Bloggers: Before You File, Consider These Tax Tips :: Guest Post by Crystal Colon
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Bloggers! It’s tax time.  Just the thought sends people into a panic. However, there is no need. If you are armed with the right information, tax time can be a breeze. I wanted to share with you a few tips based on my years of experience as an accountant reviewing financial records, as well as being a small business owner.

1)Don’t go at it alone.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that tax software such as TurboTax is easy.  Such software asks open ended questions that can lead to large deficiencies and penalties if you don’t have knowledge of the tax law.  For example, TurboTax may ask you, “Do you wear special clothing for work?”  You check yes.  But unless you wear special clothing that is unsuitable for daily wear or is mandatory, you can’t claim the deduction. An example of this would be hard hat or steel toe boots, which are items that aren’t suitable to walk around in during your normal non-work day.

2. Report all your income!

This should go without saying. However, you would be surprised at how many people don’t report income and say, “ I didn’t receive my 1099.”  You are responsible for reporting income regardless of receiving an information return (Form 1099 or W-2, etc) from the person for whom you worked. An easy way to ensure you have the correct income at your finger tips is to solely use Paypal to collect your  business income. This way, at years end, Paypal will send you the required 1099-K and you don’t have to worry about collecting Forms 1099 from various individuals and/or companies.
*I recommend having the business Paypal account*

3. Ask the right questions!

When it comes to choosing a return preparer don’t rely solely on word of mouth.  Don’t choose a preparer because you heard that the preparer can secure you a large refund. Remember, a refund means you are receiving money back because you overpaid. So don’t think you will get an $8,000 refund if you hadn’t given the government at least that much during the prior year in the form of withholdings or estimated payments. Everyone’s tax situation is unique.  If you do meet with someone whom you were referred to, ask them if they have experience with your industry.  For us that would be blogging.  Ask what their credentials are.  If something doesn’t look right, ask!  Remember, even if you have a preparer, YOU will be responsible for any errors on the return.

4. Is your home office really an office?

The home office deduction is a tricky son of a gun. Many people think that if they work in their home they are entitled to deduct expenses related to doing so. That simply is not true.  Make sure that you have a DEDICATED space that is used for work.  No kitchen or dining room table.  Also be sure it is a space that, if audited, would look like an office that is used for work and that is for YOU and YOUR business. Not the space set aside for the kids to do homework on the family computer. Also, remember that the first telephone line in the home is not deductible. So if you use the home phone for your business, you can’t deduct that cost, unless it is the second phone line.
I hope these few tips help you at tax time!!! Now go out there and MAKE THAT MONEY!
crystal Crystal Colon is the owner of Flor Bella Boutique, an online  accessory shop.  She is a married mother of two daughters. Crystal  is a veteran of the US Army having served her country during  Operation Iraqi Freedom.  She has a bachelor’s degree in  accounting and her MBA.  Since 2006 she has worked in her  current position evaluating the accounting records of small  business and self employed individuals.
Love, Primetime, Being Present, and Ending Poverty :: Blogalicious Weekly Round Up – 6th Edition
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Have You Purchased Your Copy of Loving In The Grown ZoneThe Blogalicious community is so proud of Alfred Edmond Jr. and Zara Green and the launch of their new book: Loving In The Grown Zone: A No-Nonsense Guide to Making Healthy Decisions In the Quest for Loving, Romantic Relationships, of Honor, Esteem, and Respect.   Learn all about it and join in on the Blog Tour, HERE.
Black Girls Rock.  But we knew that. We’re so excited that Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King will return to the stage as co-hosts of “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!” for the fourth time. The televised primetime special, celebrating its fifth year, that honors the triumphs of inspirational African American women who are trailblazers in the areas of art, philanthropy, sports, and community service.  Tune in to BET on Sunday, April 5th at 7pm ET!
Be Present.  Caught up in the Instagram vortex? We confess that we’ve been guilty of that too. This beautiful post on My Brown Baby, contributed by Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts reminds us to be mentally and emotionally present so that we can appreciate and experience all of the precious moments that we are blessed with. Put down your smartphone this weekend and live in the moment.
Women’s Rights Are Everyone’s Rights. Some of the world’s most prominent and credible female voices – including Beyoncé, Meryl Streep, Lady Gaga, Sheryl Sandberg, Charlize Theron, and Angelique Kidjo – have a VERY important message about the girls and women of the world. Learn more and sign the ONE.org petition to help end poverty for girls and women by 2030, HERE.
Your Daily Dose of Inspiration :: Celebrating Women’s History Month
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This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl! ~James Brown 

This month we’re celebrating Women’s History Month. Check back here every day for a new quote penned by @JusticeFergie. If you pin/share the images, please credit the source. :-)

 

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“Don’t mistake politeness for lack of strength.” – Sonia Sotomayor

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“There’s no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s what you were born to do.” – Oprah

 

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

 

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“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” – Madeleine Albright

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“I have the right to speak up.” ~ Malala Yousafzai

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“Focus on something outside of yourself. Devote a slice of your energies towards making the world suck less every week.”  ~Shonda Rhimes

Murder, Munchies and Money :: Blogalicious Weekly Round Up

 

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Happy Birthday, Mabel’s Labels!

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Blogalicious Weekend conference sponsor and supporter, Mabel’s Labels celebrated their 12th birthday on Monday.  In celebration they are offering 40% all month on their products. Be sure to follow their social media channels for birthday contest giveaways.

Who Killed Rebecca?!

Did you catch that suspenseful 2-hour “How To Get Away With Murder” finale? Even if you missed a couple of episodes, the frequent flash back scenes will get you all caught up. Now we have to wait 6 months to find out who killed Rebecca! Aja Naomi who plays ‘Michaela’ dishes on behind-the-scenes thoughts on the finale. 

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Lenten season is here and if you’re tired of the same ole’ fish dish on Fridays, @ModernMami shares a delicious Ensalada de Bacalao Salad recipe she ate frequently as a kid. Nom Nom! Nutritious AND healthy!

Know Your Value

Ladies, how many of you wince and cower when it comes to negotiating your salary for a new gig or sponsored content? Studies shows women are less likely to negotiate for a higher salary for many different reasons but the biggest reason being most women haven’t been taught to ask for more! Miko Brzezinski is launching “Know Your Value” conference series in several major cities. She’s on a mission “help women remove those barriers and stop leaving money on the table.”

Change the Conversation about Healthy Love :: Join Loving In The Grown Zone Blog Tour
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We can’t tell you how excited we are about the book launch of Blogalicious community members and super supporters, Alfred A. Edmond, Jr. and Zara Green!  You all know them from their life empowerment brand, The Grown Zone, whose mission is: to help you to shift your focus from what you may have the absolute adult right to do—destructive as those choices may be, to what is in your best interest to do—grown decisions—in order to achieve honor, esteem, respect, prosperity, health (mental, physical and spiritual), good relationships and self-loving behaviors for your life.

Well, these two powerhouses have turned their attention to the subject of loving relationships with the launch of: “Loving in the Grown Zone: Changing the Conversation About Healthy Love” book. 

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Guess what? You’re invited to join in on the fun! 

Starting March 1st through March 9th, you can share your thoughts and experiences on love and relationships as part of their big blog book tour.  Interested in submitting a post? Beginning March 1st you can follow this link to upload your already published blog post, live on your site, to our Blog Tour Page.

 

Grown Zone will promote the Blog Tour page via social media and hope to send new readers to your blog every week to help share the principles of establishing and sustaining healthy, loving relationships of honor, esteem and respect. Win-Win! So the sooner you get yours posted after the tour begins, the better!

Join the #GrownLove Blog Tour!

They’ve made it so easy for us to join in. Just check out their For Bloggers page to find all of the details you need to participate - they’ve got writing prompts, graphics and details about their #GrownLove Twitter party on March 10th. So hop on over there and get ready to blow Loving In the Grown Zone out of the water!

 

Mommy Guilt and BOSS Moves :: Blogalicious Weekly Round Up Edition 4
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Justice Fergie grew up speaking French and was raised fully embracing her Caribbean heritage. She vowed to raise her children as bilingual and multicultural. When her daughter referred to Roti as a “Caribbean Burrito”,  almost fainted! “On passing down pieces of me: French, sorrel and a side of guilt”, Justice Fergie vows to do a better job on installing a love a culture to her offspring. This the second series of her #MyUntoldStory feature by Wells Fargo.

#TeamBlogalicious will be at the inaugural #WeAllGrow Summit in Los Angeles tomorrow! Justice Fergie will be presenting and Jazzy Jonez is excited about attending the conference and actually learning new social media tools instead of being behind the scenes.

If you’re attending and you see us out and about, stop us and say HI!

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Who else is LOVING Empire?! Don’t ask me how this happened but #TeamBlogalicious kiddos have stumbled upon the Drip Drop tune and it has been playing non-stop for the last week. It’s no secret Cookie Lyon is #BOSS and about her business. The Cubicle Chick has been taking notes and picked up “Five  Entrepreneurial Lesson We Can Learn from Empire’s Cookie Lyon.”

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We’re super excited for Roshell Rosemond, Founder of Liquid Courage Cosmetics feature in this month’s Marie Claire Magazine. We see you being GREAT, Roshell! #BOSS {Pssst… She’s also the creator of the  limited edition BeBlogalicious lipstick that we debuted at #BeGreatB6 conference last year. There’s less than 10 tubes of lipstick in stock. Hurry up and order your own exclusive color before it’s gone!}

February 26th Is Girl Day! #BringItOut
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We have news for all of you STEM lovers out there! This month’s Blogalicious bLink Marketing Network partner, DiscoverE will be hosting its 14th Annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day event, scheduled for February 26th.  With a number of local events happening in and around Washington, DC, the theme of “There’s a Little Bit of Engineer in Every Girl” will be celebrated in the nation’s capital and there’s a ton of way for you to get involved.

Girl Day will kick off the #BringitOut social media campaign with a briefing that’s open to lawmakers, non-profits, and corporations on Capitol Hill. With over 4,000 girls registered, the briefing will command awareness and “optimize the awesome between girls and engineering.”  Speakers include Rep. Daniel Lipinski (host), representatives from the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers, Argonne National Laboratory and, University of Texas, Austin.

Each year this empowering and engaging day is packed with workshops, lab tours, on-line discussions and interactive, hands-on activities at businesses, universities, libraries and other venues across the country, providing engagement and mentoring to as many as one million girls. Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is one of the tent pole events that make up Engineers WeekFebruary 22-28, 2015

Jam-packed with workshops, lab tours, discussions, and activities spreading from universities, libraries, Girl Day provides engagement and mentoring for a million girls across the country.

To learn more about the initiative, please go to: http://www.discovere.org/our-programs/girl-day

 

Studies from Engineer Your Life and Changing the Conversation have found that girls:

  • Don’t know what engineering is;
  • Think engineers must be exceptional at both math and science; and,
  • Believe engineering is difficult and challenging.

These same projects also found that when we change how we talk about engineering, we can change what they think about engineering.

Whether you are a parent, teacher, counselor, or volunteer here are five things to share about engineers and their work:

Curiosity—Engineers ask lots of questions that start with: Why? How? What if?

Creativity—Engineering is a great outlet for the imagination—the perfect field for independent thinkers.

Teamwork—Engineering takes teamwork, and engineers work with all kinds of people inside and outside the field. Whether they’re designers or architects, doctors or entrepreneurs, engineers are surrounded by smart, inspiring people.

Opportunities—An engineering degree offers lots of freedom in finding a person’s dream job. It can be a launching pad for jobs in business, design, medicine, law, and government. To employers or graduate schools, an engineering degree reflects a well-educated individual who has been taught ways of analyzing and solving problems that can lead to success in all kinds of fields.

Helping Others—Imagine what life would be like without pollution controls to preserve the environment, life-saving medical equipment, or low-cost building materials for fighting global poverty. All this takes engineering. In very real and concrete ways, engineers save lives, prevent disease, reduce poverty, and protect our planet.

In celebration of Engineers Week and Girl Day, we want to know: 

“Who or what inspired YOU to be an engineer?”

Share it on your social channels using the hashtag #inspired2engineer and #eweek2015

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What Do Brands Really Want From Bloggers? :: Small Business Training featuring Raynetta Smith, @PiperRaePR
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This #lovemonth Blogalicious has kissed and courted you with our #Courage2Love movement, geared you up with #GrownZone good love, connected your heart and health and equipped you with #SponsorSuccess. And we’re still not done giving you our whole heart. We’re rounding out this February and launching a new interactive webinar series – Inside the eGuide: Small Business Training Series. Starting with ‘Bloggers/Brands: How to go from a One Night Stand to a Long-term Love Affair’.

:: Join us ::

Tuesday, February 24th@ 9:00pm EST as we provide you with the tools, best practices and top strategies to create long-term relationships with brands and sponsors.

Blogalicious eGuide author and PR expert Raynetta Smith of PiperRae PR will not only guide us through her manuscript. She’s digging in… sharing her personal experience – arming you with the know-how in order to leverage your power to attract sponsorship opportunities; know what brands really want from bloggers/businesses and… what you can offer them. If you’re upping your sponsorship engagement game in 2015… this is the webinar training session you can’t miss! So grab your spot, a complimentary eGuide and #DareToEvolve your brand and business today!

 

raynetta Raynetta Smith is the owner of PiperRae PR, a boutique branding,  engagement marketing and public relations agency based in Los Angeles.  Smith honed her blogger relationship skills as a senior account executive at  Burrell Communications in Chicago, where she was instrumental in  securing influencers for McDonaldʼs USA activations. Smith is currently  the communications associate for a Los Angeles based non-profit.

 

 

 

REGISTER HERE!

It’s Impossible to Get Good Love Without Self Love :: Guest Post by @GrownZone
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Are you searching for that great love of a lifetime? Are you waiting for that special someone to “complete” you? Do you feel that something is missing from your life because you are not in a relationship? Here’s a love note from the Grown Zone: Your happiness is not out there with the “right” person or “the one.” It is within you. You are “the one.” To attract healthy love, you must focus on and cultivate your most important relationship: the one you have with yourself.

Here’s the truth: It is not Grown to expect a relationship partner to provide what you are not committed to providing for yourself. The capacity for others to love you can never exceed the love you demonstrate for yourself. Furthermore, you don’t attract what you want in relationships, but what you are. So if you want financial security, tender, loving treatment, and emotional safety in a relationship, you must be committed to requiring that of yourself in single life. On the other hand, if you are desperate and unhappy as a single person, you are neither qualified nor prepared for a healthy relationship and you will attract and choose anything but.

The best way to prepare for enduring, healthy and loving relationships is to focus less on trying to find the “right” person, and invest more into personal growth, in learning to be your best you. When you become the absolute expert on what is good and healthy for you, you train yourself to recognize and attract those who are ready, willing and able to meet that standard of care for you in a relationship.

To be Grown is to be happy, healthy and whole all by yourself. No other person is the key to your happiness; you are the key. Others may only enhance or diminish what you established. Whether single or in a relationship, always live—and love—by an uncompromising standard of self-love.

 
GrownZonecouple  Zara D. Green and Alfred A. Edmond Jr. are business and life partners and the authors of      Loving In The Grown Zone: A No-Nonsense Guide to Making Healthy Decisions in the Quest    for Loving, Romantic Relationships of Honor, Esteem and Respect  (www.LovingInTheGrownZone.com). To learn more about the couple’s Grown Zone initiative, go to www.GrownAdvice.com.

News Broadcasters, Granny and Contests :: Blogalicious Weekly Round Up Edition 2
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Yesterday was a big news day. Reports were circulating on Beyonce’s great or not-so-great performance (depending on who you ask), Bobbi Kristina’s current hospital condition (Send prayers her way!), the under reported #ChapelHillShooting and the over reported Brian Williams and Jon Stewart media news. Both of these men are extremely influential in their field so its fair to say a lot of us were going through a range of emotions. Blogger, Becky Bracken shares her thoughts on Why Brian Williams’ and Jon Stewart’s Exit Matters to News.

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Are you a member of the Blogalicious #bLinkBiz Network yet? Last week we revealed our major announcement: a partnership with TapInfluence platform to expand our brand ambassador programing and bring YOU, our Blogalicious community, more sponsored opps. If you are not already a member of our network click here to sign up. To sweeten the deal, TapInfluence is giving away an all expense paid trip to Blogalicious Weekend 2015 conference or an iPad mini!

There ain’t no love like a Grandmother’s love. Marie Denee shares her heartfelt post: A Grandmother’s Influence. She was taught from an early age that no one can take her education from her.  Check out the family picture shared in the blog post. I could not tell which one of the ladies is the beloved Granny. Amazing genes! #BlackDontCrack.

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We All Grow Summit, the first conference of its kind curated by Ana Flores is officially sold out! The 3 day conference will take place in Los Angeles and Justice Fergie will be speaking. If you’re attending, we’d love to connect! It was announced last week that the 3-day event is SOLD OUT! However, one lucky winner still has a chance to go. Post a photo on Instagram doing something you love. It’s that easy! Winner selected next week.

The Brian Williams’ controversy is disappointing, no lie. For now, we’ll take comfort jamming to his version of Rapper’s Delight.

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