft to Master Chief, the best characters help elevate their games from a simple exercise of skill to an immersive world a player can inhabit by proxy.

Power-ups


The hunters become the hunted.

You’re playing Pac-Man for the first time. Five quarters in and you’ve finally managed to survive more than twenty seconds. You make for a corner, scarfing down a power pellet. Suddenly, the colorful ghosts turn blue and run. You chase after them, gobbling up as many as you can. You’ve discovered a new weapon against the ghosts, and more importantly, the first power-up in gaming history.

From med packs to weapons upgrades to flowers that let you shoot fireballs, hardly a game exists that doesn’t in some way allow you to enhance your natural abilities. Power-ups have become as diverse in gaming as they are numerous, and they all owe their existence to Pac-Man.

Cutscenes

Cutscenes, for better or worse, are a staple of gaming. No matter how people may feel about them, they help build the world of the game, adding context and background to the character and the mission. With complex storytelling, talented voice actors, and captivating visuals, the best cutscenes almost outshine the games themselves.

After Level One is cleared, Pac-Man’s titular hero appears minus the maze with Blinky hot on his heels. They both disappear off-screen. Blinky returns seconds later, now blue and being chased by a giant-sized Pac-Man. This brief animation marks the humble beginnings of a format that today has reached a cinematic level of quality and sophistication.

Stealth Play

Until Pac-Man came along, the primary objective of arcade games had been to shoot at as many enemies as you could or to beat your opponent in a sports simulation. Pac-Man, however, defeated his foes not by attacking, but by avoiding them. Pac-Man popularized the concept of stealth in gaming, that hiding from danger can be just as compelling as running from it.

More sophisticated games such as Metal Gear Solid and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell heavily employ Pac-Man’s conflict avoidance strategy, focusing gameplay on eluding the enemy until the right time to strike. Stealth play has become a staple of modern gaming. Though it may not be the primary focus, dozens of games utilize stealth in one form or another, all beginning with a pixelated circle running from ghosts.

Mass Appeal


Must-haves for the Gen-X middle schooler.

Pac-Man is the most popular arcade game of all time, and the little yellow chomper is the most recognizable icon in all of gaming. Creator Toru Iwatani designed Pac-Man to appeal to an audience beyond the typical hardcore gamer, and that it did. Pac-Man became a global phenomenon, spawning books, a cartoon, a top-ten pop song, and hordes of merchandise from breakfast cereals to roller skates.

The “Pac-Man Fever” of the early 80s eventually broke, but Pac-Man never truly faded from pop consciousness. In addition to its own success, Pac-Man brought gaming itself into the mainstream. The industry ever since has produced games marketed to broader audiences in addition to those targeted specifically to serious gamers. Mass appeal games like The Sims, Dance Dance Revolution, and Candy Crush can thank Pac-Man for proving that anyone can enjoy video games.

6 Fighting Games That Broke The Mold

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14 Creative Ways of Making Money On the Side

Making money in addition to a regular income can have a big impact on your finances. An extra $ 500 per month could go a long way in paying down debt or raising your investment. Diversifying your income streams is important, especially as wage remain stagnant. You decide how you want to produce the income. Either you ‘do something’ to generate the income- this is active income such as providing a service; or the income is generated without you having to ‘do anything,’ – this is passive income such as hosting an Airbnb. Just make sure you do not place all your eggs in one basket.

Creating multiple streams of income does not man get a second job to supplement your current income. A second job does not provide you with the flexibility and freedom to increase your income. In fact, it can hurt you when you think about it. You are trading time for money and in the long run, you lose. Instead, create something that will allow you to give yourself a pay raise when you need and want it. 

When evaluating and researching ways to produce income, take the following into consideration:

  • Investment — should require minimal investment.
  • Sustainable — ultimately, something that generates income without you.
  • Scalable — produces substantial amounts of income
  • Flexibility — you call the shots. 

Here’s what an extra $ 500 per month could look like: 

Savings account: If you deposited $ 500 each month for one year with an interest rate of 4.00%, compounded annually, and an initial starting balance of $ 500, your yield will be $ 6,629.22. 

Investment account: Now transfer the amount above from your savings into a 5- year CD with an interest rate of 2%, compounded annually, for five years, your yield will be $ 7,319.99.

Financial freedom: Extra income of $ 500 per month could cover car payments, auto insurance, help pay down credit card debt, or cover some or even all of a mortgage payment. Before saving, research rates, get your kids involved, and have fun with it. 

Small incremental savings can ultimately go a long way. Below are steadfast ideas guaranteed to help you generate multiple streams of income this year.

14 Ways of Making Money on the Side 

Sell an E-book

If publishing a book the traditional ways is a long shot, then consider an e-book. An e-book is simple; many people publish them for free, but many sell them as well on Amazon.

Affiliate Marketing

If you have a blog or other type of site, you can build affiliate links to different services on the website. Many people use Amazon as an affiliate partner. For example, if you are a beauty blogger writing about different products, you can set up Amazon affiliate links on your blog so that whenever someone buys the product you mention on Amazon, you receive a percentage of the sale. Amazon is not the only affiliate partner out there. Here is good, in-depth information on affiliate marketing

Write a Book

A well-written book will undoubtedly rake in some profits for you. Although the process of getting it published is sometimes tedious, it is not entirely impossible. Contrary to what many believe, self-publishing can be easy, fun, invigorating, and life changing.

Begin a Micro-Business

Many of the above examples are also small businesses. However, you can start a more traditional kind of business–one that sells a service or product. Consider the one thing you’re good at or the one thing you are constantly complimented on. Before starting, make sure you have all the legal documents in alignment.

Teach a Class

If you have excellent skills or knowledge, then consider teaching at a university; make a series of seminars or make your own classes at your business.

Offer Consulting or Coaching

Instead of teaching a full class, you can coach clients one-on-one.

Start a Blog

It may take a while for a blog to earn any money, as with any business, but with consistency and commitment, it will eventually pay off.

Develop a Product

A typical way of making money is to transform a service into a product. For example, as a freelancer, you offer a service once and earn money once. However, if you can change your service into a product, you can put it up for sale once and get paid lots of times.

Have Multiple Clients

If you depend on one main client only, slowly begin branching out to fresh customers. Build your client list through list building.

Launch a Magazine

You can select a topic, develop content, transform it into a perfect magazine and sell it for a profit.

Offer Expert Advice 

The technique here charges for calls from people who want guidance in the topic/field you are knowledgeable in.

Create a Membership Website 

If you can make valuable content, there will almost forever be people willing to pay a monthly fee for membership.

Invest

Stocks, bonds, 401(k)s, annuities, etc., are great ways to earn passive income. Place proceeds in a high-interest savings account or a high-interest checking account to establish your emergency fund account.

Purchase Real Estate

Real estate is a good way to earn extra income. Real estate investing includes fixing and flipping houses, which requires capital in the form of cash and credit. Speak with seasoned investors and realtors to find out if this passive income strategy is right for you.

Producing additional income is the foundation to building wealth. While earning extra income does take work, the ROI can be enormous and pay off for years to come. Now’s the time to create your plan for building your financial legacy for you and your family.  

-Editor’s Note: This article was updated since its original publish date of March 14, 2017.

 

 

The post 14 Creative Ways of Making Money On the Side appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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4 Ways to Increase Your Value at Work

When it comes to getting ahead in your career, many people share the all too familiar advice: “You have to add value to your network.” But what does adding value really mean? How do you put it into practice every day at work? If you’re a hard worker, shouldn’t your work and years of experience speak for itself? Well, yes and no.

First, let’s address a few misconceptions. Many times we define value as something tangible like buying a product or achieving your sales goals. But the value you deliver to your customer or employer is often related to your ability to make someone’s life easier. Secondly, value is not related to time, especially in business. In fact, in many cases “value” trumps your “years of experience” or “years on the job.” While getting a degree and working hard may get your foot in the door, the right relationships can take you places, your credentials cannot.

Here are 4 ways you can increase your value at work.

Choose the attitude you bring to the workplace. Just like you wake up every day and decide on the clothes you’re going to wear to work, you have the power to choose your attitude. Your attitude is about the energy or vibe that people feel when they connect with you. People hire, promote, and do business with people they like. And believe it or not, it starts with your presence. So a super simple tip for the workplace—greet people before they greet you. Also, consider the following:

  • Adapt to change – Whether you work in technology, fashion, or healthcare, change is inevitable. So demonstrating an ability to adapt without “complaining or turning into a killjoy on the team” can translate into value for an executive or manager. Train your mind to find the brighter side of things and learn to respond not react. This can position you as a trusted leader who inspires performance in others.
  • Manage your emotions – As you climb the ladder of success, your emotional intelligence (EQ), becomes more important than your IQ. EQ is your ability to manage, and express emotions as well as your capacity to sense how others feel and adjust your response accordingly.

Simplify an overcomplicated process – Train your mind to go from blame to ownership. Ask yourself, can this frustrating and time-consuming work process be simplified or updated so that it reduces stress, time, and costs? Can you streamline the business workflow so that it requires fewer touch points, reduces delays, and improves your customer’s experience? When you decide to create rather than complain, it positions you as a resourceful team player. Even if you don’t have the authority to approve changes, recommend or propose solutions.

Say no with options. Let’s say your manager asks you to volunteer to organize a softball event at work, but you’re unavailable. Instead of saying “no, maybe next time,” recommend someone as your replacement and offer to do a virtual introduction. This shows that you’re thoughtful, resourceful, and care about the team’s success.

Get to know the sweet spot for each person on your management team. When I worked for a management consulting firm, I had three managers for one client project. Each manager had a different sweet spot—a goal, frustration, or initiative he/she was most concerned about. For instance, while my direct manager was concerned about hours and budgets, the other manager was concerned about product safety and compliance. So, although I was primarily responsible for implementing communication campaigns, I often created or recommended solutions with each manager’s needs in mind because 1) it demonstrated my holistic approach to process improvement for the entire business—not just my role. 2) I was able to refer to these experiences and showcase my performance during my negotiations or discussions for a pay raise.

The post 4 Ways to Increase Your Value at Work appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

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18 Ways You’re Accidentally Wasting Energy

You turn off lights when you leave a room, combine errands to stretch a tank of gas, and run only full loads in your dishwasher. Yet even if you’re following the basics of home energy conservation, whether to save the earth or just save some cash, there’s still more you could be doing. In fact, chances are you still have a few bad energy habits that are leading to higher utility costs. Here are just a few ways you may be unintentionally wasting energy—and a few recommendations for changing your habits and lowering your bills.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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Swagbucks is More Than Surveys: 4 New Ways to Earn Money


Still think the only way to earn gift cards on Swagbucks is by taking surveys, watching videos and searching online? Think again.

Swagbucks is adding new ways to earn rewards all the time. In just 20 minutes a day, I earn $ 100 or more per month in Swagbucks rewards. To boost your bonus earnings, check out these top ways we’ve found to increase your rewards in less time.

New to Swagbucks? Check out our complete beginner’s guide.

Play Swag IQ

Swagbucks’ new trivia game, Swag IQ, lets you earn rewards for your trivia prowess.

A live trivia game every weekday allows you to win Swagbucks (SBs) for correct answers. Get all ten questions right (or buy back in with SBs when you get one wrong) and receive your share of the daily cash price. The bonus pot is typically worth over $ 1,100, but the prize is split between all winners.

Even if you get a question wrong, be sure to stick around! You earn SBs for each correct answer. But you do have to be signed in for the entire game for those rewards to hit your account.

Get Bonus SBs for Completing a Swago Board

Swago is Swagbucks’ digital bingo game to earn bonus rewards. These contests are weeklong challenges to complete different simple tasks within the Swagbucks platform to create specific designs on your Swago board. The more difficult the design, the more SBs you can earn.

Claim tiles by earning SBs through using the Swagbucks search engine, attempting surveys, clicking through to partner sites and activating your SwagButton browser extension. The columns with the easiest tiles on the board typically take just a minute or two, and can earn you 10 SBs. But fill up the whole board and you’ll snag 500 SBs.

Beware, however, that completing the whole board always includes buying a gift card from Swagbucks partner site, MyGiftCardsPlus. Only buy gift cards you need. Don’t create unnecessary spending to earn rewards.

Take Advantage of Swag Local Rewards

You don’t need to be online to earn Swagbucks rewards. Swagbucks is partnered with thousands of local businesses to offer SB rewards on your purchases.

Connect a credit or debit card to Swagbucks so they can see your transactions. (Don’t worry: They don’t have access to make changes to your account, and they are fully secure.) Then shop at your usual local restaurants and businesses. Rewards will be automatically applied to your account.

This is one of my favorite ways to earn SBs, since I get rewards for things I’m already doing. My family’s favorite local barbecue and Chinese food restaurants are partnered with Swag Local. After linking our card, I get rewards every time we order takeout.

If you’re looking to cool off this summer, Baskin-Robbins is offering 15 SBs per dollar spent – the equivalent of 15% rewards. Keep an eye out on your account balance; it can take two to three weeks for your account to be credited.

Complete Your Daily To-Do List

Ever sign into Swagbucks and wonder what to do first? There are so many ways to earn SBs now, with more being added all the time. To help you focus your efforts, Swagbucks has rolled out a daily to-do list.

With eight items on the list, you earn a bonus for completing your daily activities in addition to your rewards from each task.

I like to do the Daily Watch on my phone. That way, I can run the movie trailers while I tackle the other items on the list. The Daily Poll, Daily Search and Deal of the Day just require a quick click, but completing a survey can take a few minutes.

Finishing your daily to-do list has a double benefit.

Checking off all eight items, including completing a gold survey, usually earns you enough SBs to surpass your daily earnings goal. That gets you another few bonus SBs. And who doesn’t like free money?

Chelsea Brennan is a personal finance writer focused on helping families make their money work for them. She is the founder of the blog Mama Fish Saves, and her work has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, GoBankingRates and more.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Scientists seek new ways to combat Florida’s growing ‘red tide’

Scientists in Florida are on the cusp of developing promising methods to control toxic algae blooms like the “red tide” that has been killing marine life along a 150-mile (240-km) stretch of the Gulf Coast, the head of a leading marine lab said on Wednesday.


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The surprising ways kids around the world get to school

The wheels on the bus don’t go “round and round” all over the world. Some children climb cliffs while others row boats to school, but simply walking is most common.


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5 Easy Ways to Feel Stunning in Your Swimsuit (with a Little Help From Self-Love Advocate Sarah Sapora)

Not feeling yourself when you look in the mirror lately? Sarah Sapora wants to change that.

The wellness advocate, whose Instagram has more than 150,000 followers who love her positive messaging, is helping women find self-love by leading by example.

“I realized that if I could share my stories, which has always come really easily and comfortably for me, then I could help create a safe space for others to have their experience,” she tells PEOPLE.

Sapora’s journey of personal growth began in 2015, when both of her parents ended up in the hospital at the same time. Sapora, then 360 lbs., could barely walk the city block to  the hospital without feeling extreme pain.

“That was the moment where it flashed in my head like a neon light; I had two parents with serious heart disease and I had to do something,” she says. “Not only did I feel my career was stalling, but my life felt like it was stalling out. I knew I needed to find out what my dream was and what was meaningful to me.”

Eventually, she did some soul-searching and started to work out. “I made a promise to myself, ‘I’m willing to begin this journey without knowing what it’s going to look like,’ ” she said.

Although she ended up losing about 95 lbs., her goal was never about the scale. “I don’t want to make the number the emphasis of my journey … I wanted to be healthier and happier when I turned 40 than I did when I turned 30,” says Sapora, who hits the milestone in September.

Sapora also found her passion – helping and connecting to other women – along the way. She has since organized an annual Body + Love workshop, a “size-inclusive retreat for persons of every age, shape, and color to connect and learn tools to rise into an empowered life.”

Sapora says she feels no pressure to lose more weight, in fact her ultimate objective is to “bang down the door of the industry for women of size.”

“It’s not my goal to chase skinny. It’s to be the most powerful, aligned badass version of Sarah that I can be,” she says. “And I feel a sense of duty to create a safe space for other people. Every time I go somewhere and I’m the only person of size there, I look around and if the room is filled with slender, very athletic, caucasian young people, I say ‘man, I can’t wait for there to be more body types in here, more colors, more ages’ — and it fuels me.”

In celebration of self-love this summer, Sapora is sharing her favorite five tips below for feeling body confident in your bathing suit.

Take your swimsuit for a test drive.
“Wear your bathing suit around the house, in your backyard, when you are alone or with family. Get comfortable in it before you venture out to a public place like the pool or beach. Spend a day in your bathing suit while doing tasks that have nothing to do with swimming —watch TV, cook, clean, talk on the phone. Doing this will help you get over anxiety about wearing the suit and how your body feels in it in small steps.”

Curate your social media.
“Think of your social media feed as the online equivalent of your inner monologue. Negative self-talk makes you feel the pits while positive stuff uplifts you. Edit your social feed accordingly. Unfollow accounts that make you feel self-conscious and add feeds that inspire you. Consider following influencers in a variety of shapes, sizes, ages, colors and abilities. Observe other people living fearlessly in their skin as it is.”

Do what feels great.
“The better you physically feel in your body, the more comfortable you will be in your swimsuit. Now is not the time to crash diet (honestly, it is never the time to do that!). Instead, learn holistically what makes you feel amazing. Do you love to stretch? Does dancing liberate you? Do you feel lighter on your feet when you lay off the oily foods and eat more naturally? Take time and listen to what your body wants!”

Stop comparing yourself to others.
“You literally have no idea what they are experiencing in life and what their individual body journey is like. The only person you can stack yourself up against is you.”

Be honest about what makes you anxious.
“Get specific. What are you scared of? Are you worried people will look at you funny? Be unkind? Name it and then say, ‘So what?’ So what if someone looks at you? That is a reflection of them. So what if someone says something unkind? That only shows they are nasty; dismiss it and keep going! The stuff that scares you is probably all stuff you literally cannot control. Show up, be you as fully as possible and let other people do their own thing while you make memories!”

 


PEOPLE.com

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They say that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Running, for instance, is considered generally good for your health. Overdo it, though, without allowing your body proper rest, and you could suffer injuries that sideline you for months. The same could be said of cherries. …

The post “Hot” Women at Risk—7 Simple Ways to Cool Inflammation appeared first on Women's Health.

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The Most Luxurious Ways to Rough It in the Wild

A weekend in the country can be rejuvenating, but the idea of roughing it, even for just a few nights, doesn’t appeal to everyone. Luckily, the glamping trend is still going strong. Resorts and campsites nationwide are creating luxurious rural accommodations for travelers who want to experience nature without giving up the conveniences of modern life. After all, how are we going to Instagram our rustic retreat without a phone charger? Here are 15 glamping locations that combine luxury with a rugged outdoor living experience.
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12 Ways to Stay Cool While Wearing Classic Menswear

There’s a certain type of man–and I include myself in this group–who sees it as a matter of principle to wear tailored clothing no matter what the weather. We’re the sort who never wear shorts except at the beach and feel naked without a jacket.

So, even when it’s pushing 90 degrees, we still wear suits or sport coats and repeatedly get asked the question “Aren’t you hot?.” Although we may treat the question as a statement and say “Thanks for the compliment!” the fact is we may indeed be sacrificing comfort and sweating for the sake of elegance. However, there are certain things we can do to stay cool (literally!) as gentlemen who love to wear tailored clothes in summer temps.

12 Ways to Stay Cool Wearing Classic Menswear in the Heat

Carrera with Fresco, Boutonniere & Knit Tie

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a Fresco suit with a Fort Belvedere cornflower boutonniere & Knit Tie

1. Choose the Right Summer Fabrics for Your Tailoring

While a worsted wool suit is sometimes marketed as year-round wear, the fact is it is appropriate for only three seasons in most cases, and the excluded season is summer. If you must wear a suit for work, in the realm of pure wool, you can wear fresco, which looks close enough to worsted though with an open weave that allows ventilation.

Seersucker is also a popular, albeit bold, suiting option for keeping cool as its puckered texture, owed to the way the fabric is woven, keeps it away from your skin and allows air circulation. You could also opt for a suit of pure linen, which may be the coolest wearing fabric, but the wrinkling can be problematic for professional settings: if you sit for a long time, it’ll make the backs of your knees look like an accordion when you get up.

Sophisticated Wrinkles a of Cotton and Linen Blend Fabric

Sophisticated wrinkles of a cotton and linen blend fabric

However, if you have the freedom to wear a sport coat, then linen is definitely in play. If you’re limited to suits (and for sports coats with less wrinkling) find a linen blend instead, like a cotton-linen or wool-linen-silk combination.

2. Lose the Lining

 

 

Gagliardi Summer jacket

A summer jacket from Gagliardi that is likely quarter-lined, with visible “butterfly lining” at the upper back only.

Thankfully, tailors and menswear manufacturers of off-the-rack jackets and suits understand that summer is hot and usually make their seasonal tailoring available unlined or with minimal lining: either half lined, meaning the sleeves, upper half and sides of the jacket but not the lower back; or quarter lined, meaning just the sleeves and upper back.

Half lining, Pen Pocket, Sunglass or phone pocket and white piping on the inside

Half lined jacket for the summer

The latter is sometimes called “butterfly lining” since the overlapping lining looks like the open wings of a butterfly. Some jackets may be totally unlined and thus shirt-like, though the insides of the sleeves will still usually be lined to help them lie neatly on your arms. Sleeve lining also lets you put your jacket on and take it off more easily. However, you may find jackets from spring/summer collections that have full lining; these are fine for spring but be careful avoid them in truly hot weather. The ultimate summer jacket is one that also has no canvas and is thus “unconstructed.” While canvassing helps the jacket conform to your body over time, it adds another layer of material to the garment.

3. Leave Your Jacket Unbuttoned

Pedro Mendes in summer blue jacket with pink flowery pocket square, white button down shirt, sky blue chinos and tan oxfords

Pedro Mendes in an open blue jacket with a pink flowery pocket square, a white button-down shirt, sky blue chinos and tan oxfords

The rule of style that you must keep your suit jacket buttoned whenever you are standing doesn’t account for situations when the temperature is scorching. If you’re in an air-conditioned office, you’re fine, but if you’re walking around in the heat, open that button. It’s summer and leaving it open appropriately reflects the casualness of the season while even injecting a bit of sprezzatura into your look.

4. Wear Summerweight Shirts

Open weave shirt fabric

Open weave shirt fabric

Unlike a blazer or suit, the shirt you wear under your jacket doesn’t have as many restrictions, as it is partly hidden. So, the wrinkling of linen is not as apparent, though a cotton-linen blend shirt provides the best balance of coolness and a crisp appearance. Giro inglese, also known as Airtexis the second option. It’s essentially cotton woven with an open weave, which lets air circulate through. These shirts are quite transparent when worn on their own, but you don’t need to worry about exposing your nipples if you have a jacket on.

5. Wear a Polo Shirt

With suits and sport coats, a long-sleeve shirt is usually de rigueur, but the short sleeve polo is a possibility if your jacket is more unstructured. The more informal and shirt-like your jacket is, the less unusual it looks not to have any cuffs peeking out from under your jacket sleeves. If you dislike the idea or have a more structured jacket, there are long-sleeve polos made with cotton jersey, which is very lightweight, or cotton pique, which has a more open weave.

Long sleeve summer polo

A long sleeve polo shirt made of sheer Jersey cotton lisle material.

6. Skip the Undershirt

This seems like a no-brainer, but some men, especially in the US, swear by the undershirt, particularly as a means of protecting dress shirts from perspiration. While you will likely sweat more in hot weather, putting on an additional layer of clothing only exacerbates the problem, and you’ll probably sweat through your undershirt anyway. Just launder your shirts regularly. If you’re dead set on wearing an undershirt, there are ultra-lightweight versions available that will minimize the added weight. These are meant more to be “invisible” though than specifically to beat the heat.

t-shirt as an undershirt

Though you should never show your undershirt under any circumstances, you can skip wearing one altogether in hot weather.

7. Skip the Tie Entirely, or Wear a Bow Tie

A unique navy blazer can work to give you a second jacket without looking similar to your suit jacket

A unique navy blazer can work to give you a second jacket without looking similar to your suit jacket

If a tie is not required, leave it at home during the height of summer and open your collar. I admit that I have a summer tie collection that I love and am loathe to give up the opportunity to make use of them. But over 85 degrees F, the tie will have to wait for another day. This is more of a possibility with a sport coat and pants combination than with a full suit, as some people find the suit with no tie look to be unsightly. However, if your suit is linen or otherwise “casual,” you can certainly pull it off better than with a worsted business suit. When you go tieless, compensate by choosing a shirt that has a pattern, perhaps stripes or a grid. Decorum and good taste demand that you open nothing lower than the second button on your shirt, however, unless you’re at the beach.

Or simply choose a bow tie instead; the lack of fabric laying on your chest will feel much cooler.

8. Unbutton Your Sleeve Cuffs

Leaving your shirt cuffs unbuttoned is a true sprezzatura move, reflecting a personal insouciance or nonchalance. Italians do it with French cuffs, leaving them open, without cufflinks, and even unfolded. But you can do the same with barrel cuffs, as it allows air to circulate better up your arms rather than having a buttoned sleeve fastened tightly around your wrists. Related to this, you can also open the small button on the forearm of your shirt as well.

Lino displaying sprezzatura - sunglasses, open shirt cuffs, wristbands, ring, sunglasses, cigarette, jacket on the shoulders, sleeve cuffs undone

Lino displaying his version of sprezzatura with open shirt cuffs

9. Wear White

Off white 3 piece suit, pastel green winchester shirt, Panama hat and self tie bow tie

Off-white 3 piece suit, pastel green Winchester shirt, Panama hat and self-tie bow tie

Put away your dark clothes, which work to absorb heat, in favor of lighter tones, but especially white. There’s a reason why people who live in equatorial nations wear a lot of white—they recognize its reflective properties.

Pedro breaking the rule here wearing tan oxfords with matching socks and contrasting white pants

Pedro Mendes breaking a rule by wearing tan oxfords with matching socks and contrasting white pants

For the practical purpose of cooling, try white pants or a white sport coat, but not at the same time unless you’re conjuring the ghost of Tom Wolfe. There are circumstances when a white suit looks good, but it can be difficult to achieve successfully. For more on the subject, check out our article on how to wear white.

10. Choose Looser Fits

Slim (and super slim) fits have been popular in recent years, particularly among younger guys (and attendees of Pitti Uomo). In summer, abandon the clinging cloth of slim shirts and trousers and opt for wider legs on pants and looser sleeves on shirts to increase airflow.

Yellow Linen Vest with Sky Blue Linen Suit

This sky blue linen suit has a looser fit that is still crisp and flattering

Linen trousers naturally make use of the same principle as the stiffness of the flax fibers keeps them off your skin. They do tend to bag a bit, so a cotton-linen blend is again the ideal compromise. Of course, you don’t want your legs to be so wide that they look like flags fluttering in the breeze.

11. Wear Loafers with “Invisible Socks”

Warm weather is the time for loafers, but more because they conjure an atmosphere of relaxation than for their heat-dissipating properties. For that, you can abandon longer socks in favor of so-called “no-show” or “invisible” socks (socklets?) and loafers. The ankle-cooling effect, which also transfers up your legs, cannot be underestimated. For those who absolutely refuse to give up wearing visible socks, this may be an occasion for linen socks or ones that only rise to the mid-calf. Some men swear absolutely that they will wear nothing but over-the-calf (OTC) hosiery, and I am one of those people, but only when the weather is cool enough for it. Believe me, when it’s 100 in the shade, you’ll regret having 50% more of your leg wrapped in fabric.

12. Put on a Panama hat

Dr Andre Churchwell with Panama hat, and striped suit with boutonniere and spectators

Dr. Andre Churchwell with Panama hat, and striped suit with boutonniere and spectators

It’s often said that your head is the first thing you need to keep cool in the summer (and warm in the winter) to regulate your body temperature. This makes sense as your head is the highest point on your body and can get baked if the sun is directly above you. The solution is a Panama Hat: stylish, light in color and weight, with a breathable weave and a brim that also protects your eyes from glare. Read our summer hat guide for other possibilities, including the straw boater.

13.  Have an Aperitivo!

Enjoy a classic Pimm's Cup in the heat

Enjoy a classic Pimm’s Cup in the heat

Here’s a bonus tip for a “baker’s dozen.” Take your tailored self to a dimly lit bar, ideally in a Mediterranean destination like Italy or Spain. Barring that, settle for a Pimm’s cup or a G&T in the UK, where the weather (usually) doesn’t get too hot in summer anyway.

Conclusion

In a world where heatwaves and hottest days on record occur even when it isn’t summer, keeping cool is even more important for anyone who wants to be better dressed than wearing a t-shirt and shorts. When it’s 90 degrees, and I am not at the beach, I do sometimes, and with great reluctance, wear just a polo shirt or a long-sleeve jersey shirt with light trousers. However, I also find that covering yourself with cloth can be even better than exposing your skin to the broiling hot sun.

To some extent, there’s always the possibility that we have to compromise on our wardrobe choices, but we also need to be prepared, so we can continue to wear the tailoring we love. Ultimately, the principles behind all the tips for staying cool are 1) reducing the layers and thickness of the clothes you wear and 2) avoiding as much fabric-to-skin contact as possible, which then allows more air to circulate.

Make use of these principles to stay cool in summer to whatever extent you please, depending on your individual style–how casual or formal you are–and how much you can stand the heat.

What do you do when the mercury rises? Share your approach in the comments section below.


Gentleman’s Gazette

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Our Audience Offers 21 Ways the WNBA Could Up Game Attendance

A’ja Wilson, a WNBA player for the Las Vegas Aces, recently took to social media to complain about the pay gap between NBA players and those in the WNBA.

Wilson’s comments stirred a vigorous conversation on social media and the sports world about the wage discrepancy between male and female basketball players. Wilson made the comments after LeBron James signed a four-year, $ 154 million contract with the Lakers.

Even the most skilled WNBA players make just a fraction of what an NBA player who is benched for a majority of the season can earn. Reigning WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles, for instance, earned $ 109,000 last year. In comparison, NBA 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook made a whopping $ 28.5 million. Meanwhile, Leandro Barbosa earned $ 500,000 in the 2017-18 NBA season despite being waived by the Phoenix Suns in July, reports Forbes. As a result, Barbosa will earn nearly five times Fowles’ earnings even though he is no longer playing for the Suns.

Many make the claim that the WNBA players are paid less because they do not draw the same attention and attendance as the NBA. While attendance has been improving over the years since the league’s inception in 1996, getting fans into seats still remains an issue. The Washington Post reported:

WNBA games averaged 7,716 fans per game in 2017, the highest number in six years but far from a significant improvement. WNBA games haven’t averaged 8,000 fans per game since 2009, and the 2017 figure was down 28.9% from the league’s all-time high attendance in 1998, which was the WNBA’s second season.

We solicited our audience to offer ideas to increase attendance at WNBA games. Here are some suggestions (these are posted verbatim from Instagram with some light editing for clarity):

– Team with NBA on promotions, social media, shout-outs, community events, and other involvements.

– Live streaming, community activations, and global initiatives.

– Unique and more involved half-time shows.

– Figure out a way to involve hip hop or the black culture. For example, give Beyonce and Jay-Z side seats.

– Play before the men’s (NBA) games.

– Lower the rims to 8.5 feet, so more players could play above the rim.

– Play satellite games in other cities where multiple games occur, lots of prizes and guest interaction.

– Open to foreign countries.

– Look at smaller venues.

– Sell tickets via Instagram.

– Have partnerships with Girl Scouts or Girls Inc. to spread the word.

– [Have] a fan night for aspiring WNBA players in each city where they play.

– Buil[d] a pipeline of young female athletes and provide free tickets to WNBA games.

– [Develop] integrated summer leagues/all-star games so they can develop a stronger fan base that will support them independently.

– Give the ladies real extra financial incentives to ball.

– They need to be featured on networks other than just ESPN.

– Engage older players who have retire[d] to remain involved outside of coaching.

– Half-time entertainment with local celebrity entertainers.

– Go to markets with no sports teams and let them sell the arenas out.

– [Create a] reality show following five of the most interesting/outrageous/intelligent/socially active, etc., players.

– Every WNBA team should have their own touring bus. During some off days and during the off season, drive this bus into neighborhoods in your respective city, where the players will get out and meet the fans, offer giveaways, and shoot arounds.

 

-Selena Hill contributed to this report. 

 

 

 

 

The post Our Audience Offers 21 Ways the WNBA Could Up Game Attendance appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Four ways to narrow the ‘soft skills’ gap in the US: Opinion

Melissa Kersey is the Chief People Officer for McDonald’s USA. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.

Our nation is facing a seismic shift in its workforce due to an aging population, automation, and a problematic soft skills gap. While the issue of soft skills – customer service, teamwork and responsibility – may not seem like a pressing problem to some, the importance of a skilled workforce cannot be underestimated. Skills have implications far beyond a single person, industry or community – they impact national economic growth and the future of our society.

Did you know the difference between career success and career stagnation can come down to just a few job skills? In fact, research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center have all concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft and people skills and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and…
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5 ways to keep your baby smiling

by

Ashleigh Evans

posted in Parenting

Brand-new smiles are the most delicious baby milestone ever. That first big grin is enough to melt away some of the new-motherhood chaos you might be experiencing, and make you feel like you’re floating on air. It’s love! True love!

My youngest, Liam, has a grin that can light up the room…as well as a scream that can be heard around the block. (I mean, LOOK at that smile!)

5 ways to keep your baby smiling! via @Babycenter

Keeping Liam happy isn’t always easy, but when we have figured out a few tricks that make our lives so much easier.

1. Sound and movement. Music and dancing always makes babies smile. We sing all sort of songs to Liam, from nursery rhymes to invented songs using Liam’s name to ’90s hip hop (gotta love some filtered Biggie!). Musical toys like maracas or drums are always fun, too. I use music time to get in some extra cuddles too, which can be hard now that he’s on the move.

2. A comfy bum. Nothing makes a baby crankier than diaper rash or irritation. We always use Aquaphor Baby 3in1 Diaper Rash Cream during all changes to help keep redness at bay. The gentle formula spreads on quickly and cleans up easily. Aside from the diaper cream, I also love the Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment after bath time to keep his skin soft and smooth, and to keep drool-related redness at bay.

We also really enjoy the Aquaphor Wash & Shampoo for baths–and even my 6 year old’s showers. It’s a great all-in-one choice if your little one has sensitive skin and I love using the same brand across the board for Liam. We start off nice and clean after the bath, then use the ointment and 3in1 Diaper Cream. It’s the perfect combination of products!

3. Sleep. Every baby has their own sleep needs, and when they don’t get enough they always let you know. Liam is 9 months old and he gets two longer naps during the day, plus one cat nap before dinner. When he misses a nap, his smiles turn to frowns quickly. Having a quiet time daily is always helpful — try scheduling story time before naps.

4. A change of scenery. We keep different toys in each room, so when Liam seems bored, we move around. Even if we can’t get out and about during the day, I can keep him occupied with different toys or even the bowls in the kitchen. At school pick-up, Liam loves to sit in his stroller and look at the trees blowing in the wind. Inside, the front window is his favorite place to sit — he can see nature and spy on the cars driving by.

5. Make mealtime fun. Let’s be honest, baby feeding times can be rough, with messes and struggles to get them to eat. Try choosing foods that are fun for your baby to eat. When I put Liam in his highchair, he gets finger snacks before I spoon-feed him, which encourages his growing independence while I ensure he’s eating enough. Textures are always fun for babies too — try different foods and cooking methods to keep it fun. Since raw carrots are too hard to gum, we use boiled baby carrots. We also have a great mesh teether that we  put frozen fruit in, which cools his gums. Hands down, Liam’s favorite food is avocado with cinnamon–be sure to experiment with some spices too. When Liam has a full belly, he’s all smiles!

What tried-and-true ways do you get your baby to smile?

This post is sponsored by Aquaphor.  All opinions are truthful and my own.

Trust us, we’ve been there! Pediatrician recommended Aquaphor Baby helps with everything from diaper rash to baby skin irritations. Our multi-purpose Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment  provides protection from diaper rash, helps heal dry, chafed skin and fingernail scratches; while our 3in1 Diaper Rash Cream  treats & soothes you baby’s bottom from diaper rash. All of our products are hypoallergenic and free of parabens, fragrances, talc and dyes. Try our products now and visit the Aquaphor Baby Website for coupons and more information.

 

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10 Ways to Sneak in Meditation into Your Everyday Life

Life moves pretty fast and, at times, can be totally overwhelming. But meditation is the perfect way to slow down and find balance. Here, experts share some easy tips and tricks on how even beginners can get their meditation on.

The post 10 Ways to Sneak in Meditation into Your Everyday Life appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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22 Effortless Ways to Create Less Trash

There’s something rotten in America—and it’s the trash! The average American creates 4 pounds of trash every day, and while that may not sound like a lot, it adds up to more than 200 million tons of waste every year (enough to fill the entire Busch Stadium two times a day, according to the EPA). All that trash poses an obvious problem: where to put it. And as the United States’ trash is shipped to its southern states, and around the world, it’s clear that the problem has yet to be solved. The best solution in the long term is to make less trash. Not only will making less trash keep our environment cleaner, but it can save the average American household thousands of dollars every year. Read on to learn some of the easiest things you can do to reduce your waste and simplify your life.
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6 Ways to Grow Your Business Through Repeat Customers and Referrals

There’s nothing like a familiar face, especially when it comes to your business. Nothing against new customers, but there are a lot of reasons to appreciate your existing clients. For one thing, they’re a lot cheaper than new ones. In fact, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can boost profits by anywhere between 25 and 95%. And according to at least one marketing expert, a customer who is satisfied with your work is 14 times more likely to buy from you than a brand-new lead.

However, existing customers are also a coveted source of unpaid advertising. Nielsen surveys show that friends, family members, and acquaintances are customers’ most credible source of brand recommendations. Eighty-three percent of survey respondents say they trust in-person reviews more than any other form of recommendation. Industry-specific surveys turn up similar results. When internet marketing agency Contractor Nation asked homeowners where they get recommendations for home contractors, the majority—42%—said they ask friends for a name, while another 28% said they query home contractors they know.

It’s easy to understand how pivotal the customer referral becomes when you view the issue through the context of the home remodeling industry’s reputation. Home contractors shared notoriously low trust among customers, a fact that has been documented both anecdotally and statistically throughout the years. That makes loyal customers all the more valuable—these clients have already established a trusting relationship with you, making them more willing to pull the trigger on various projects. However, bolstering repeat projects and referrals takes some work on your part. Here’s how you can leverage existing clients to boost profit margins.

architect-architecture-body-33343 (1)

Deliver Top Tier Service

Repeat business starts with superior customer service. For contractors, that means setting expectations early, before customer assumptions and misunderstandings can tank your project. Keep the communication coming with regular check-ins—with texting as popular as it is, it’s incredibly easy to catch homeowners up every day. Report issues promptly and keep your work as unobtrusive as possible to customers’ everyday lives. Chat with customers in-person when available because there’s nothing like talking face-to-face.

It may seem basic, but these are the nuts and bolts of customer relationship building. In one comparative analysis, customers rated competence, completeness, and frequent, effective communication as the most important factors in establishing contractor trust. And that trust is integral for capturing repeat business and referrals.

Follow Up After a Project Completes

Most contractors follow up with clients after projects conclude as a matter of course—so if you’re not doing it yet, it’s time to start. A follow-up call is a great chance to settle any issues that might have popped up after the job wrapped, allowing you to solidify your reputation for great service. It’s also an opportunity to discuss future projects that might be on your clients’ horizons and to remind customers about your referral program if you have one.

Create a Referral Program

Everyone loves a discount. Initiating a referral program for customers is a double bonus: a chance to seal the deal with an existing prospect while gaining advertising in return. Some contractors offer free upgrades or maintenance if a referral comes through, and others give discounts on the next project or even gift cards to popular retailers nearby. However you decide to reward customers, make sure to remind them occasionally throughout the project.

Provide Discounts on Additional Projects

This is a technique many contractors employ without really thinking about it. Offering customers a discount if they agree to add on additional work is a sales tactic that’s about as old as it is effective. But you can add velocity to your retention rates if you institute a formal discount program. Many homeowners have more than one project in mind when they contact a contractor, so even shaving a small percentage off additional job may be enough incentive to encourage a second project.

You can even create discount packages for follow-up work. For instance, many HVAC professionals offer discounted maintenance packages for newly installed units. Study your customers and look for trends in the buying process. For instance, a homeowner who installs a new roof may start thinking about re-siding their home to match. A homeowner who’s just built a new deck off their back exit may suddenly get an itch for a new patio. Think about these kinds of common pairings when you create your discount strategy.

adult-architect-blueprint-416405

Stay in Touch

The more you are able to stay in front of your clients, the more likely it is that you’ll land those repeat jobs. A quarterly newsletter with seasonal sales or discounts is a wonderful way to make sure your name sticks in your clients’ minds. Personalized birthday or holiday cards are another strategy and are always welcome—particularly if they come with a coupon included. Ideally, you want to be the one person homeowners call when they need work done, so be sure to keep your presence alive in your customers’ memories.

Build Your Relationships with Other Contractors

Given that other contractors are homeowners’ second pick for contractor recommendations, it makes sense to build your relationships with your peers. No doubt you work with many different tradesmen day-to-day—for instance, a kitchen remodeling business may regularly subcontract out to electricians, plumbers or HVAC technicians and probably also works closely with architects, interior designers and perhaps even realtors. Networking with these agents can reap big profits.

However, if you don’t typically interface with other contractors or professionals, it’s time to develop these kinds of relationships. Consider joining a professional trade organization or attending an event at your local chamber of commerce. Local conferences are another way to make valuable contacts—these connections can lead to informal partnerships and more referrals, if you play your cards right.

Ultimately, tapping past clients is all about engaging soft skills in customer service. Strive to empathize with clients, listening to their concerns and noticing the types of problems they have with their homes. Work towards 100% transparency and polite, friendly, frequent communication. Hone these abilities and you’ll find yourself booked solid for months on end.

The post 6 Ways to Grow Your Business Through Repeat Customers and Referrals appeared first on Modernize.

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Creative ways to spend your time on a layover between flights

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The idea of packing our bags, sweeping through the airport in a pair of oversized sunglasses, and glamorously boarding a plane can be wonderful, but in reality, it usually involves a pair of sweats and lots of fidgeting. Plus, the layover between flights can just prolong the pain. Have no fear; all the time on the ground doesn’t have to be wasted as there are plenty of creative ways to spend your layovers.

Get up and moving

If you have just been sat on a plane for hours, you may not want to spend the next few sat in an airport lounge waiting for your connecting flight. Now, you don’t have to. The time in between flights is a great way to get active before your next stint on the plane. To top it off, many airports now have built-in gyms or yoga studios that offer up the perfect space to exercise. If not, find a quiet area and get stretching. It will feel so good.

Get out and about

If you have a long layover and you’re struggling with things to do, then why waste your time in the airport? This is the perfect time to have a whistle-stop tour of the local area without having to fork out on expensive stays. You could take it all in by booking a tour, heading to the local museums, or taking a walk and seeing where you end up. It’s like you get two vacations in one thanks to your brief visit to a brand new city.

Pack some games

Many airlines let passengers take a backpack or handbag on as a carry-on. Some items are a must, but there is always room for some layover entertainment. Why not fill some of it with a board game or two? After all, Monopoly alone can take hours. Board games won’t take up too much room (especially travel versions of them) and will give you a chance to unwind before cramming yourself back on the next plane.

Make new friends

Chances are you’ll be surrounded by people all going to the same place. If you are looking for a creative way to spend your layover time or you’re traveling on your own, then the airport can be the perfect place to make some new friends. Who knows, you could be sitting next to someone that knows some hidden gems where you’re headed. All it takes is saying “hello” and you could have made yourself a new travel buddy.

Get drawing or writing

Sometimes inspiration for creativity just takes finding a new space to work. If you’re suffering from writer’s block or looking for something new to draw then watching the world pass by at the airport can offer up plenty of new ideas. Maybe it is an overheard conversation? Or perhaps it is the view out of the window? Whatever it is that gets the creative juices flowing – this could be the perfect source of inspiration.

Freebies

Many airports offer up freebies of all kinds that are yours for the taking. It could be using the free wifi to call a loved one, catch up on emails, or watch a movie, or using the complimentary amenities on offer. If you’re lucky, there could be a free spa that will help you relax before the next part of your trip. Or there could be a games area that has foosball, air hockey, or any other arcade games. Before you know it, you’ll hear your flight being called.

Layovers don’t have to be boring. In fact, they can be the perfect opportunity to catch up on the creativity you have been missing in your travels. No longer do you have to find yourself watching the clock. Now, you could be wishing the hours would last even longer.

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The post Creative ways to spend your time on a layover between flights appeared first on Worldation.

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5 tasty ways to celebrate Pride month in New York City

Taste the rainbow. That’s the name of the game for Pride month in New York City — whether you’re craving sweet or savory. At a time when a same-sex wedding cake can create a firestorm, these companies proudly prove they’re gay-friendly with these colorful desserts and dishes.

Rainbow black and…

Life Style – New York Daily News

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FDA chief outlines new ways to speed up cancer drug approvals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to streamline the approval process for cancer drugs.
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7 ways to cool your home without an air conditioner

No AC? No problem.
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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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5 ways to stay fit while on vacation

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Ok, so we know that a big part of going on a vacation or traveling is to really disconnect from your everyday life and routine, which also includes your working out routine, after all your main goal in the next few days or weeks in to relax and explore new places. It’s very much understandable that trying to stay in shape while on vacation may seem like an oxymoron and like an impossible thing to do. However, people underestimate the importance of maintaining your fitness even when traveling, especially of you work out on a daily basis. The good news is that you’ll be surprised how easy staying in shape can be when you’re away. It’s all about commitment, and we mean committing to yourself. Plan a reasonable working out schedule even if it’s that last thing you had in mind and try to work (out) with what you have in your area. Here are five ways and tips that will help you stay in shape while on vacation.

Running

Now we know it sounds almost too obvious, but think of running as a way to explore new places. There’s nothing better and more liberating than running and no better way to start off your day fresh, than what’s better than running in new places where you have an entire new scenery in front of your eyes? Running will not only help your mental health, it will also help you from prevent high blood pressure and most importantly help you clear your mind. The beautiful thing is that you can literally run everywhere, so just grab a pair of sneakers and start running.

Don’t forget to eat breakfast

There’s a reason why people say that breakfast is the most important and crucial meal of the day. It’s not just to get you energized toward your upcoming day, it’s also to make sure your metabolism gets a good jump start. It’s easy to skip breakfast especially when traveling. You may either want to start your day as soon as possible because you know your time is limited or you can also just say that you’ll gran something as you go. Don’t make these mistakes and simply grab a granola bar or an apple before you go.

Planning

Planning things ahead, in general, keeps people more calm as they know what to expect for, even when things don’t always go according to plan. It’s no different when traveling. Plan your workouts ahead of time and plan your meals in advance so that way you won’t have excuses such as being too full or not having enough time to work out. You’ll have a schedule to stick to and that’s great even on vacation.

Just dance

It’s simpler than you think. Did you know that a person who weighs around 125 pounds can burn almost 200 calories in just half an hour of dancing? It doesn’t even have to be at a club, you can dance anywhere just like running. You can dance at your hotel room or by the lake. You will not only have fun doing so, it will also reduce your stress level.

Don’t eat our every night

One of the best parts about traveling is trying new foods and tasting the local cuisine. Some people might even plan  their entire trip around food. However, eating out every night can be not only expensive but also really bad for your health and your fitness goals. Perhaps, if you have the option, try to stay in and cook some homemade meals or if you do decide to go out every night, try to go to a relatively healthy place which used fresh products.

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The post 5 ways to stay fit while on vacation appeared first on Worldation.

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Five Ways to Improve Your Mornings at Home

improve your mornings

improve your mornings

Mornings can be rough, no matter who you are, and a rough morning can easily throw off your entire day. Mitigate those tiresome mornings and improve your mornings with any one of these five products and initiatives. 

Use A Light Therapy Alarm Clock

improve your mornings
Photo Source: Amazon

Even though we’ve managed for decades with obnoxious, blaring alarm clocks, they’re not exactly conducive with starting your mornings out right. Improve your mornings with light therapy alarm clocks. Also known as sunrise clocks, these innovative alarm clocks utilize light to gradually wake you up, ensuring you have a less stressful morning right from the get-go.

Take A Genius Shower

There’s no doubt that consumers today are partial to high-tech innovation, and the products that are marketed to them tend to reflect that. In that spirit, Riobel – a company renowned for its wide selection of bathroom and kitchen faucets, shower systems, and accessories – has brought high-tech innovation to the shower, via the Genius™ Shower System. The Genius™ Shower System is simple, user-friendly, and includes a highly sophisticated temperature sensor. This product embodies what we all need from our morning shower: ease of use and perfect water temperature every time.

Invest In A Modern Water Cooler or Pitcher

Improve Your Mornings
Photo Source: Pur

The benefits of drinking lots of water are manifold, and the best time to get started on those ever-important eight cups is first thing in the morning. Drinking water first thing in the morning will curb your appetite, fire up your metabolism, flush out toxins, and fuel your brain.

Download A Meditation App

Improve Your Mornings
Photo Source: Headspace

Some of the most successful people in the world swear by ritualistic morning meditation. Not only has meditation been known to ground and center, but it can combat anxiety and promote better sleep. Downloading a meditation app is a resourceful way to get the ball rolling on your morning meditation goals.

Utilize A Daily Journal

If you can swing it, journaling each and every morning is a great way to stay goal oriented. This could include anything from jotting down your goals, reflecting on accomplishments, taking note of what you’re grateful for, and monitoring your routines. Doing this first thing in the morning, before your mind becomes cluttered with work- and life-related stress, is a fantastic way to tweak your routine in your favor, and subsequently upgrade your life.

The post Five Ways to Improve Your Mornings at Home appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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26 ways ‘Sex and the City’ left its mark

It was June 6, 1998, when “Sex and the City” premiered on HBO — introducing the world to only-in-New-York dramas, trends and heartbreaks that women in Seattle and Omaha nonetheless recognized (or at least wanted to emulate). Here are 26 ways the show made its mark. A: Amy Sacco In the early aughts, the nightlife…
Entertainment | New York Post

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4 Ways to Ask for a Job Reference

Asking someone to vouch for you through an employment reference isn’t always easy. Sometimes, you don’t know who to ask, and other times, you know the people you want to ask but are unsure of how to do so.

In this post, we offer four tips to help you ask someone for a job reference while hunting for a new employment opportunity.

1. Ask After Having a Positive Work Experience

You may have luck asking someone for a reference after you’ve had a good experience learning from or working with them. Making this request after a positive encounter can help you snag a reference from someone who can offer credible and high-quality comments about your skills and behavior.

For instance, if you’re taking a program to get you into a specific career, such as accounting, and you did exceptionally well on a test or an assignment, consider asking the instructor to provide a reference since they can elaborate on specific instances where you exceeded expectations.

2. Ask for a LinkedIn Endorsement First

Asking for a reference from someone, especially when you’re unsure what they think about you, can be nerve-racking.

However, a great way to gauge a person’s response to a reference request is to ask for something similar, but less important, like a LinkedIn endorsement.

To get an endorsement, you add skills to your LinkedIn profile, and, with a simple click, your connections can begin to authenticate your abilities. These endorsements are useful in showing employers that the skills on your resume, like communication or event planning, are indeed legitimate.

Asking for an endorsement can be a good warm-up for a reference request because endorsing a skill is a much easier (and less time-consuming) action than writing a reference letter or providing one over the phone to an interviewer.

This means if, after asking for an endorsement, you notice the person you asked is dodging your emails or calls, you know you probably shouldn’t follow up by asking them to be a job reference.

3. Ask for a Reference by Email Instead of In Person

Though some of us may not like how disingenuous a conversation over email can seem, using email may still be better when asking for a reference. This is because, for some people, saying “no” to such a request in person—even if they want to—can be very awkward.

And, if this is the case for the person you ask to provide a reference, it could mean they’ll agree to provide a reference to your face but then won’t answer their phone when the hiring manager calls. Even worse, they might end up providing a mediocre (possibly even poor) reference that could cost you a job opportunity.

Your references can really influence an employer’s decision. So, by using email, you can hopefully avoid supplying someone who feels obligated to give a reference but doesn’t actually want to and instead give the name and number of someone who will help you stand out among the other candidates.

4. Ask for a Reference Letter

Asking for a reference letter (sometimes called a recommendation letter) is especially helpful for times when you want a reference from someone who is typically busy or hard to reach.

Though an employer will likely still want to speak to this person to confirm the information they’ve included in the letter, a letter can save time by reducing the number of questions your potential employer may need to ask during the phone call. It can also help remind the referrer of all your remarkable skills and qualities so they are able to provide a thoughtful and accurate recommendation.

Preparing to Ask for References

Finding the best references can be difficult and time-consuming, but by using these tips to ask for references, you can hopefully track down people who will provide a terrific testimonial of your character and help you to snag your dream career.

The post 4 Ways to Ask for a Job Reference appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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4 Ways to Add Character to a Monochromatic Kitchen

Kitchen by Tapestry Decor

Creating a monochromatic kitchen with a focus on white cabinetry requires careful planning to ensure the end result has plenty of character!

DRAMATIC CONTRASTS We chose to complement white cabinetry with dark gray and black accents. We selected dark gray stools, a black countertop and a backsplash with black and gray detailing to bring depth and contrast into this kitchen.

USE TEXTURE AND PATTERN From a patterned backsplash to a variety of textures throughout the kitchen and adjoining rooms, we were able to add visual interest and a luxurious feel as well.

DECORATE DISPLAY SPACES To create spaces where decorative touches can be added, we chose to offer glass front cabinets and open shelf space below each window. This space can be used to add pops of color in the future if you wish as well.

PLENTY OF BLING Metallic finishes like chrome and stainless steel, mixed with crystal pendants, add glamour and drama to this kitchen without introducing additional color. – Tapesty Decor

The post 4 Ways to Add Character to a Monochromatic Kitchen appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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7 ways to make a grand entrance at your wedding

7 ways to make a grand entrance at your wedding


7 ways to make a grand entrance at your wedding

After marrying the love of your life, simply walking into your wedding reception seems a bit anticlimactic. Celebrate your nuptials—and wow your family and friends—with an unforgettable reception entrance. Any one of these seven ideas are sure to surprise and delight your attendees.

1. Play Meaningful Music

If you don’t like anything too flashy, or if you have an extremely limited budget, you can create an impactful entrance with music. Have your band or DJ play a song that’s meaningful to your relationship, and walk into your reception hand-in-hand with your new spouse. Guests will swoon over the romantic moment, and they’ll whip out their cameras faster than you can say “I do.”

2. Throw a Dance Party

For a more energetic entrance, dance to your chosen song as you make your way into the party. The dance can be choreographed beforehand or completely impromptu, which will probably spur some lighthearted laughs from impressed guests. Choose a tune with an upbeat melody and don’t be afraid to show off your skills.

3. Involve the Bridal Party

Want a dramatic entrance without all the attention focused on you? Then recruit your bridal party to participate in the dance routine! Plan out the details with bridesmaids and groomsmen before the big day, so they know to bust a move as soon as you enter the reception. Other guests will be undoubtedly surprised by the flash mob, but they’ll likely be inspired to join the fun.

Hans Neleman/Getty Images

Related article: What no one tells you about your wedding reception

4. Arrive in a Unique Vehicle

If your ceremony is outdoors, don’t be afraid to experiment with unique transportation options. Choose something that feels natural for your wedding theme and personality. If your ceremony is on a farm, for example, consider arriving by horseback or tractor. Other transportation options include a luxury or vintage car, a boat, a motorcycle, horse and carriage, or a sleigh.

5. Plan a Light Display

If you’ve hired a lighting company for your big day, plan a show-stopping light display for your grand entrance. Consider casting the entry point in a color wash, flashing dozens of strobe lights, or broadcast your wedding monogram with gobo lighting.

6. Use Extras to Your Advantage

Those with larger budgets can incorporate extra elements into their entrance plan. Secure festive items like as flower petals, confetti, or balloons on the ceiling of the venue, and have them fall as you cross the threshold into the reception.

7. Have a Reverse Send-Off

When the bride and groom leave the reception at the end of a night, guests often create a tunnel of sparklers to send them off. Draw inspiration from this idea and have a “reverse send-off,” where the bride and groom walk through a sparkler tunnel into the reception. If the celebration is indoors, the guests can create a walkway of bubbles or glow sticks instead.

This article originally appeared in Martha Stewart Weddings.

The post 7 ways to make a grand entrance at your wedding appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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6 ways to save money on your Memorial Day roadtrip

As millions of Americans prepare to hit the road for Memorial Day weekend, some extra savings could make the trip even sweeter. As you fill up your tank with fuel and grab your map (yes, you should still have a map), you’re going to want to make your trip as cost-effective as possible.

AAA says more than 42 million Americans will kick off the summer travel season by getting away for Memorial Day. The projection constitutes a 5% increase over last year and the most in a dozen years.

Before you go to the ATM and drain your bank account for travel expenses, there are several ways to trim your budget.

Here are 6 ways to save money while road-tripping

If you plan on hitting the road for the holiday, here are some tips on saving money along the way:

  • Rent a vehicle: You may be tempted to drive your vehicle on the long journey, but money expert Clark Howard says you’ll end up saving more money in the long haul if you rent a car.  “If you shop and find a good deal on a rental car, you put those trip miles and the depreciation that goes with it on that rental car instead of your own,” he says.
  • Pack a lunch: If you’re going for the long haul on a one-day trip (no more than 10 hours on the road, OK?) it’s a good idea to pack a few snacks. Nothing too complicated and messy (no barbecue ribs and no ginormous tacos that spill into your lap), so as not to distract your driving. This will not only save you and your family some pretty nice cash, it will also save you time.
  • Download some restaurant apps: If you choose not to pack your own food, you likely will opt to pull over and grab a burger or something similar from a fast-food chain. There’s nothing wrong with that – but why not save money doing it? The BK mobile app has several coupons, including a buy-one-Whopper-get-one-free deal. The McDonald’s app has weekly deals, including a free McCafe with purchase.
  • Bring a cooler: Nothing wastes time more than having to pull off the interstate and venture into some strange little town for a $ 2.99 Dasani. Bringing chilled water is a great idea, especially if there happens to be a traffic jam and you find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere for an hour.
  • Skip lodging: If your trip is not too long, generally about 500 miles or eight hours, you can save a bunch of money by not having to secure lodging. No way do we recommend driving more than eight hours safely. Better yet, got family along the way? Pay an overnight visit and catch up.
  • Don’t speed: The #1 way to save money on a road trip is to obey the traffic laws. Nothing stinks more than being pulled over and hearing those eight frightening words: “Do you know how fast you were going?” Trust us: The money you save on that ticket could be the difference between the cost of driving vs. flying.

AAA Senior Vice President Bill Sutherland says although gasoline prices are rising, it will do little to sway driver behavior this holiday.

“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” Sutherland was quoted as saying. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”

RELATED5 ways to save money on gas

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Bereaved moms on Mother’s Day: 5 ways to tend a broken heart

by

Tara Shafer

posted in Parenting

As a bereaved mother who has, as well, three healthy children, I am here to issue forth a dispatch from the department of brutal truth: Many bereaved moms (with or without living children) have decidedly mixed feelings about Mother’s Day.

I was going to say we “hate” the day but that’s not true. It’s more nuanced than that. Mother’s Day breaks us because it celebrates (in overly simple terms) the joy of motherhood. There is no wiggle room. It can feel oppressive.

If you know a woman who has lost a child it can be difficult to know how to acknowledge a day that celebrates motherhood in such amplified ways. Flowers and chocolate and indulgent massages – these are all part of the festive nature of the day.

But how to mark and celebrate the beauty of what was, along with the devastation of what was lost? This is hard. For women coping with loss, the contrast is both stark and crazy-making.

My mother has a friend whose daughter was killed in an accident when she was eighteen and on her way to study abroad. Once, while speaking on Mother’s Day, this woman wished my mother a happy Mother’s Day. My mother wished her the same. There was a pause.

My mother’s friend said, “But I’m not a mother anymore.”

This was, of course, not true. This woman ached (and aches still) for her daughter. She was not disavowing her daughter – she was punishing herself.

On Mother’s day, friends don’t let bereaved mother friends punish themselves.

Here are five ways to comfort a broken heart on Mother’s Day.

  1. Send them flowers. Flowers are appropriate for any occasion. If you feel that an overt wish for a Happy Mother’s Day makes no sense, you are probably right. (This may be less true if she has living children too, but still). Your card can be more nuanced than is generally permitted on Mother’s Day – a day traditionally and frustratingly celebrated without any nuance.Try something like: “I am thinking of you today and of your entire family. You know so well the joys and the heartbreak of motherhood. You are an inspiration and I just wanted to celebrate you. I’m here if you want to talk.”
  2. Send them a gift certificate that allows them to hide. Spa gift certificates can backfire on Mother’s Day because you don’t want your recipient to be surrounded by moms grousing about how much they have to do. You don’t want her in with the ladies wearing spa robes and sipping bubbly from a champagne flute. Instead, send a subscription to Amazon Prime and tell her that The Americans rock. Then, go and watch with her.
  3. Call/Facetime. It is often appreciated when people overcome the awkwardness of the day to just ask how someone is doing. So overcome the shy – and just open the conversation.
  4. Send them something decadent. Send them chocolate truffles. Write a note about giving permission to oneself to just go ahead and indulge.
  5. Let them know you understand their mixed feelings about Mother’s Day. As a bereaved mother with living children I can’t say that I hate Mother’s day. I don’t. But I can say that I like to treat it more as a reciprocal holiday wherein the kids honor me and I honor them. (It’s not my favorite day, though). And I usually think mostly of the moms I know who don’t have living children. It is they who I honor on this day. They are the women I remember.

A little validation goes a long way.

How do you support a bereaved mom on Mother’s Day? If you are a bereaved mom, what helps you?

Photographs courtesy of I-Stock. Used with Permission. 

This post was originally published in May, 2017.

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Five ways for 50-somethings to get serious about planning for retirement

Your 50s are a great time to evaluate what you need to prepare for the next phase of your life.
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5 Ways High Blood Pressure is Particularly Dangerous in Women

It’s called the “silent killer.” You could have it right now, and not even know it. According to the American Heart Association: 7 percent of non-Hispanic white women have it 47 percent of non-Hispanic black women have it 8 percent of Mexican American women have it In 2009, it killed …

The post 5 Ways High Blood Pressure is Particularly Dangerous in Women appeared first on Women's Health.

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The Summer Accessory That Can Be Worn a Dozen-Plus Ways

During the winter, scarves serve an undeniable purpose: They protect your neck from the cold and give you something cozy to burrow your face in while you fight through frosty winds.

In the summer? Well, not so much. But don’t let that deter you from making the accessory a staple part of your summer styling routine—and most of all, don’t take the term “neck scarf” too literally. Along with the ever-versatile bandana, lightweight scarves in silk or cotton invite you to get a little bit creative with how you wear them: Wrap them around a bag or a ponytail, jazz up a pair of simple sandals, or thread them through your belt loops for a less expected look.

For inspo, we’re partial to trawling the Instagram feed of L.A.-based scarf brand Donni Charm (gingham! stripes! chambray!) along with posts from some of our favorite European bloggers, whose ability to tie a scarf just so seems to be practically a birthright. And we’re not the only ones looking for fresh ideas. According to recent data from Pinterest, searches for “ankle bandana” are up 225% from this time last year while searches for “wrist bandana” are up 275%.

Conclusion? There are (literally!) dozens of ways to wear a summer scarf or bandana and even more very, very cute styles to shop right now. Below, we’ve rounded up 13 ideas to get you started.

Next, check out the affordable trend no one can seem to keep in stock

Classic, preppy red-and-white stripes go with just about everything.
Zara knows that two scarves are better than one.
The chevron print is super subtle, and the length makes this one a good choice if you want to try styling it as a belt.
Scandinavian girls are all about this brand, founded by blogger-turned-designer Elin Kling.
Fans collect Madewell’s bandanas season after season, and it’s not hard to see why.
We’d say to wear this to a garden party, but it’s already right there in the name.
This brand has mastered the rock-star skinny scarf. Scoop one up while it’s on sale.
This one has a vintage vibe you can dress up or down.
Naturally, Marimekko’s florals are in a league of their own.
Style with your biggest pair of tinted sunglasses for peak ’70s appeal.
Perfect with an white button-down and high-waisted jeans.
It has the Kate Moss stamp of approval—what more could you want?
Summer essentials: Lemonade (the album), lemonade (the drink), and this lemon scarf.
Make like a Gucci girl and pile on the accessories.
A simple solid for easing your way into the trend.
Pretty in pink (plus a paper airplane print).

Celebrity Style and Fashion Trend Coverage | http://www.whowhatwear.com

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Work-Life Boundaries: Rituals and Other Ways to Separate Your Work and Personal Life

work-life boundariesI just heard a speaker talking about the importance of boundary rituals for doctors — little habits and rituals that set work-life boundaries to keep your work and personal life separated. I knew exactly what she was talking about, and thought it was such an interesting way of phrasing it — and I thought it might make a nice discussion here. So, ladies, what are your boundary rituals? Have you always done them or did you adopt them over time? What are your biggest challenges with work bleeding into your personal life?

Psst: we’ve talked in the past about answering work emails at home, homing from work, and after-work routines.

Work-life boundary rituals and habits to try after work:

  • walking or driving home through a picturesque route (or one that goes through a picturesque spot)
  • listening to music or a non-work related podcast (psst: Slow Burn is excellent if you’re curious about what it was like to live through Watergate!)
  • changing into workout clothes or jeans when you get home from the office
  • cooking dinner (or having a glass of wine while cooking dinner)
  • “docking” your iPhone at a specific spot in your kitchen or living room so you can check it occasionally (or even [gasp!] changing your settings so it only checks for new mail every 15-30 minutes)
  • going through a ritual with family or your roommates where you share a rose and a thorn from your day with each other — something that was a win for the day as well as something that was hard.
  • going through some quick breathing exercises or a meditation app like Headspace (we’ve talked before about the benefits of meditation for business women)

Boundary Rituals for the Office

Sometimes you need the separation more the other way — so here are some possible boundary rituals to practice at the office to keep your personal life at home…

  • turning your personal phone to silent/mute (if not turning it off entirely)
  • slipping on your heels or other “shoe that lives at the office”
  • discouraging friends and family from calling you or texting you at work unless it’s really an emergency
  • engaging in a specific productivity practice like having set times to answer most of your work emails, writing down three tasks to accomplish that day, or even finalizing your billable hours from yesterday and/or planning your time today

How about you, readers — do you find that you need work-life boundaries to keep your personal life separate from your work life?work-life boundaries - how to set boundaries between your work and personal life What do you do, both at home as well as at the office?

The post Work-Life Boundaries: Rituals and Other Ways to Separate Your Work and Personal Life appeared first on Corporette.com.

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8 ways to save money at andThat! stores

You’re probably familiar with all the usual chain dollar store suspects — Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, 99-Cents Only.

But did you know there’s a new retailer that can qualify as a secret fifth dollar store chain — and that it masquerades as a home decor emporium?!

That’s the big secret about andThat! stores, a corporate cousin to the better-know likes of Bed, Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus World Market, buybuy BABY and others.

Here’s what Clark.com found when we visited one andThat! location…

RELATED: Cost Plus World Market: 8 ways to save money

How to save money at andThat! stores

With only a handful of locations in five states, andThat! isn’t a well-known name. But it is worth a look if you have one near you  and you like home decor stores that offer more than just the standard home decor — like alcohol, dry food and even pet food.

1. Know how to shop andThat! as a dollar store alternative

Dollar stores have way more inventory priced at a buck than andThat! stores do. But there were some major finds with the $ 1 price point jumping out at us when we walked the aisles.

$  1 aluminum bakeware

Among the more unique items we saw were packs of monogrammed facial tissue and vintage sodas for just $ 1.

$  1 vintage sodas

monogrammed facial tissue

And if the inner rebel in you doesn’t want to pay outrageous prices for candy at the movie theater, andThat! has a big selection of those giant boxes priced just right!

$  1 theater candy

2. Look for the 90% off rack

Rather than centralizing its clearance stuff, andThat! has it located at several different points throughout the store.

Right when we entered, we saw an area with a variety of items priced at 90% off the original price.

90% off clearance

That steep clearance price meant some items like this book we priced as low as 48 cents. That beats the pants off Dollar Tree’s $ 1 books!

cheap book

3. Shop the seasonal clearance section

andThat! was unloading its Easter gear for 75% off the original price at the location we visited.

Monogrammed Easter egg dying kits, anyone?

75% off seasonal clearance

4. Stop and shop the foyer

When you’re coming in from the parking lot, you go through the first set of automatic doors. But before you even cross the threshold of the store proper, there’s a foyer with a ton of promotionally priced merchandise.

This area is so thick with deals, you could practically trip over them!

And there’s that $ 1 price point again, this time on 14-ounce bottles of fancy boutique-style hand soap in the photo below.

$  1 soap at kennesaw andthat store

5. Don’t forget to check outside for bargains, too

andThat! lines up a lot of furniture and other deals along the store’s exterior. We found 98-cent windshield washer fluid and plant stands on sale, among other things.

That stands were marked down from $ 5.49 to prices starting at just $ 2.28.

windshield washer fluid plant stands

6. Some people come just for the coffee

andthat coffee

The coffee sales, that is.

One associate told Clark.com that some shoppers come just to load up on coffee like the Victor Allen’s 42-count single serve brew cups when they’re on sale for $ 9.99 each.

In fact, we saw one woman pile five boxes in her hands, all the way up to her chin, as she walked to checkout. The woman told us by pairing the sale price with a $ 10 coupon, she’s able to pay only $ 40 for all five boxes.

You can get the same coupon, too. Just text DEALS to 47283 for your $ 10 off a purchase of $ 50 coupon.

So how good of a deal is that price on coffee? Well, Amazon offers the same product in the same size at a much-higher price of $ 21 per box.

That’s a big savings!

7. Look for handwritten furniture markdowns

Some sets are marked down in red and they’re priced to move. This four-piece set was discounted by 20% off the original sale price.

furniture markdown 2

Meanwhile, if you like scratch-and-dent furniture, there’s no official ‘sold as is’ furniture section like there is at the store’s corporate cousin, World Market.

But after speaking with the andThat! manager, we learned that any scuffs or marks on the furniture could get you an additional discount at management’s discretion.

Hey, it never hurts to ask.

8. Check out the free phone charging

So this one’s not necessarily a way to save money, but it is a nicety for shoppers.

andThat! makes a free phone charging kiosk available for customers near the front of the store.

free phone charger

There are eight slots for phone charging. Your mobile phone number becomes your secure code to lock yours up and let it get some juice while you’re shopping.

free phone charger2

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7 Easy Ways to Make Your Next DIY Project Less Messy

Let’s face it: Some projects can be downright messy. In fact, you’ve probably scrubbed up after a few particularly dirty ones yourself! But if you’re spending as much time cleaning up—or even just covering up sloppy mistakes—as you are actually working on a project, why not try something new? You may not realize it, but all this mess can often be minimized—or eliminated—just by starting with the right tools and techniques. Read on for several innovative tips and tools that will help you achieve professional results while keeping you and your surroundings clean.

This content has been brought to you by Hyde Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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5 Ways Strength Training Is Important For Women

5 Ways Strength Training Is Important For Women

Discover these 5 ways that strength training boosts female power and confidence. About a year ago, I made a change in my regular exercise routine. I’m now convinced it was the best change I’ve made since I started yoga in my later twenties. It started when I was visiting my younger brother at my parents’ house last summer. He’s in the Air Force and had just returned from a six-month deployment in…

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10 Ways You’re Killing Your Curb Appeal

Never underestimate the importance of curb appeal. Not only does your home exterior give a first impression to guests, it can also influence real estate transactions by attracting potential buyers. Unfortunately, though, some common eyesores can leave your facade looking worn for wear. Check out these 10 mistakes that are killing your home’s curb appeal, and learn how to banish the blemishes for a picture-perfect landscape.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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Ways to survive 14 hours in coach

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Flying can be heaps of fun, especially if you’re traveling to some exotic location you’ve never visited before. However, it can also be a bit of a nightmare having to negotiate a long haul flight, especially when you’re stuck in coach. Even frequent fliers can find long-haul flights a struggle, so what hope do the rest of us have? And, some flights can be a lot more grueling than others – that’s just a fact.

Sure, it’s okay if you’re traveling business or first class, because you have all the comforts – and space – you need to get you through the flight. You can get some sleep in nice, comfy surroundings, and keep yourself entertained whenever you need to. So, if you could do with some tips to help you survive 14 hours in coach, read on!

Pick the right seat

You’ll be surprised by just how much of a difference this can make, and, if you get the opportunity to choose your seats, make sure you pick wisely. In order to maximize the amount of space you have, we would suggest trying to go for an aisle seat. This allows you to stretch your legs better, and you won’t feel boxed in by other passengers. It also means you can get up and stretch your legs while moving around for a while.

Eat something

Sure, plane food might be up there with hospital food in terms of being mostly terrible, but this doesn’t mean you should skip eating. In fact, you’ll need to do as much as you can to keep energy levels up, and eating is a great way of achieving that. That’s why we would recommend accepting the in-flight meal, even if you only eat a few mouthfuls. Alternatively, a snack which is high in protein is a great substitute – but make sure you do eat on the flight!

Remember the accessories

All long-haul flights will come with an array of accessories designed to make the flight more comfortable and enjoyable. Things like a blanket, eye mask, earplugs, etc., are essential for helping you be as comfortable as possible. By making use of these as often as you can, you can make yourself more comfortable and peaceful. Sometimes these flights can get rather chilly so you will find that blanket a godsend.

Choose your entertainment wisely

This means reading at the start of the flight when your brain is still awake, and your eyes haven’t been dried out by the air conditioning. When you no longer feel able to read, it’s time to whack on a movie. Again, choose wisely here – if there’s an epic you’ve been wanting to see for a while, get that bad boy on, as it will eat up much of the flight! Maybe follow it with something much more light-hearted afterward.

Use these tips as well as you possibly can in order to make sure you get through your 14-hour flight unscathed. You will find things much less difficult, and significantly more comfortable, by using some of the tips we’ve given. You will most likely have your own flight rituals to follow as well, and we hope you have enough in terms of tips and information to help you enjoy the flight as much as possible.

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The post Ways to survive 14 hours in coach appeared first on Worldation.

Worldation

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Five Ways to Make The Most Out of Your 2018 Tax Refund

With more than 70% of U.S. taxpayers expected to get a tax refund this year, that gives you some wiggle room on how to spend the money. Of course, many folks and entrepreneurs may already know what they plan to do with the cash. Perhaps it’s pay bills, launch a business, or take a trip. The list could go on and on.

But one good option, no what time of the year, is considering ways to save, invest, or use the money to reduce debt to enhance your financial position. The IRS has not determined what the average individual 2018 tax refund will be, but it says that amount has been around $ 2,800 to $ 3,000 in recent years.

Last year, about 112 million refunds were issued, ringing up an average refund of $ 2,895. This year, over 155 million tax returns are expected to be filed.

Even if you’re not sure what do with your refund, consider using a portion of it in a productive way.

“Most people think that a tax refund is free money, but there is no reason to go on vacations and come back home to debt,” says Jennifer Streaks, financial journalist, author, and lifestyle expert.

She offered some ideas and tips on what to do with $ 500:

Get caught up on utility bills

This year, we had a long, cold winter. If you still have a lingering heating, electric, or other utility bill or feel like you are playing catch-up in this area, pay off this bill now and start fresh.

Look into car maintenance/repair

Take your car in and have everything checked out (especially the tires). If there is anything that may cause problems down the road, have it fixed now. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to keeping your car on the road and safe.

Take care of any physical maintenance 

Is it almost time for new glasses, contacts, or dental work? Go ahead and take care of it. Even if you have insurance, you may need a procedure (especially in the dental area) that is not covered by insurance.

Get professional financial advice

The services of a financial adviser used to be only for the wealthy set. But now you can make an appointment with an adviser to set up a plan for the future and get your current financial situation accessed, even if you aren’t ready or can’t afford to become a regular client. For leads, check out the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) at napfa.org.

Streaks says these planners are fee-only, meaning they don’t accept commissions and promise to act in their clients’ best interests at all times.

Set up travel plans

Waiting to the last minute to book a vacation could be very costly. But done right, you could make a great getaway for $ 500 or less. Start by visiting websites like hotwire.com, booking.com, and priceline.com that offer airfare and hotel packages. Those websites also offer discounts at inclusive resorts with weekend specials.

You can also consider the old tried and true option: Sock away the extra $ 500 in your emergency fund and be better prepared for a rainy day.

 

The post Five Ways to Make The Most Out of Your 2018 Tax Refund appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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Creative ways to document your travels

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The great thing about traveling, besides the obvious of experiencing new cultures, new tastes and smells and just taking some time off, is mostly, the idea that you accumulate memories that will stay for a lifetime. You may not realize it at first, because we are so busy, whether we like it or not, to deal with going back to our mundane routine, but the hype and adrenaline you experienced while traveling, doesn’t necessarily have to end once you go back home. The ‘post travel blues’ that many people may feel can easily be cured by just a few simple things. One of them is to find a way to document your experiences and memories in a creative way.

Each and every person absorbs their journey differently, and the things they see in the outside world are taken in in endless ways, therefore it only makes sense that there will be countless ways in which their journey could be documented. The only ‘problem’ is that not everyone knows what to do with all of these memories, and that’s where we step in.

These days, we are used to constantly snapping pictures at every given chance with our phones, so you can only imagine how hectic it can get when traveling. The thing with capturing the moment with our phone, is that it’s just for that given moment, and if we don’t instantly share it on social media, filter it with our Insta account or send it to someone close, it can get lost, not literally, but lost down your phone memory lane. It’s time to go a little DIY and upgrade your personal space and let your inner wanderlust shine through your home’s walls.

Framed Memories

We realize that the idea of actually framing your pictures sounds far fetched, because it involved actually going out to the the store and printing your photos, but if you pass that hurdle, you will come to realize that only good and pretty things can come out of it. However, if you really want yo get creative, you can frame all kind of different souvenirs like the local currency, the tickets you bought along your trip or just postcards you collected from different places.


A Recipe for a good trip:

These are some good news for all you foodies out there. Whether you want to admit it or not, you know that 99% of your travel goals have to do with food and trying out the local cuisine. At the end of the day, it’s really all about the food, the restaurants, the tastes and the smells, so what better way to keep track of your culinary experiences than keeping a recipe journal with all of your favorite dishes from your favorite.

Scratch it off:

If you don’t have that inner DIY bug, you can also just purchase this World Scratch Map from the Urban Outfitters online store. The basic idea is that you get a classic world map that is topped with foil that can be scratched off and that way all the places you’ve been to stand out, so you will always have a memory of where you’ve been to. It’s just a very authentic and raspy way to keep track of your travels and adventures.

Let’s get digital:

Now, we know it’s a little bit of going back to the whole digital sphere and less about ‘home made’ idea, but keeping a travel blog will not only help you keep track of your different experiences you accumulate along the way and document them in the easiest possible way, it will allow you to talk about your journey many more days and months after you return home.

If these walls could travel:

If you really want to make a creative statement at your own personal space, you can always choose one wall or one corner that will be dedicated entirely to your memories. That way, whenever you will pass it by, you’ll have a very sweet memory. Oh, and it’s also a very great way to make a creative statement.

Store it pretty:

This creative bookshelf keepsafe kit is actually one of the brightest and most gorgeous things we’ve seen so far. It’s so simple, yet stylish and useful that we wonder how we haven’t thought about it before. Just take a wooden store box, paint it with whatever color you feel and place on your bookshelf. The secret is to have a box that can open up and can store up things inside, for example all of your tickets, maps, postcards and more.

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The post Creative ways to document your travels appeared first on Worldation.

Worldation

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4 ways Pervnado has changed Hollywood for the better

In the wake of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, Hollywood is changing beyond simply wearing black gowns and logo pins to awards shows. After movie executive Harvey Weinstein, director Brett Ratner and actors from Kevin Spacey to Jeffrey Tambor have been accused of harassment, a wave of institutional change is flooding the industry. Here…
Entertainment | New York Post

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4 Ways to File Your Taxes

US-federal-tax-return-paperworkTax Day is on its way, and with it comes a mix of stress and excitement for many taxpayers. Are you going to reel in a nice refund or will you have to fork up a large chunk of change for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?

Regardless of the outcome of your return, there are several ways to file your federal income taxes. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the common ways you can handle them this year.

File Your Taxes Yourself

It’s not uncommon for people to file their tax returns on their own without a tax professional. For the most part, as long as you have a relatively straightforward financial situation (i.e. you have one job and few or no dependents) and you are comfortable with the process, filing solo is a viable option.

According to the IRS, the most important steps to filing a federal tax return yourself are:

  1. Determine if you’re required to file a return: some low-income earners and children are exempt from filing
  2. Figure out your tax filing status: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, widowed, etc.
  3. Calculate your personal exemptions and dependents: some people are entitled to tax exemptions that reduce their taxable income
  4. Report your total income for the year: this can be determined by reviewing your W-2s, which can become more complicated if you work several jobs in one year, or you are self-employed or a freelancer
  5. Claim eligible tax credits and deductions: claiming credits and deductions can reduce your taxable income and increase your chances of receiving a tax refund
  6. Send your completed forms to the appropriate office: typically, your forms are sent to the Department of the Treasury or the Internal Revenue Service office, but this can change depending on which federal tax return form you’re filing and if you’re attaching a payment or not

All tax forms should be available on the IRS website. You can also order IRS tax forms and relevant publications for delivery by mail.

If you find the prospect of filing taxes on your own overwhelming or you are anxious about making any mistakes on your return (which can cause delays in receiving a refund), you can always use a professional service like an accountant or other registered agent.

Hire a Tax Professional

If you’re uncomfortable filling out your tax forms on your own or filing online, there’s no shame in using a professional to prepare your return for you.

Hiring an accountant is still a popular way for taxpayers to manage their returns. An accountant offers peace of mind because of their experience in filing returns year after year. As long as you bring all of your paperwork (Social Security card, income-related documents, expense-related documents, etc.), and have an accountant you trust, you can be confident that your return will be managed efficiently and correctly in time for Tax Day. If you’re unsure of the reputation of an accountant, it’s a good idea to check reviews to see how others have fared with a particular accountant’s services.

Freelancers, small business owners, and other people with more complex financial situations tend to leave their returns up to professionals because the more income streams you have and the more paperwork you rack up increases the chances you might make a mistake. If you’re someone who has a variety of income streams, creating a Personal Financial Statement can be a simple way of organizing your finances to make it easier for you and your accountant to sort through your paperwork and streamline the process. The last thing you want is a delay in a return or the IRS hounding you for a late payment.

If you’re concerned about the cost of hiring a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which can range anywhere from $ 150 and higher, an easy way to cut down on the cost is by remaining organized. Some CPAs charge by the hour, so having your paperwork organized and being on top of things (i.e. filing on time without needing a filing extension or avoiding rushed paperwork), can help to trim down the total bill.

File Your Federal Income Tax Return Online

Many taxpayers choose to file their taxes online with the assistance of filing software to save time and paper. In many cases, you’ll fill out your taxes on your own using the forms provided, and then file them using an IRS-authorized E-File provider like efile.com.

The IRS website has a list of e-file options for individuals with suggestions on how to find online forms or online tax return preparation sites that help you complete your returns online.

Some services and tax software providers charge a fee for use, but there are some free services (with and without eligibility requirements).

With efile.com anyone can prepare your federal and state tax returns free of charge by filling out a step-by-step questionnaire.

There are also the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs, which are free services that are meant to assist people who make less than $ 54,000/year, have disabilities, and/or have limited English-speaking abilities.

It should be noted that programs like VITA and TCE are not online services. They are located in communities, but the volunteers can assist with filing online returns.

Use a More Economical Tax Filing Service

If the cost of a CPA is still too high and you don’t want to manage your own tax return, there are other services that can assist you with your tax needs without breaking the bank.

These services include:

Each of these services offers a cheaper alternative for filing taxes and include either assistance for filing online or professionals in-house who can file for you. The price for services range from free to around $ 100 depending on what you require. Whether it’s a complete filing (filling out your forms and sending them in) or you’re simply looking for a second opinion or review of the work you’ve done on your own return, these services have something for everyone.

Surviving Tax Day

There are many options for taxpayers to use to manage their tax affairs this year. Review your financial situation and reflect on the best option for you based on the complexity of your return, the time you have to file your return, and which service suits your budget best.

Regardless of what you choose, make sure you don’t leave your return to the last minute. Preparation and organization will be some of your greatest allies in tackling this tax season.

How do you prefer to file your taxes?

The post 4 Ways to File Your Taxes appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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