Keeping Our Blogs Post Fresh and New

I’m probably not the one who should write this but here it goes anyway.  Knowing and doing are 2 different things.  I tend to lack the time to do what ought to be done but I do KNOW what should be done.  On a blogging trip not too long ago the question arose, “If you died today, how long would your blog still be publishing?”.  Answers varied but mine was about 30 days or so.

 

While I’m not a great planner and I don’t (but should) keep a calendar, I do schedule posts in advance.  Many times one company will send me a shipment of multiple items and I will spread the posts out over 30 days or so and send them the scheduled links and when they will go live.

 

Lately, I’ve been spread thin between Networking Witches and Networking Perks but I try to post recipes with photos at least once a week and may get motivated to do a lot of cooking in a week.  In this case I will time the posts to spread out a bit.  Humanitarian posts at least monthly if not more.  This being said I’m a lifestyle blogger which means almost everything goes.  I don’t dabble much in couponing and deals because that is a whole ‘nother beast of blogging.

 

I’m not well versed in being super green, gluten free, or homeschooling, but there are times that something does spark in my brain and I may post about them.   I admire homeschoolers, their time and dedication.  I’m in awe of those that can repurpose almost anything and are totally green.  While gluten free rules elude me I do enjoy many recipes I’ve found surfing other blogs.  The people who blog about specific subjects on a regular basis are to be commended because it’s not easy and keeping your information fresh and new isn’t easy.  Many times these posts are accompanied by personal photos.  The editing alone can take hours, but the rewards to us readers is great.

 

Adding guests posts can also be advantageous.  I’m not referring to the paid kind.  I’m talking about the blogger helping blogger kind.  So as Spring is blooming think about what you can add to your blog to nourish it and help it grow.

Tackling Tax Season

Our favorite season is upon us: tax season. The W2’s and other miscellaneous tax documents have been mailed and received, now begins the daunting task of preparation and filings. If you are like millions of other Americans, the most uncelebrated day of the year is most likely April 15th. However, we can show you how tackling tax season does not have to be a headache.

What I have done with my tax returns in years past is create a consolidated folder. I have a physical folder on my desk that contains all of my documents that I will need to file my taxes. Ranging from W2 forms to 1099-DIV to student loan interest statements, I compile all these documents into a folder so aptly named TAXES. Then I travel to all the various websites that house the other documents that I need to file my taxes: bank statements, investment statements, Walgreen’s prescription statements, you name it I go hunt and print the document.

Bank statements these days are great depending on who you bank with. I bank with Wells Fargo and they have a spending report that allows me to export every red cent I spent from the year prior into a handy excel spreadsheet the breaks out all of my spending into medical, household, restaurant, the whole nine yards. I am able to use this when I itemize in such an easier fashion.

But if you are also like me and keep every receipt, this is great if you spent cash on some of your itemized deductions. I am a stickler for receipts. Considering I had been audited once in the past I have been sure to keep every single receipt from the dawn of time. Not really, but keeping your documents for at least seven years is the way to go if you claim them on your taxes. Tax filings are much the same as well, I finally just shredded my tax filings from 1997…I swear I am not a hoarder. However a good idea to keep your tax documents in case of an audit or you need to file an amendment to a prior year tax return.

When you actually go to file your taxes some things to keep in mind, especially if you have special circumstances like a blogger, gambler, contest winner and or are self employed. Many of your expenses are tax deductible. We will take a gambler for instance, many gambling winnings are claimed, but I have yet to see the losses claimed. You got it, when you win, you sometimes lose as well. We always claim the income, but are unaware that we can claim the expenses that are attributed to earning (or winning) the income.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most folks file the minimum and do not ask for other ways to save on their taxes and or ask what is tax deductible.

I did a YouTube video some years ago that even covered this topic coupled with the first time home buyers tax credit. This year many of us will be feeling the pain of the Obama Care (Affordable HealthCare Act) tax penalty and or filing. In years past we have claimed everything for our healthcare from the cost of the premium to the prescriptions to the mileage on our vehicles to drive to the physician. Check on the IRS website, TurboTax and or your local tax advisor for more information, but don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Finally, do not stress. Taxes are a way of life. Tax filings are inevitable, just take a deep breath and dive in. Yes they are a pain in the neck. Yes, they can be confusing, but they don’t have to be. In general they are only confusing because we are trying to work at them while our emotions and stresses are heightened. Set aside some quiet time to work on these where you are not rushed and you can apply some thought and patience. Tackling tax season shouldn’t feel like you are wrestling a bear. Take it in stride and know there are plenty of resources available to you to answer any questions you may have.

Success & Failure Could Be Those You Surround Yourself With

 

I started blogging officially in 2009, but had to keep a blog well before that for the virtual world I was working for. My blog started as a place to say and do what I wanted. Through my years of blogging I have made friends and left friends for various reasons. #1 on the list is because I don’t like what they are doing, or how they’re doing it. I’m not talking hair and make up here folks.

Nope, I’m talking finding out that people aren’t following the rules, are merciless to others, are wolves in sheeps clothes etc. If you think that PR doesn’t know who each blogger you’re hanging out with is you couldn’t be more wrong, and you could be judged on THEIR actions. You know the old addage “Birds of a Feather, Flock Together”?

When you’re a blogger and builing your stats PR and sponsors are watching constantly. If you have 5000 Twitter followers you obviously don’t know each of those people. For all you know PR slipped in as an “Egg” that many bloggers discriminate against, just to see what you’re up to and if you’d be a good fit for their product or services.

We don’t have to be perfect, because we’re human and that won’t happen, but we can work to be the best, most honest, and sincere bloggers we can be. When you’re on Facebook and a person asks for help and you leave a snarky comment to the effect of “I had to figure it out myself, I’m not helping anyone”, I guarantee that other bloggers won’t help you when you need it and any PR that is watching is less than impressed.

We work so hard to brand ourselves, build our stats, build our social media, don’t ruin all the good you’re doing by dishing like Cruella. NO! Be that good cheery person you are offline, online as well. We need each other, we are each different, running different types of blogs, and we are not in competition with one another.

Joie

The Importance Of Bloggers Embracing Sweepers

As people, human beings, and bloggers we are imperfect. None of us will ever achieve 100% perfection but we are all taught and know right from wrong in this world. Our work as bloggers not only reflects on us as indiviuals but as bloggers in a whole. While it’s not fair it’s the way it is. It’s the way so many people, tribes, and groups have been judged from the beginning of time.

It’s important that when we work with other bloggers we don’t ruin our values and integrity. It’s important we stay true to ourselves. We can’t always do that because we are not in control of others actions. Unfortunately, I’ve had moments as a blogger that I’ve been involved with people that didn’t make me proud and quickly disassociated myself with them.

Standing up for what you believe in is difficult to say the least, and standing your ground is even tougher, but doing so will make you love yourself more. I’ve seen it time and again in the 6 years I’ve been blogging that a blogger will do wrong, and rally her friends behind her to hassel and destroy others that are trying to rectify the situation or warn others.

As bloggers we find it offensive when we are slighted by pr. When it’s said we receive FREE things, which aren’t free when we’re blogging about them. Blogging is a real job and work to most of us, not a hobby.

While it isn’t right for people to look down upon us, it also isn’t right for us to look down upon the sweepers that bring us our traffic. They enter our reviews and giveaways and MANY use the codes we provide to show that bloggers are bringing clients to the sponsors. They are to be treated with love and care and as people that are helping us prove that blogging is the advertising of the future.

 

Sweepers are people and they deserve our respect, and in respecting them that means hosting honest contests and giveaways, with out bowing to the few who have lost their integrity.  It is up to those of us who want run good and honest blogs to encourage one another.  When blogging or even living remember everyone is entitled to respect and kindness.

There is no sarcasm font

Hurt can cause irreparable effects that reverb. A ripple effect of sorts the way the betrayers can cover an enormous amount of ground, burden our hearts and steal our trust. One thing I have experienced professionally and by working online as a blogger and in social media is the power of hurt, betrayal. Our world has expanded across the globe yet shrunk since we all converse and collaborate online. However with working online and through electronic forms of communication we lose what is most important in our connection, the humanity. Unfortunately in email, posts, instant messages there is no tone, or sarcasm font.

We type out our emails, posts, messages and we can hear our own voices in our head, we can hear the tone. Somehow the tone is not transferred, or sometimes the tone is transferred improperly, in these transmissions. Sadly at the same time we then hit send to our recipient thinking nothing of the sorts.

Online transgressions are not limited to only our electronic correspondence. We have much of our business online as well. As bloggers we deal with people all the time. We put a great amount of faith and trust in people and never think twice about hurt or betrayal. How do we overcome? How do we learn to trust again?

I know my personal dealings ended painfully. Working hard to build a beautiful blog with a devout following for the messages I had to share, heart felt, raw, and real. When I opened myself to making “friends” online I was met with my past slapping me in the face as a way for those to seek revenge, to hurt me for their personal gain. My “friend” burned my contacts with falsities, attempted to burn my income, all in the name of pettiness. An act of high school retaliation because someone got her skirt in a ruffle. The part I played was that I would not play into girlish antics. I backed out tastefully, respectfully, calling the cards indicating my distaste and dissatisfaction for the events, the disrespect and that our relationship was truly not genuine or of a friendship.

This past year an online friend rekindled my trust and faith for the online world. My faith was even more broken as I was “voted off the island,” as my husband refers to my termination from corporate America. Shifting in moments of self pity, self deprecation, anger, rage, hurt. My friend pulled me back to show me a renewed faith and helped me rekindle my love for people once more. She encouraged me to seek my reinvention. Life was bigger than me, my Faith was telling me to believe. Believe that everyone deserved a second chance, delivering forgiveness, redeeming people as a whole instead of condemning them for a single bad egg of the bunch.

My friend showed me that not all two people are the same. Working online could be fulfilling again. I could write to my hearts content. I found my voice. I found my love which was once lost. I found I could continue to love people, empower them as I once did, share in their triumphs and trials, put feelings into words.

I found that I could trust again and work online with strangers, even if I did use some sarcasm font as a defense mechanism. When I came back to work with Joie, she encouraged me to become vulnerable again and lead the charge with other vulnerable bloggers who were just like me. Have you been scorned by people online? People in your “community?” Are you afraid of history repeating itself? Well know you are in good company as we are all in the midst of a great leap of faith to create something wonderful, powerful, moving. If we happen to trust again, give something bigger of ourselves and maybe forge friendships of the same caliber, success monetarily and professionally would just happen to be an afterthought with all we will gain on a personal level.

Stuck On Stupid

 

I am one of those people that must do things in order. I have a list say 1-10, I cannot get to #5 unless I finish #1 and when #1 is being influeced by someone else or some other thing it drives me mad. I can literally freak myself out over this and stop my constructiveness from it. Because of this, I generally have 20 windows (no exaggeration) open at one time. Long ago on my antiquated laptop it once told me I had too many windows open and was shutting down, and it DID!

I have come to recognize that I have this issue, and sometimes am able to move on to #2, but other times not so much. For instance, if I have a giveaway I’m working on and waiting for the sponsor to get back to me it can ruin my day if they don’t check their email.

I’m afraid that if I put that item and project aside I’ll forget it, lose track of it, or even lose it. It’s just the way my mind works. When I think of a project or list I think of it as “How Do You Eat An Elephant?” Answer? “One Bite At A Time Of Course!”

And so I trudge on during the day. Many people don’t think this way and can easily move on from one item to the next and with in their list getting a days worth of work done in mere hours. Today, Mr. Linky has gotten the best of me, and so I’m waiting for him to send me a resonable answer to fix HIS widget. I can code but I do not speak “Geek” and feel he as the provider should fix his original code.

So I moved on to #2 on my list and because of the time difference between here and Israel where the sponsor resides, the clock ticks by.

#3 on my list has got my attention and made me forget 1 and 2. OMG Squirrel! Have you heard the 2Cellos? Me the hardrock fan am hooked forever on these dudes!

I grasped myself and closed Youtube, turned off the CD Player and checked back on #1…..Is this sounding a little like Who’s on First?

 

Joie

Anger and Fear Are Not The Way To Live Your Life – Value Yourself

 

For too many years I’ve lived my life on what if’s. What if this happens and what if that happens. Many times the what if has come to pass but more oft than not it hasn’t. Slowly I have killed everything inside of me because of “What Ifs!” At the begining of last year I decided that was going to STOP and I was going to live for me.

Along the way I’ve made many errors because when you’re a person that simply accepts all that is dished to you and you are suddenly standing up for yourself and what is right, it throws people off. Many no longer want to be your friend. Many don’t understand and take it as hostility, but that isn’t what I wanted. I just wanted people to stop using me and in their own way abusing me. I let them do it so when I called a stop to it many things happend and without my faith in God, I would would be floundering. That isn’t to say I don’t flounder at times, but I have faith and put my future, life, and that of my family in the hands of God.

By putting my foot down I made a lot of things better and a lot of things worse. I made a muck of things with my parents and for that I’m truly sorry. Then of course it involved my siblings. Argh, the pain an anguish is something I can’t explain.

But good things happened too. I found that I have value as human, wife, mother, sister, aunt, and BLOGGER! I work long hours, much too long, and I look to change that, and put myself on a more usual work schedule this year. I want to work on loving the small things in life that I put aside when I started blogging. I need to find myself again, so to speak.

I feel better as a person and blogger doing this. I feel so much better about myself and hope that other bloggers who have fallen in the same rut as me will do the same. Know that you have worth no matter who you are, both in your person and in your work.

Joie19

How Subscription Boxes Are Changing Our Lives

Most of us are moms and if YOU are anything like me, you buy for the family first and then worry about yourself. By the time the bills are paid and the family is taken care of the truth is that there is generally nothing left of the paycheck.

Recently, I’ve been slashing costs and things that we’ve taken for granted way too long. As a woman, wife, and mother I want to look and feel my best and the sudden explosion of subscription boxes are allowing me to take care of myself for a minimal amount of money. My husband has noticed a huge difference in my looks and attitude. While, I have only subscribed to one monthly box, Julep, I have received many for review.

I received one with supplements and yesterday bought those supplements for myself and husband. We saw a differences and we would have never tried them had it not come in box. This shows that sampling can cause buyers. Then we received a snack subscription box. This one contained only healthy snacks. I want to give my family the best snacks possible and this box gave me many ideas and snacks to look for in the store. Even more? They gave me coupons for future purchases.
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For a minimal amount of money we can subscribe to a subscription box that will help restore our beauty supplies, give us food & snack ideas, help us move to being greener and so much more. There are even clothing subscription boxes. The trick is finding the box that is perfect for you and stocking up on items you and your family need. Possibly canceling and signing up for another subscription that will suit your needs.

These boxes have changed the we’re living and entitling us to treasures we wouldn’t normally have access to. The moral of this story is……As bloggers, this is the wave of the future and we need to cater to these companies. We need to find angels that will appeal to our audience and stay on topic of the future.

Sign Up For The Monthly Eat In Challenge

We are so glad you are here and are ready to make huge changes in your life and the lives of others. Networking Perks is excited to host our monthly #EatInChallenge where we challenge families and bloggers alike to step up to create more time with family. What better way than through dinner time, where we disconnect from the traffic and busyness of the day to gather as a family and enjoy one another through a great meal and great company.

Each month we will host a blog hop and giveaway for you to post your amazing recipes to share for others to come visit your amazing blog. Additionally we will help you grow your blog and social media following. Our goal is to create a powerful and amazing group of women and bloggers through enrichment and collaboration. Work is hard, but we don’t want to make this any harder for you.

Here is how the Eat In Challenge works: Each blogger will provide their own recipe for a meal (any meal) or dessert along with their own, original photo. After you sign up we will supply you with the post details, linky for the hop and HTML for the giveaway. This is a FREE Event with a single Twitter link. If you would like additional links included in the giveaway and event, they are available for a fee (purchase).

Are you ready to take on the challenge?

Are you ready to make big changes to your social media following and blog in 2015?

Well then take the plunge and sign up here: http://bit.ly/1uM3usA

 

Basic Info:

Event: ‪#‎EatInChallenge‬ Giveaway Hop – February
Prize: (3) Copies of What The Fork Are You Eating: An Action Plan for Your Pantry and Plate
Dates: 02/01/15 to 02/28/15
Sponsor: Networking Perks
Host: Networking Perks
Open: USA
FREE Link: Twitter & extra links available for purchase
Sign Up: http://bit.ly/1uM3usA
Requirements:
May contain an affiliate “nofollow” link.
You must post your own recipe and include an original photo in your post and on our linky.
You must post the html provided to you that will include the giveaway and Linky.
You must promote this event at least 3x a week.
If you have any questions please let us know. Use the sign up form to join. No payment is required unless you choose to add other links. We are currently wrapping up the January Eat In Challenge.

 

Women in the Business of Blogging

Women in business make me giggle quietly to myself. Cackle actually. They are like a super power of vaginal geniuses converging together in a coup to overthrow the world of men. Not really, but in the corporate world this is how women band collectively. Women have a respect for each other that they will not undercut the other in an effort to get ahead, rather they recognize their areas of opportunity and surround themselves with powerhouses that help make up for the shortcomings. A marriage of harmony, using each others strengths, instead of exploiting their weaknesses,for the same end goal.

My mind is boggled how in the online world, social media, blogging, women can act like the ants of the world, assholes. Attempting to dominate one another, tearing one another down behind the others back, all in an effort to climb the imaginary ladder of success. What is the need? Why do women lash out to one another in such a vindictive way?

I see these actions as putting feminism back by years. More so it puts blogging as a business back years.

Day after day I see women preaching how their blog is their profession but they do not treat what they do as their line of work. An entitlement of sorts to receive payment for the work they put into their blog, but they make no effort to put work into relationships that further business. You see business was not built just on the product alone, business was and is built on relationships. Relationships like everything else require the same passion we put into our work, no matter how awful the task.

Eating crow, massaging and stroking where needed, is just how to be successful.Back stabbing, whining, complaining, and creating a path of destruction in the wake is not a way to be successful.

Bloggers have a tendency to react the opposite due to the 24hour news cycle with information constantly flowing on and through the internet. Getting their panties in a bind they immediately turn to their social networks and bashing ensues. Suddenly these women and bloggers forget that the other person is just that, a person, completely human and subject to error. Granted, some women do not have the emotional maturity to keep their inner bitch at bay, but even pretending goes a long way to keeping the peace, furthering your career.

I found in the corporate arena that no matter what position or title you hold there is a certain level of expectation for how you act, react, behave and your tone. Sometimes that requires playing nice when you don’t want to and or sucking up to a situation that is just foul. My most successful mentors knew how to play this game well and had a tremendous amount of influence. They were successful because they never had anything bad to say about anyone (even though they would want to throat punch some of these people). These ladies surrounded themselves with people (men and women alike) who had strengths that offset their weaknesses and they communicated patiently and calmly. Rather than flying off the handle at the impossible, they would ponder the information and review all the various sides in order to understand the situation.

Conflict is going to happen. Conflict is evident. How we deal with that conflict says more about our character and professionalism than page views, page rank or Alexa data. Women do not have to be best friends, but they must have a certain level of respect and professional candor to be taken seriously. Consider how asinine men would look if they acted as foul and obnoxious as women do to each other; they have a conflict, speak their peace, tell the other party to piss off and the next day it’s as if the event never took place. End of story.

One of the toughest pieces of advice I can ever share is to swallow your envy, jealousy and pride. Stop trying to be like the other person. Stop vying for what they have and go after it yourself, but do it with honesty, integrity and class. Stop being so proud that you cannot ask or share help. A favorite comment made to me as a 19 year old girl in management was this, “I want you to have my job, take my job. I want to teach you everything I know and then some. Your success means my success.” My boss told me that two decades ago and it stuck with me. I busted my ass, made friendships, acquaintances, and networked before social media. I learned to work with people in difficult situations. I learned to accept that everyone is not like me and I am not like them. Each of my experiences taught me how to be better, I took a nugget away if the relationship was irreparable and recognized any immaturity on behalf of either party. That is emotional maturity and professionalism to admit and accept fault, especially when working with women.

Even though you continue to get business this may not mean that you are seen as a pro, as in professional, but more of pro as in prostitute. Your services are being acquired and paid for, but no one really wants to admit they work with you, just that you are a means to an end. The single most valuable piece of advice of being a woman in business is to always be humble. Always. Humility is the key to success. Just when you think you are too big, you probably are and soon you will be reminded how big your ego is and how little humility you have left. Your lack of humility could also lead to a lack of a paycheck and lack of professional respect by your peers. So consider your comment next time on Facebook, email, a blog that anytime you bash a peer (especially a woman), you bash the entire community and end up isolating yourself. Food for thought.