Monday, January 15, 2018

MY ORGANIC EXPERIMENT BEGINS NOW

So I decided to go organic/healthier for the next six month. 

So, I walked into an organic store in  Bowie and I noticed one thing immediately; it was FREEZING in the store. Even the clerks were walking around with big sweaters on. I asked one of the ladies; why is it so cold in here. She said that organic stores keeps the temperatures down slightly lower than regular stores because the food is 'all natural and can spoil much quicker." The weather was the other factor. (DC was in the middle of a brutal cold spell the first week in January)

Undeterred, I wrapped my scarf around my neck and pressed on. I found some amazing finds on meats and bulk rice, oatmeal and spices. 

I didn't buy anything because I wasn't going home until the following day. 

Fast forward to Monday (Jan. 8) and I decided, I am doing it. I'm going to go to Whole Foods.

Yes, the store was cold but I was prepared.  Scarf, hat and gloves ready, I parked in the garage and set off!

AMAZING!

I found what I was looking for but was also given some great tips by the nice man in the meat department. No, not like at your local stores. This was ACTUALLY a meat department. 
 
The guy was back there; waiting for you to tell him what you wanted and then would cut,weigh and package your meat for you. You know like in the 70's. The brown paper wrapping that I was so in love with when watching shows like I Love Lucy and Leave It To Beaver. ( I always wanted to buy my meat like that, go figure)

1. Never buy more food than you will consume in a week. Organic food is best kept in the fridge NOT the freezer.
2. It may be expensive but look at it in these terms. My shopping trip cost me $56.72. On average I spend about $113 every couple of weeks. Broken down; I am actually spending the same amount of money; although making more trips to the store. However, not spending anymore in gas because it is on the way home; so win-win for me.  
3. Organic milk is better for you but remember to SHAKE it before using it. Also it comes in glass bottles so take them back for your refund. Every little bit helps. 
4. It is more expensive but the health benefits are worth it.
5. Most organic/natural food markets will custom cut any meat you would like. 
6. Most eggs come from free range chickens.
7. Most beef is grass fed with no antibodies added.
8. No nitrates are used in organic bacon. 

I wanted pork chops but didn't want the thick cut they offered. The butcher worked with me and I ended up with 4 thin sliced pork chops for the cost of what 2 thick chops would be.  I could immediately taste the difference!

So for the next six months; I am going to be all organic/natural when it comes to my food. I am going to see if this helps with my energy and sleep levels.

Would you go organic knowing that the food is much more expensive but healthier? 

Sometimes we have to make a choice. Convenience or Healthy?

Monday, January 8, 2018

IT'S ALMOST TAX SEASON, ARE YOU READY

Every year I post about tax season.

Every year I get asked the same question.

Do I have to itemize my author expenses?

The real question should be, why AREN'T you itemizing your author expenses?

Whenever you do anything as an author; you should have a small notebook that you keep in your "author bag" and in your car. (You DO have an author bag, don't you)  More on that in a different blog.

So when you bought your own 'stock' of novels; you kept those receipts, right? Write them off

When you drove over 100 miles for that book signing; you took note of your mileage and gas, right?

When you paid for those conferences and workshops; you did keep those confirmations and receipts; right?

When you bought those comfortable shoes; that you ONLY wear for your book signings. Because you don't sit down while you are at an event; except to sign your novel. You did keep that receipt, right?

See, there are  a lot of hidden deductions that you have.

What about that new laptop or desktop that you bought to only do your novels on. How about when you turned that extra bedroom into your writing den, you do know that part of that can be written off.

Now, I am NO TAX EXPERT but I do know that most things that require payment, should be done separate from your daily and household budgeted items. I also know that they can be written off but you need a TAX PROFESSIONAL to do that for you.

So; are you ready for tax season?

If you are not; begin by finding those receipts that you can easily put your hands on. Then after you do that, get yourself a small notebook that you can keep with you at all times. 

You never know WHEN a deduction may happen.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR?

I made it a question because some of you are going to wonder...what is so happy about the new year?

Well, for one; you made it to see another year.

Second, you are an amazing author or soon to be one.

Third, you actually have readers/fans who await your next novel.

There are at least three reasons why it's a happy new year.

Can you think of more? 

I can.

I'm happy that an old year has passed and that I learned some valuable lessons in 2017. I learned that no matter how strong, healthy or independent you think you are; there is always something that will prove you wrong.

I also learned that there is nothing wrong with asking for help.

This year will be great. Not because of anything that I do; but because of everything that I want.

I want health, happiness and contentment for 2018.

What do you want in the new year?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

WHY NOT ME?

Just in time for the holidays?

I have seen all of the commercials for new cars, new laptops, new shoes, coats, hats.

Those commercials for furniture, kitchen appliances and washer/dryer combos.

So why not me?

So just in time for the holiday, take a look at my entry into: 

What to buy for the holidays. 

Christmas Commerical With B. Swangin Webster

Merry Christmas from me to you!

Monday, December 11, 2017

REFLECTING ON THE PAST YEAR

This year has been full of ups and downs. 

It started off so well and then the middle of the year happened and it all seemed to go haywire.

June 6; I will never forget. Its the day I had my first cardiac episode. You know; instead of calling it a heart attack; they (doctors) refer to it as an episode. 

Funny, it's not like an episode of my favorite TV comedy. Nor is it an episode of a docudrama. Instead it was a health 'episode' and for that I got to wear a heart monitor for 45 days. I had to adjust my eating habits AGAIN and I had to take life easy. 

I was smack dab in the middle of trying to get my tiny house money together and then this happens. 

All plans were halted and I became at the mercy of my doctors; nurses and family to help adjust my thinking, my habits and my mental attitude. 

Mind you; I didn't think I was dying but it became a thought. 

I had just turned 51; I wasn't ready to leave this earth. Besides, I had another set of twin grandchildren to wait for and I damn sure was not leaving before meeting them.

So as December continues to roll along; I have taken this opportunity to smile at all of the life lessons that happened in 2017 and can't wait to see what 2018 brings.

Hopefully my tiny house will be delivered by my birthday and I will be able to quit my full time job and just sit in my tiny (yet to be named) and write and enjoy my grand children. Until then, I hope you all are looking back on a year full of lessons and taking the time to enjoy the remaining days of 2017.

Monday, December 4, 2017

END OF THE YEAR...WHAT'S NEXT?

It's the end of the year, so what is next?

Well now is the time that you need to sit down and make a budget for all of the things you want to do, get or get done that involves your writing.

Are you going to transform that extra bedroom into an office for your writing? Well now is the time to get those great deals on all things that you will need. You will need a new desk, a new chair; maybe a computer or a new light. And if you use that office solely for your writing, you can deduct some of that cost on your taxes. But make sure you talk to an LICENSED tax professional about it.

Now, what conference was too expensive this year, that you might want to attend next year? 
Now is the time for you to make plans and a budget to get to that conference. Don't let another year go by that you don't attend a conference. You don't have to go for the weekend or week. Choose one that you can attend for one day. Choose one that you and a couple of your author friends can attend together. Share a room, split the cost. Better yet. Split the cost of a conference. Chose one that is at least two days long. Then decide which day you and your friend will want to attend and co-share the conference. Getting that experience is better than missing it.

Well, what if you don't want to go to a conference or fix up that room. Well you still need marketing materials, right?

Here's your chance to make a budget for those business cards, banners, table scapes, book holders and all things that you will need for your display. 
Don't forget about about things to give away. After all, we all like FREE things, right.

Now, here's the last thing you need: BOOKS. 

Your books to be exact!

You need to order a stock of your books; at least 50 to keep in your car; at work, or anywhere you are traveling. After all, YOU are the BEST salesperson your know.

So, the end of the year is almost here, what are YOU going to do next?

Monday, November 27, 2017

CHRISTMAS TIME AND THE LISTS ARE OUT

Let the countdown begin!

Christmas is less than a month away and I have some great gift ideas. 

Sure, they may be the gifts I want but if you are shopping for an author, feel free to use them as well.

1. Nice Pen- a nice pen to sign those new novels would be a great gift to give; especially if my name was on it.

2. Portable Hard Drive- I have been through the heartbreak of my computer crashing and it is nothing fun. This little beauty could be used to back up those important revisions you are making.

3. Professional Photo Shoot- Let me be clear; it doesn't have to be professional. I just need someone to dress me up, do my makeup and take some great photos of me.

4. Deep Tissue Massage- After all; sitting in a chair all day and writing is hard work. My back is always sore and would keep me motivated. Hint: Massage Envy offers great monthly plans

5. Pretty Journal- That I can travel with. Notes would be so much better if I had a dedicated place to keep them. Plus it would go nice with gift idea #1

6. Carry On Luggage- Now this may seem odd. This is the perfect size to keep my laptop (17 inches), journal, some extra books and all things related to writing. I would use this bag every time I had an appearance to go to. 

7. Wine- After all, I need motivation and for me; my favorite wine, from my favorite winery would do the trick. Hint: Romano Vineyard and Winery is in Brandywine, Maryland. OK; that's more than a hint. 

8. Touchscreen monitor- Yep; I have a desktop and all I want is a touch screen to go with it. That's simple, right?

9. New shoes- C'mon you knew that would be on the list, right? Size 9 with at least a 5 inch heel. Easy Peasy.

and finally

10. How about purchasing some of my novels. Give them as a set or gift them on Kindle! 

So what is on YOUR Christmas list?