Best Outdoor Living Ideas for Every Part of the Country

Outdoor living fun

Here’s another fun post I did for my friends at Unison.com about Outdoor Living. Take a look. Maybe you can find some inspiration for a new project before the warm weather disappears.

No matter whether you live in sunny California, the Deep South or the Northeast, it’s fun to be outside when the weather is nice. If you’ve been dreaming of spending more quality time enjoying nature – or just enjoying your backyard – we put together a list of things you can do to enhance your home’s outdoor living space so you can enjoy every moment.

Click the link below to check out some awesome ideas for your home.

Best Outdoor Living Ideas for Every Part of the Country

 

 

Giving Your Vision A Voice. Let me help you express your message. Visit my Contact Page to get started today.

What Words Cannot Express

No matter how many years go by, this day serves as a reminder that we must live every day to its fullest.

September 11, 2001.

The day that changed our lives forever.

These images (and others from that day) evoke an angst in me like nothing else can.

Finding the right words to express the emotional roller coaster inside me seems impossible; and yet, perhaps necessary to slowly close the wound that never has completely healed.

Please allow me to set these thoughts down in pieces rather than in prose. Connecting them now, even after all these years, is just too much.

Freedom. Blue skies. Deep breaths. Safe. Secure. Protected. Comfortable. Good. Hope. Everyday life. Normal.

Shock. Disbelief. Chaos. Turmoil. Horror. Evil. Fear. Anger. Despair. Death. Grief. Hurt. Silence. Broken.

Tears. Sadness. Unity. Compassion. Pride. Patriotism. Faith. Love. Strength. Determination. Survival. Heart.

Change. Suspicion. Distrust. Anxiety. Blame. Unrest. War. Discovery. Justice.

Contemplation. Acceptance. Remembrance. Rebirth. Awareness. Guarded. Changed. Never Forget. Still Free.

AMERICA.

With deep admiration and appreciation for those who protect us every day,

Debbie Dey


Giving Your Vision a Voice. It’s Never Too Late.

7 Bathroom Remodeling Trends to Transform Your Space

 

Everyone needs a little time in their day to relax and refresh. What better place to do that than a newly remodeled bathroom? Whether you’re a DIYer or choose to rely on the expertise of a professional contractor, the ideas below can transform your space into an oasis that’s fit for royalty.

Check out my latest post from my friends at Unison to learn about the:

7 Bathroom Remodeling Trends to Transform Your Space

Then check back with me and let me know about other ideas you’ve tried. I’d love to hear from you.


Giving Your Vision a Voice. Visit my Contact page and let me help you express your message. 

Top 7 Interior Design Trends You Need to Know

wide-plank hardwood floor with puppy

HGTV and other home makeover shows have gained popularity because people like to see what new designs and styles are trending. But it can be hard to keep track of the most current styles and differentiate what is sustainable versus what is simply a fad.

Not to worry! In this post, we will describe 7 top interior design trends in 2018 that are likely to have long-term staying power. Even better, we’ll explain how to implement these in your own home (and how much it might cost you).

Take a look at my latest post from my friends at Unison to see just what you can do to spruce up your house now and how they can help you finance your project.

Top 7 Interior Design Trends You Need to Know

Have you tried out any of these ideas? Have you got some other suggestions that have added that “Wow” factor? Comment below and maybe I’ll dedicate a post to your trending renovation.


Giving Your Vision A Voice. Let me help you express your message.

Visit my Contact page to get started today.

How to Do a Kitchen Remodel That Will Add Value to Your Home

Girl with kitchen faucet

Check out my latest post on kitchen remodeling that my friends at Unison Home Investors just published. Then visit them @Unison on Twitter to see how they can help you with your home improvement financing needs.

There are plenty of reasons you might want to remodel your kitchen:

Whether you bought your home as a fixer-upper, are getting it ready to sell, or just want to do a little updating, it can be more than a little overwhelming when you try to figure out where to start.

So, no matter what your reason is for updating, spending your hard-earned dollars on a kitchen remodel of any size and shape will definitely add value to your home. On top of that, there are a ton of new innovations that can improve your quality of life, reduce maintenance, and increase efficiency while you live there.

Take a look at this post:

How to Do a Kitchen Remodel That Will Add Value to Your Home

and get started on your remodel today.


Giving Your Vision A Voice. Let me help you express your message and visit my Contact page to get started today.

How to Write a Better Blog Post in Half the Time

Do you have a full-time day job like I Do? Then you probably need to find ways to write faster too.

Dina’ s guest post at Mostly Blogging gives some great advice on how to make this happen.

I’m going to give it a go. How about you?

https://www.mostlyblogging.com/better-blog-post-half-time/

Should You Write Every Day? A Close Look at the Oldest Piece of Writing Advice

This is interesting. Nathaniel gives us food for thought on the reasons why or why not to write every day. 

It really is a personal preference. Take a look and decide for yourself. 

The writer’s life is not always an easy path, but if you live it “your way,” it can be a fun and lucrative one!

https://wp.me/p2ZHlF-qG

Tax Tips Every Freelance Writer Should Follow

taxes-646511_640

The tax deadline is closing in. Check out my re-post for some tips that every freelancer can use.


Whether you’re new to freelancing or a seasoned entrepreneur, tax season may have you breaking out in a cold sweat. Understanding the tax laws relating to business expenses can be a little intimidating, so here are a few tips I’ve assembled to help you determine what you may be able to claim:

Documentation

Keeping track of your income and expenses throughout the year is critical if you’re going to avoid the last-minute rush to file on time.

I’ll admit that I’m much better with words than I am with numbers, so I hire an accountant to prepare my taxes. Of course, his calculations are only as good as the information I provide, so it’s important that I keep good business records.

There are a variety of methods you can use to record your earnings and expenditures. Here are two I’ve used with great success:

Microsoft Excel—I paid for this software that was included with my Microsoft Office suite. It uses a spreadsheet format that you can customize to fit your business model. I set up two pages—one for income and one for expenses.

While many of your writing jobs may be through just a few companies that will provide a W-2 or 1099 at the end of January, I like to keep a running record of every job I do and my earnings. I generally compare my Excel income statement to the tax forms I receive, including my PayPal statement that identifies every payment transaction. This gives me peace-of-mind that I’m reporting all my earnings and haven’t missed any.

The Expenses tab is used to note everything you’ve spent throughout the year to keep your business running. I’ll break down what those items are in a minute. I categorize like items in separate columns and set formulas to total them, so my accountant can quickly find what he needs to fill out the Federal and State tax forms.

QuickBooks—This powerful software program makes documentation a breeze. Created by accounting professionals at Intuit, it intuitively and accurately tracks your business expenses all year to make sure you get every deduction you’re entitled to at tax time.

This is also a fee-based service, but they offer a free trial to help you get started. It syncs all your entries across all devices, so you’ll never miss a charge when you’re away from your office. 

You can easily record every purchase (even online transactions) manually or download them directly into QuickBooks. Even attach receipt images to the specific expense for future reference. It’s the perfect program at tax time too. All expenses are organized into categories such as Marketing and advertising, Travel and entertainment, or Office expenses and utilities; so your accountant will have everything needed to prepare your tax returns.

tax-1351881_640

Deductions

The IRS allows numerous expenses for running a business that you may never have thought of, so let me give you a list of items you need to start assembling now:

  • Software programs (especially those used to track your income and expenses like Excel or QuickBooks.)
  • Education—whether you attend seminars, take some online classes or attend a traditional classroom setting, you can take the tuition or fees as a deduction.
  • Cell phone data charges—if you use your smartphone to access the internet, communicate with clients or even write articles, you can expense a portion of your cell phone data charges.
  • Printer ink cartridges—if you’re like me, you print out your work for proofreading and red-lining before submitting to your client. Those ink cartridges are pricey but luckily, they’re also deductible.
  • Stationery supplies—the same goes for the paper, pens, planner and any other office supplies you need to perform your work.
  • Books—whether you need them to improve your craft or for reference materials, you can claim them.
  • PayPal fees—I do some business with clients who reside outside of the U.S. PayPal charges fees to exchange the foreign currency to USD, so I was able to claim those fees as a business expense.
  • Mileage and transportation—while I generally don’t travel for business, many freelancers do to meet with clients, do interviews or collaborate with a team. The mileage and transportation costs are deductible.
  • Office equipment—did you buy a laptop, desk, desk chair, lamp, cordless phone, filing cabinet, bookshelf or other assets for your business? Yep, you can deduct them too.

apple-1284085_640

Home Office

Now, this may come as a surprise, but if you have a room set aside in your home where you perform your freelance writing work (not just a corner of the kitchen table), you can claim it as a home office. To qualify, it should be a dedicated space with a desk, a chair, a filing cabinet and a computer.

Your tax accountant can give you a clearer understanding of how this works, but a percentage of these house expenses can be deducted and depreciated based on the size of your office as it relates to the overall house square footage.

These are the details I provided so my accountant could complete the proper tax forms:

  • Overall square footage of my home
  • Square footage of my office
  • Age of home
  • Purchase price
  • Annual utility costs—gas, electric and water
  • Annual homeowner’s insurance cost
  • Annual internet cost

You may be more adept at tax preparation than I, but my accountant (the amazing number man) did an itemized breakdown of all my business earnings and expenses plus depreciation for a home office to calculate my freelance writing business taxable income.

My Advice

Who knew that running your own small business could be so complicated?

I was unsure (and a little nervous) the first time I had to pull all of my business tax information together. It was amazing to actually earn money from my writing skills, but then I remembered that Uncle Sam always wants a portion of it. You’ll want to keep as much of your hard-earned money as possible. In order to do that, you’ll need to keep detailed records.

Luckily, I had some really smart people help me compile the information in my first year. They wisely suggested that I track everything from January 1st so I wouldn’t have panic attacks the following April 15th.

Obviously, if you didn’t document all of these details in 2016, things are going to be a little challenging for this tax season. Don’t let it get you down. Print out a copy of this post and start compiling the information. 

Once you’ve got 2016 closed out, get started on tracking information for 2017. Don’t forget to keep all your receipts. Why not give Excel or QuickBooks a try?

You’ll be really glad you did!

tax-468440_640

So, was this helpful? Did I miss anything or do you have extra tips that may be helpful to other freelance writers? I’d like to hear your thoughts. Just click “Comments” below.


Giving Your Vision a Voice. Let me help you express your message.

Offering Business Writing and Blog Services. Visit my “Contact Me” page to get started today.