Friday, November 22, 2019

Stella & Dot Gift Guide

** This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. **

I found a few of my most favorite things on the Stella & Dot website for the holidays! (This is way too hard considering I kind of made a list for myself and for family and friends. My list is a little longer. OK. A LOT longer!)

I love all pinks, fuschias, glitters, and shimmers when it comes to lip products. Especially lip glosses and lip stains. I started scrolling down the Stella & Dot Ultimate Holiday Edit and the very first thing that popped out at me was this stunning shade of fuschia! It is a limited edition shade so it's kind of a big deal and crucial that you snag it ASAP! Fuschia is a gorgeous color for anyone no matter who you are!

This is Ever Forever Longwear Liquid Lip Color so yes, yes, indeed there are more shades! You can find them all when you shop the Ultimate Edit Collection! These lip colors glide on like a gloss but dry down to a matte color that lasts all day and all night long. In this day and age with a gazillion liquid lip colors and formulas, it seems not many stand out in the crowd but, Stella & Dot have managed to do exactly that by adding their signature antioxidant Magnolia Oil to this lip formula to help condition and protect your lips! I've tried at least 2 dozen different types of liquid lip colors and have yet to find the one brand that fits me 100% so, I'm thinking this one is it.

One thing I learned (and this probably isn't new to everyone. Just me.) But, I have a tendency, no, an addiction, to lip glosses and so I am constantly reapplying throughout the day and night. I only use very light touchups when wearing liquid lip colors but I either dab white eyeshadow and in the center of my lips and then shine it up with gloss or add glitter or mix colors up. However, Stella & Dot recommends wearing their lip colors alone since adding anything over the could make your long-wearing lip color into short wearing lip color! It made sense after I thought about it and it answered some questions I've had about some of the so-called all day all night long-wear colors. This will be a hard habit to break but if it means keeping lusciously, smooth, bright, fuschia lips, I'm so doing it! 

Ok, I can't get over how adorably sweet this Santa Sack is! What a perfectly cute way to transport gifts this season! You can also add a pink rectangle engravable hanging tag. I just might buy a few of these so I can keep one for stashing and transporting gifts and maybe personalize a couple and fill with gifts so the recipients can reuse them for the same thing! 

I would also use this super cute bag for storing toiletries and other important and essential things when going on overnight trips! 

What do I spend more on than makeup products? Skincare! Especially since I've been in my 40's! I'm a total sucker for face masks, facial oils, creams, cleansers, eye creams, all of it! I also have 2 daughters so I feel like I'm constantly buying beauty products. 

I try my best to stay up to date on everything and anything skincare and I'm always anxious to try products that will help me with glowing skin. That's just what this Ever Glowify Skin Softening Metallic Mask will help you achieve. This will help immensely with late nights, little sleep, hectic schedules, late-night or all-night celebrations and of course, New Years'. 

Stella & Dot's Ever Glowify Mask can help to brighten and hydrate your skin, smooth fine lines, and wrinkles, and restores radiance. Some of the ingredients include wintergreen leaf extract, mineral-enriched water, kaolin clay, and lactic acid. 

You can purchase this mask by itself or together with a brush to help with applying. Of course, this would make an excellent gift for someone on your list but go ahead and grab one for yourself. With all of the busy days and nights coming up, you'll need some time to relax at home. Schedule an all-girl spa sleepover or spa day and bake some cookies, grab some slippers, a good movie, and get your skin all glowy and beautiful! (You may be able to add a bonus for yourself by either finding a consultant or signing up with Stella & Dot yourself and host a party while you're at it! This could be a great opportunity to earn some extra cash or products and help your friends "de-stress" during the holiday season and knock some gifts off of their own lists!) 

I love rings and pearl bracelets and silver! I've always wanted a charm bracelet but never seem to find one that screams, "That's totally me!" But, I fell in love with this charm the second I saw it while scrolling down the Ultimate Edit Collection. 

This is another one of those, buy a few, make sure you keep one for yourself, type of gifts. These custom cut, glass jewels will surely catch everyone's attention. I can't stop admiring it and I'm just looking at the photos! I can't imagine how pretty this will be in real life! I also love the name of this charm. I think it fits perfectly!

This charm fits on all mesh and leather bracelets, all multi-chain necklaces, and all pendants. 

What did you find on the Ultimate Edit Collection for yourself or your gift list? I would love to see what caught your eye! Please leave a comment and let me know if you found the perfect gift at Stella & Dot!

Three Ways Every Parent Should Plan Ahead

p>When you're caring for young children, it can be tough to balance all of life's responsibilities. While it's very normal and even expected to let some details fall through the cracks, failure to meet some deadlines could result in serious headaches down the road. If you're a parent, make sure you plan ahead for these important events so you don't find yourself in a tough or disappointing situation.

Child Care and School Enrollment

You should begin the process of searching for child care Tampa Palms and private school options approximately one year prior to the intended start date. This is especially true of schools and facilities in high demand. Be sure to inquire about the current number of available spaces and registration deadlines for the upcoming year. If you're unsure about your top choice, it may be wise to register at your top two or three options. While you may be out a few dollars in fees, it could be a much better alternative than being stuck with a location that isn't the best solution for your family.

Annual Medical and Dental Examinations

It's important to stay on top of annual medical and dental checkups for obvious health reasons. Additionally, many schools require proof of certain examinations, screenings and immunizations by a specific date in order to enroll or remain in class. Many pediatric offices fill up quickly, so schedule your annual visits as soon as possible. Some offices will allow you to schedule up to a year in advance. If your office does not set a reminder to call back the moment they'll set up an appointment for you.

Special Clubs, Classes and Sports

If your child is interested in participating in a special activity, start searching for options at least two months prior to the beginning of the class, club or sports season. These types of groups tend to fill up quickly, especially in highly populated areas. Register early to avoid disappointment.

For better options and more peace of mind, be sure to prioritize these important events in your child's life.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Is Your Small Business Sales Tax Compliant?

One of the last things anyone ever wants to receive in the mail is a notice from your taxing authority explaining that errors have been found or that they require more documentation from you. It doesn't ever seem to matter if you are guilty of cheating on your taxes or not keeping records, you could have everything documented and filed and sent in a timely manner every time, most of us still start stressing out when we receive a notice like this.

These days, thanks to the Internet, we have so many possibilities for entrepreneurs and it's so much easier to sell our products and services across the country and even around the world. While this may seem to be simple enough, depending on what you're selling, you have to be sure to keep on top of all of the legalities and laws that surround businesses and taxes. Especially those that cross state lines.

Most of us have had to, unfortunately, pay sales tax on most of what we buy. There are differences depending on which state you live in but, for the most part, sales tax can sometimes be a hindrance when shopping for big-ticket items. It can also be a huge obstacle when you are in charge of collecting sales tax from your customers and clients and when you have to be sure you're paying it on time. Wherever you live, it is very important to keep up with sales tax compliance.


Trying to determine who you are responsible to pay and which customers you are responsible for charging can feel like a nightmare at first. This is a fairly easy task if you have a home office or sell from your home. But, if you are selling through Amazon's FBA program (Fulfillment By Amazon) you send products to Amazon first so technically, you could be responsible for collecting sales tax from customers where Amazon sells as well. 

Basically, if you have an office in a state, you are responsible to collect and pay sales tax in that state. If you aren't living in a state but you have an employee or employees in another state, this could make you responsible for paying sales tax. The same goes for any time you or an employee travels to another state to perform services or to sell a product. 

The word, "nexus" is a word the law uses to distinguish the connection between the seller and the state. This also can differ depending on which state you're dealing with. This varies from state to state and again, can change at any time. A state will usually consider a physical presence or an economic connection will create a nexus meaning, you should definitely check in with each and every state you are doing business with or in. 

Prepare And Pay

As with practically everything else, the state just wants to take their share of anything you might be earning in their state. My husband and I own a trucking company and each quarter, we have to report each mile and each gallon of fuel purchased for each truck so that the states can either take their share or give us a refund. (Yes, we rarely see refunds, but, it happens!) I thought this was ridiculous back when we first started. I mean, we actually have to report how many miles were driven in each state and where the fuel was purchased so that the states could determine whether or not we owed them money. For instance, if we purchased cheaper fuel in a neighboring state and then drove through our state (PA), PA will say, "Ok, you owe us for the money it would have cost you to fuel up the truck here." So, they pretty much have you no matter where you turn. Collecting sales tax from your customers to pay into the state they live in is the same concept. Thanks to the Wayfair sales tax case, in 2018, the US Supreme Court decided that you can establish "nexus" through economic activity alone. 

You may or not be affected by this in some states. A lot of this will go by the thresholds that each state has set for businesses. For instance, Colorado has a threshold of $100,000 in sales or 200 or more separate transactions. They didn't make this easy for any of us but as long as you stay on top of it all, it shouldn't hurt so bad in the long run.

Record everything and keep solid records and your job will be much easier whether you file monthly, quarterly, or annually. Not to mention, if you were to receive any terrifying letters, you could easily find what you need and get it where it needs to be promptly. 

I know it's easier to throw worrisome notices off to the side. Especially when they come on a Friday or even a Saturday. But, whether you plan to or not, it's easy for this to be forgotten or to be put off and typically, these notices don't give a whole lot of time for you to respond. The quicker you can get to it, the better and the quicker you can get back to your life and your business of course. 

Start a system of some kind. It doesn't have to be 200 spreadsheets or numerous software programs. You could always check with a tax advisor or keep on top of laws for each state on your own. As long as you have accurate, up to date information, and you follow the laws and keep records, you'll get through any potential audit. 

Once you understand who you have to pay and when the next step would be to pay your tax bills on time and keep any receipts and bank records. Sales tax filing doesn't have to be a frightening experience. (It isn't often but, the Department of Revenue can make mistakes too!) Take a night off or buy yourself some new slippers or lots of chocolates to celebrate! (Just be sure if you're buying out of state, to pay your state's use tax if applicable!) 

Baby Gift Guide

So, the holidays are here again and depending on where you live, you're either swimming and spending lots of time outdoors or you're stuck inside your house with the heat on, wearing hooded sweatshirts and bundling up in blankets. I'm in PA so we're sort of in-between but closer to the sweatshirts, cranking the heat up at nighttime, and buying what's left of the greenhouse produce at the local farms. No matter where you are, you probably already started shopping for gifts or maybe you're dreading the whole shopping deal. I kind of dread it but I do a lot of shopping online so it's not so painful or even dreadful.

We have a new grandson in our family! We're trying to get him to his first hockey game but this probably won't be starting until after the holidays. It's been a few years since I've had to search for baby gifts since our granddaughters are already in school so I've been checking out some of this season's best deals for the tiniest ones.

My granddaughters absolutely love to go for walks and go to the park and their new little brother will be joining them again as soon as the weather is a bit warmer. I've been checking on good quality strollers and reading reviews for different children's strollers and stumbled upon a website that sells not just strollers but toys, clothing, bath products, and even baby laundry products from some of my favorite brands! This makes it so much easier since I don't have to order everything from several different websites.

I found these super sturdy, Bugaboo strollers which are perfect for families with more than one child since some of them can be converted to a double stroller and they all have tons of storage space! (Even families with one kid could always use bonus storage!) There are even options for runner strollers too.

If you're looking to create a gift basket or pick up essentials for a new baby or for someone who will be welcoming a new baby soon, you can find products from BabyGanics and The Honest Co too! They even sell baby-friendly cleaning wipes, dryer sheets, Pacifier and Bottle Wipes from Dr. Brown, Noodles & Boo Ultra-Safe Laundry Detergent, gentle foaming hand soap, and dish soap. Violife has some adorable toothbrushes as well!

You can also find books for baby, push toys, puzzles, lots of learning toys, bikes, dollhouses, rattles, tents, playmats, surely something for every baby and toddler on your list! (If you're a parent, you could take advantage of creating your baby registry on this website and easily send to family and friends to make your life and their lives easier.) There is a great variety of types of learning toys and from some top brands too.

If you're nursing or buying for a nursing mom, they have everything from nursing covers to bottles to nursing pillows. You can plan ahead and grab sippy cups or a high chair or buy for the baby's older sibling.

There are lots of brands and so many great options for clothing and shoes, gift sets or if you're stuck or overwhelmed or unsure of what is needed, they make it easy to just purchase a gift card. (Or you can check out their registry if they created one!) This is especially helpful for grandparents because even if we live close by, it is sometimes much easier to receive a list so you know you're buying the right gifts. It's also very easy to store multiple shipping addresses in your account so you can ship your gifts directly to the recipients. This also comes in handy if you want to get something delivered in time for a new baby or a birthday.

I'd love to know what you've found on the Kids land website! Please leave a comment and let us know if you found your favorite brand or maybe a new favorite brand!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Is Business Data Necessary?

These days, everything seems to be about data. From social media to advertisements to small businesses, we are actually all a part of the data that is being collected and analyzed. While this may freak some of us out, (especially when there are breaches!) this is how businesses, no matter the size, determine the best products and services to sell us and the best ways to target those products or services to a specific group or groups of people. 

I’m sure you may have noticed Facebook ads that seem to pop up immediately after discussing say, being hungry for pizza or needing to buy body wash or diapers. Maybe you were searching online for a certain product and Google decided that they can show you numerous ads for those products for the next couple of days. It’s obvious that data is being collected every minute of every day. 

If you own a business, you’re most likely collecting data of some kind so you can decide the best ways to move forward. There are so many programs available online for us to keep track of data. These programs are also great for marketers, non-profits,  webmasters, and bloggers too! There are plenty of options out there depending on how big or how small or how much data you need to keep track of to succeed. If you have other employees or partners who also need to keep track of data, it may be in your best interest to find a program or service that will help you better share this information across your network. 

What is data governance? One of the best definitions you’ll find out there is this: Data governance is a set of principles and practices that ensure high quality through the complete lifecycle of your data. It is imperative that the people who need to can have access to the data they need to have access to without fear of being locked out. Essentially, how you govern your data will determine whether you succeed or not. What is business data?

Everything, literally everything, that has anything to do with your business is business data. For instance, my husband and I own a small trucking company. It still amazes me at the amount of time we spend on compiling data for so many different aspects of the business. From events to new laws for each state to fuel purchased for each truck, where it was purchased, how much the fuel costs, how many miles were driven in each state on which day, and much, much more. It is a very tedious process but without this data, we could have a nightmare on our hands whether it comes to state audits or our taxes. We each keep track of certain things and on different computers. A couple of our employees work from their homes as well so it is crucial that we are all on the same page and able to access each other’s data at any time. 

People, places, things. Rules, contracts, laws. What is important to you and your business. Data is the core of your business or organization. Banks and investors and anyone who has any interest in your business or organization will sometimes require this. Collecting business data is expected anymore so rather than pulling an all-nighter (and hoping you can find a few others to do the same.) to gather this information for an audit or even a bank if applying for a line of credit. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way over the years and now I am very meticulous and sometimes maybe even overbearing at times when asking my husband where or when data for a different department will be entered. Being prepared and always being on top of everything will be extremely beneficial for your business! Not only does it help with your stress levels but it shows potential clients, investors, customers, that you are on top of your game. Beyond that, having your business data governed and functioning properly across all levels and departments could help you with any potential legal issues and will always make you look more professional. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Instrument Care Tips

An instrument is a major investment. Taking on a new hobby or adding to an existing collection in the form of an additional musical instrument is not to be taken lightly, so it's important to understand how to properly care for one. Below are some basic ways to extend the life of an instrument and ensure that the music continues playing as long as possible, from pianos in southern California to guitars Boston MA


This may seem obvious, but for new instrument owners, it's worth mentioning that climate control can be absolutely critical to the longevity of an instrument. When temperatures drop too low or grow to extreme highs with changes in humidity, the results can be devastating. These kinds of dramatic changes can warp the body of the instrument, especially string instruments that are made of wood in highly specific ways. If an instrument is being transferred from the cold into a warmer room and vice versa, let the instrument warm up on its own before playing. Keeping the instrument in a space with the steadiest temperatures possible will help the integrity maintain. 


Believe it or not, cleaning an instrument is about more than just making it look nice. Cleaning and polishing an instrument helps to prevent rosin and dust from piling up in places where it shouldn't. Neglecting this habit can lead to sticky keys, damaged strings, and instruments sounding generally less than stellar and out of tune. If strings need to be replaced, doing so one at a time is actually better for an instrument. 


Lastly, if an instrument needs repair, it is much better to take the instrument into the hands of a professional. Instrument repair can be extremely complicated, and trying to fashion a repair at home can lead to more damaging results. While a professional may seem more expensive in the moment, it is significantly better in the long run. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Snow Day Survival Fun For Kids

Winter is one of my most favorite times of the year! I guess it kind of depends on where you live since there are some places that rarely even see snow or even worse, never see snow! I've lived in East Central PA and Northeast PA all of my life so we typically have plenty of snow days each year. We live in a much more rural area now then we did previously so it did take a few storms for us to realize we needed to plan and stock just a bit more than we used to if we want to have a Cozy Winter!

If you have children or grandchildren then you already know how crucial it is to have an abundance of games, snacks, toys, books, tissues, toilet paper, diapers, first aid supplies, and a gazillion other items on hand. Even when you're not stuck indoors! I always like to keep a list of everything that's vital to being stuck indoors whether it's for the kids to be occupied or my own sanity.

Plan For Outages

Remember when we didn't have cell phones and WiFi? Actually, I miss those days! I think that's one of the reasons I really don't mind being stuck indoors during a storm. The kids even look forward to it too! Well, with the exception of thunder according to my youngest,,, 

Even if you have a generator, it isn't too much fun if you lose power for too long. You don't want to have to throw away anything from your freezer or fridge and you will start getting cold soon enough if it's a winter storm. When you have a few hours or overnight without power, you can still make the best of it. 

Slumber party in the living room! Hopefully, you have some batteries, flashlights, and lanterns to use and lots of pillows, comforters, sleeping bags, or just big, comfy blankets anything that can provide hours of warmth!  Candles are a bonus in some cases but you certainly don't want to have any candles lit while you're asleep. (Or in a blizzard or any kind of storm with wind!) Not only will a sleepover in the living room help keep everyone warm, but kids are also usually more comfortable making a game out of it and doing something special. Use that time to read stories, eat snacks, play card games, (even board games if you have enough light!) 

PS Don't forget you could also charge your cell phones in your vehicle so you can keep up to date with important information and updates!  

The Essentials 

Besides batteries, an ample supply of food and water, toys, games, first aid kits, any prescription medication, whatever it is you and your family need in the event you're stuck for a few days, the best advice I can give is to prepare! 

Most weather gives some kind of warning these days. We may not be told exactly what or when but, we kind of get a warning or see an advisory pop up. I take those advisories and warnings seriously because you really never know. 

One of my biggest fears is to be stuck inside without power and not have any clean dishes, laundry, bottles of water for brushing teeth, drinking, cleaning and not having enough food. I keep a list of specific things we would need over the course of a few days and always keep those things on hand. Most importantly, prescription medications, feminine products, cleaning wipes, etc. But, I also run around catching up on laundry, dishes, making sure all of the blankets are washed, dried and available and batteries, flashlights, and weather radios are closeby and in proper working condition! You wouldn't want to run out of clean underwear during a power outage, right? 

Besides having a clean, spotless house with plenty of clean undies, make sure you also have something to occupy your time! Whether it's pen and paper, books, magazines, games, it's good to keep a box or a basket close that has all of your favorite goodies too. Your little ones will be having so much fun "camping out" and will be content with crayons and cookies but, depending on the severity of the storm, you may need something to keep yourself content. Make sure not to forget about the grown-ups!