Archives for 2013

Investing in 2014: To Be or Not To Be?

stock investingI’ve spent a lot of time thinking about 2014 and my financial goals for the year. To be completely honest, working as a self-employed individual (with two jobs) is really not easy. I do have some debt – much of it medical and part of it from a few marketing risks I’ve taken. Life when your income is inconsistent isn’t necessarily easy.

In looking at my financial goals, I did end up making a list of a few things I want to accomplish in 2014. The list is rather ambitious, but it gives me things to work towards. I’m not too ashamed to share the goals, so here they are:

  • Tackle tax obligations (I am currently on a payment plan)
  • Pay off all medical debt (might be the easiest thing I do)
  • Pay off at least 50% of other debts (there is some credit card debt, also in part due to medical debt; and partially from marketing)
  • Find finds to purchase a newer used vehicle (our used car is not as safe as it could be, and likely on its last legs)
  • Immediately begin saving funds for a new computer (mine shows serious signs of death in the hopefully distant future, but I need it to work from home)

These aren’t necessarily listed in order of importance, but I want to point something out. I did not, anywhere in my list of financial goals, prioritize saving for retirement or investing. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: Family Secrets

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers segment for this week. This week’s contribution comes from Deborah Dera. The prompt for the past few weeks has been to choose an item and write about why your character stole it. Deborah’s piece morphed a bit from the prompt, and is in no way, shape, or form a true story.

Next week’s prompt will come from RC Bonitz, author of A LITTLE BIT OF BLACKMAIL, A LITTLE BIT OF BABY, and A BLANKET FOR HER HEART.

***

Family Secrets

I knew there wasn’t much I could do about it, but I always convinced myself I had to try – again, and again, and again. The private conversations worked for a couple of days, resulting in the sudden disappearance of his secret stash and several hours of lucidity. Family interventions resulted in tears, promises, and – at most – two or three weeks of cleanliness. Getting picked up for possession should have resulted in about a month of sobriety, but it didn’t. There were too many suppliers in the prison. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: The Vase

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers. This week the prompt is to have a character explain why they stole something. 

Today’s contribution comes from Catherine MacKenzie. Her most recent publication, BETWEEN THESE PAGES, is a compilation of 18 short stories. The book is available on Amazon and Smashwords

 ***

The Vase

Fragmented snakes twist around broken and chipped Chinese men. Hopelessly, their glossy faces—both snakes and men—glare at me, perhaps begging to be put out of their misery. I want to help, but it’s too late. At one time they were safe—when, healthy and whole, they leered from a two-foot-high porcelain vase. Now, it’s a puzzle as to where one slimy snake begins and another ends. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: Stealing Time

spotsThe following tale is told by Abigail, the main character in Val Muller’s work-in-progress. It’s a post-disaster sci-fi tale in which Abigail struggles to keep a barren earth from falling into a complete wasteland. You can learn more about Val at www.valmuller.com or www.corgicapers.com, with holiday sales going on at www.valmuller.com/store.

***

Stealing Time

I took it. No trade, no payment. I just took it and ran. But I had to.

The wire coil was in the best shape of any wire I’ve found. It’s just thick enough to do the job, and there’s enough of it. I’m one step closer to the desalinizer now. That is, I’ll be one step closer assuming I make it back. I’m sure Herrity will discover it’s missing soon, and of course he’ll know I took it. But I couldn’t pay him. Not in any of the ways he wanted. I’m hoping he sleeps through to the dawn. Then I’ll be long gone. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: The Confession

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers. This week the prompt is to have a character explain why they stole something.

Today’s contribution comes from RC Bonitz, author of A LITTLE BIT OF BLACKMAIL, A LITTLE BIT OF BABY, and A BLANKET FOR HER HEART.  

Next week’s story will be by Val Muller, author of FOR WHOM MY HEART BEATS ETERNAL, a sci-fi romance, and CORGI CAPERS: DECEIT ON DORSET DRIVE, a mystery novel for young readers.

***

The Confession

It’s the weirdest thing. I never did anything like this before. Maybe it was the challenge, you know? I mean wind chimes make  noise when you touch them, right, so I had to be real careful. And the shop was small- I wasn’t very far from the woman at the cash register. [Read more…]

Dear Mr. President – I’m Still Waiting

health benefitsI’m a huge advocate of all things Affordable Care Act. I think President Obama did what most only talk about. He took action to try to solve one of the problems our country faces. We have tons of problems and most can be solved one at a time – or at least by giving primary focus to one at a time.

It disturbs me when people say that those taking advantage of the health exchange sites are freeloaders. I’m sorry? I work what probably totals to the equivalent of two full-time jobs. I’m 100% self employed. I pay taxes. As a matter of fact, I automatically pay more taxes because I get to pay a self-employment tax. I deserve to see part of my tax money go towards my own healthcare.

Regardless, all good things come with hiccups and growing pains. While I’m not 100% sure why the healthcare.gov site was allowed to launch the way it did, or why so many major issues were covered up, that sort of behavior seems par for the course. [Read more…]

Product Review: Green Mountain Fair Trade Coffee

SAM_1938Disclaimer: I’m a member of the BzzAgent program and received a free sample of Green Mountain Fair Trade Coffee and some coupons as part of the campaign. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my honest opinion of the product. I was not required to write this review, nor was I compensated for writing it.

Mention the Green Mountain name to any true coffee lover and you’re bound to hear a little bit of excitement in the responses you get. Everyone I told about this campaign said, “Oh, Green Mountain is a good brand of coffee,” or some similar variation. I knew, with all the coffee lovers in my life, that getting others to try coffee wouldn’t be too difficult.

green mountain

The campaign itself wasn’t just about coffee though. It was about Fair Trade coffee. As part of this campaign, we were encouraged to visit and encourage others to view ChooseFairTrade.com. This is a great website where you can learn about what Fair Trade really means and how Green Mountain is striving to offer Fair Trade coffee blends to the public. As part of their campaign, Green Mountain sent superstar Kelly Clarkson to Peru to visit some of the local coffee farmers. She got to learn not only about the process of farming coffee beans but how the Fair Trade campaign has altered the lives of the farmers involved. Fair Trade, to be clear, is a logo applied to products that have agreed to pay farmers and manufacturers in foreign countries a fair wage for the products they produce. It applies not only to coffee, but to a wide variety of other foods and goods as well. [Read more…]

Motivate Yourself to Get Some Exercise

exerciseI love to exercise, but I have to be honest, I sometimes have a bit of a hard time motivating myself. I also know that I get the best results when I get up and exercise first thing in the morning. But let me tell you something. It’s cold outside and my bed is really, really warm – especially with the heavy winter comforter. This makes it just a tad bit harder to crawl out from under the covers at the crack of dawn.

So what do I do? I get up and exercise, most mornings – but some mornings I don’t. I do, however, look for ways to motivate myself so that the percentage of morning workouts far exceeds the number of afternoon workouts (or days I don’t workout at all).

Set Aside Time for Yourself

One of the biggest complaints most women I know have is that they have too much other stuff to do. I call BS on that. You have to take time for yourself at some point, and if that time is to exercise, so be it.  But it should be guilt-free time you can claim as your own. End of story. Thirty minutes to yourself won’t hurt anyone in your family. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: The Holiday Miracle

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers segment for this week. This week’s contribution comes from Deborah Dera. The prompt for the past few weeks has been “magic brew,” and Deborah found it challenging to work the theme into her piece so far after the spooky Halloween season. She hopes this piece sparks a little bit of holiday magic.

Next week’s prompt will come from RC Bonitz, author of A LITTLE BIT OF BLACKMAIL, A LITTLE BIT OF BABY, and A BLANKET FOR HER HEART.

***

The Holiday Miracle

Desi sat quietly in the kitchen. The only light shining through the windows was from the street lamp outside, and even those weren’t so bright anymore. Everything seemed dim lately.

Arnold slept peacefully in their shared bed upstairs. He’d been out of work for 4 months, only doing odd jobs here and there to supplement his unemployment. Desi worked nights at the local truck stop and what they were making simply wasn’t enough. They were just barely scraping by before Arnold lost his job. Christmas was just a week away and it didn’t look like there would be much of a celebration for the kids this year. [Read more…]

The UGG Controversy: Trademarking Common Terms

trademark1Did you know those UGG boots you clamor for yearly have been, and in some places still are, the subject of a huge controversy regarding – you guess it – trademarks? Believe it or not, they are – and here’s why.

The Origin of UGG Boots

UGG boots were originally created in the early 1920’s. They were invented by Australian sheep herders and farmers to keep them warm in the cool morning hours. They were then worn by pilots during WWII, to keep warm in their uninsulated cockpits.

As far as the term goes in Australia and New Zealand, where the boots originated, the term “ugg” is a very broad descriptive term used to describe shoes made out of a particular type of sheepskin. [Read more…]