It’s Tax Refund Time!

  
It’s everyone’s favorite time of year: Taxes and most importantly, TAX REFUNDS!

For those of you that have already filed, I found a neat infographic showing the direct deposit schedule. Good job to the early birds!

 
Here are some helpful hints for when you’re filing to get the biggest refund that you can get:

#10 Increase Withholding: this is super easy to do and may be painful throughout the year, but is so worth it during refund time! On line 5 of your W-4, mark a zero. This will have the government take out the maximum amount of taxes from your paycheck. You’ll get a greater refund because of this!

#9 Deduct Your Donations: Deductions for charitable donations can offer substantial tax savings, thereby making a large and profitable difference in your refund. All types of donations are eligible as tax deductions to help lower your tax bill.

There are some restrictions, though. One is that the donations must be made to a nonprofit that can prove 501(c)(3) tax status. Most legitimate charities state clearly on their Web sites or in their literature that they’re 501(c)(3) nonprofits, so it’s usually simple to verify.

#8 Deduct Your Professional Expenses: Some jobs require employees to have or use equipment that the employees purchase out of their own pockets. If the company doesn’t reimburse for those expenses, some may be deducted on income taxes to help maximize a tax refund.

#7 Review Your Filing Status: status, such as single, head of household, married filing separately or jointly, and others, can greatly influence the amount of money you receive in your refund. Filing status may change if you divorce or lose a spouse to death, for example, and this may make you eligible for a larger refund.

#6 Don’t Forget Your Family: Taking care of kids (and these days, aging parents) can rack up huge expenses. Did you know many of those expenses are deductible? Fortunately, you can deduct dependent care, or the costs associated with taking care of your dependent children and parents.

#5 Increase Your IRA Contributions: One of the most highly recommended ways to increase your tax refund is to increase your contributions to your retirement fund. Contributing to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) not only facilitates saving for retirement, but placing money into the IRA lowers the total taxable income because it comes off the top. The more you contribute to the IRA, the less of your income is subject to taxes. Generally, the lower your taxable income, the less you’ll owe in taxes, and the less you owe in taxes, the greater the refund.

#4 Make Your Home Even MORE Beneficial: When interest rates are low, many homeowners look at refinancing their homes. Those who refinance at a lower interest rate benefit from lower mortgage payments as well as a lower amount paid over the life of the mortgage. But did you know refinancing could also bump up your tax return?

#3 Pay Attention To Current Tax Laws: Changes in tax laws can bring tax deductions, if you know where to look. A recent law includes new homebuyer credits that basically put thousands of dollars in some home purchasers’ pockets. If you remodel your home and incorporate energy-saving improvements, you can receive credit for this eco-friendly act. You may also gain financial favor from the IRS if you purchase certain hybrid vehicles.

#2 Start Your Own Business: If you’ve ever thought about starting a business in the hours around your regular job, or you’re a stay-at-home-parent with a great idea, starting a home-based business can make a lot of fiscal sense. The equipment you use for your business, and portions of the facilities and utilities, may be deductible. And you’ll (hopefully) be making money, too!

#1 Invest In Tax Planning: Tax planning is one of the best ways to take advantage of all these deductions and get the maximum tax refund possible. Tax planning often starts at the very beginning of the year and takes into account how much money you’ll earn and how different expenses (or extra income) affect the total tax amount that you’ll owe. Planning also helps you evaluate different ways of using your money to buy needed, deductible items or make other tax-reducing investments. A tax-planning professional (or you, if you’re your own best accountant) can play with the numbers in computer software to evaluate what changes you can make to lower the tax bill, therefore upping the refund.

So, here’s to sitting down with a glass of wine, getting these taxes figured out, and (hopefully) getting the best refund that you can!

Xoxo,

Sarah

Sources: money.howstuffworks.com 

 

East Texas Lovin’

I just love East Texas scenery– it’s incredible, and in some parts, untouched. I get a few photos every now and then whenever I take my lunch break and drive around with my husband. It’s just a fantastic view.

  
Just a view from one of the many dirt roads we take in the afternoon. Out off of I-20.

  
More scenery from that same dirt road

  
View from Lakeport, TX at dusk.
Xoxo,

Sarah

Good Words.

Here’s to a Terrific Tuesday— here’s some good words from Pinterest to get you motivated, inspired, or moving today! I usually print these up and tape them to my computer monitor at work, or put them up anywhere I might need some motivational vibes.
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Enjoy!

XOXO,

Sarah

Need Some Positivity?

Just a quick post for this Tuesday morning– here in ETX it’s pretty dreary (raining all morning!). I’m an Imgurian (fan of imgur.com) and I saw these this morning when browsing through user-sub (user-submitted). These are doodles from Emm’s Positivity Blog, you can find more of her doodles and posts by clicking here.

BxQaeP6 6GHJyUb flfHh3v YUjT2jP LLsGBXl bCL15jq PWwRbTS elAaSjZ P0u6VYr 0qP2vFz jAPlde7 OpbpwfO nGzTRK9 41Wp1tR y7NARv2 c5mlVCy IWjGk9z DDm6OVD 1qiepZf UT2lKbQ OHr0i25 f37BrG9 HKbrtRf EpNBwHU vYsu7x0 DjPEWHF ruNXJzv z4FRrld 8UE6kAa JpifGdP 5f6DWjC BbN8FBF ofkUMTq 5ecwqoI ZfnoEvw iSEjujb nHrambf fFerHek ElKnUwF P1FwFeC SazJyBS 4P2eCTb 1Ed5mlc NwOOlkL cwKe9Vm 4iyVNLP PSbQGCE WXXaEG4 9WSTq2A

Have a Terrific Tuesday!

XOXO,

Sarah

Credit: http://positivedoodles.tumblr.com/ /Emm’s Positivity Blog.

10 MORE Free Fonts!

I am OBSESSIVE with downloading as many cute fonts as I can, like, every single day of my life. So, of course, I have to share them and let you know where you can download them for your own use. So, without further ado, here are 10 MORE Free Fonts!

10 more free fonts for blog 8_22

Click on the font name you want to download!

1) PeanutButter Smoothie 

2) Strawberry Fields

3) Serif of Nottingham

4) Scrobbly

5) Sandwich Paper

6) Pea BMad

7) PassingNotes

8) KBDelicateSoul

9) give me some sugar

10) DK Lemon Yellow Sun

Enjoy your fun and FREE fonts!

XOXO,

Sarah

*Quick Note: I did NOT make these fonts, nor do I take credit for the creation of them. I am just sharing these fonts for other people for personal use only. If you’d like to use these fonts commercially, please follow the original author’s instructions on how to purchase and obtain a license to use their font.

Sweet Treats (With a Surprise Twist!)

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!!

If you’re like me, you love a drinky drank on the weekends (like, every hour on the hour?) I also LOVE sweets! So, here is a compiled list of sweet treats you can make with a surprise weekend twist to them!

Brandy/Rum Balls

Total Time: 40 minutes

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Ingredients:

• 1 (5 ounce) can of evaporated milk

• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

• ½ cup Brandy (or Rum)

• 1 (16 ounce) package vanilla wafers, crushed VERY fine

• 2 cups crushed walnuts

• 1 cup confectioners sugar for rolling

DIRECTIONS:

• In the microwave or in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt evaporated milk and chocolate chips, stirring frequently until smooth.

• Remove from heat and stir in the crushed vanilla wafers and brandy until well blended.

• Roll the dough into small balls and roll the balls in chopped walnuts, then in confectioners’ sugar.

Store covered in the refrigerator.

Following this recipe gives you 5 dozen servings.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

This one takes a little bit of time to make…

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Cupcake Ingredients:

• ¹/³ cup coconut rum (or any rum you have on hand)

• ¾ cup coconut milk

• ¼ cup pineapple juice

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

• 1 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar

• 3 large eggs

• 1 cup shredded baker’s coconut (check out my post on how to make homemade baker’s coconut)

• 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting*:

• 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

• ¼ cups unsalted butter, room temperature

• 2 cups powdered sugar

• 3 tbsp coconut cream

Cupcake Instructions:

• In a small bowl, combine rum, coconut milk, pineapple juice, and vanilla. Set aside.

• In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

• In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

• Add eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition.

• Alternately add the flour mixture and the rum mixture, beating well after each addition.

• Fold in the coconut and pineapple.

• Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.

• Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions:

• Mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.

• Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.

• Mix in coconut cream.

• Pipe or spread on cupcakes.

*For the frosting, double the ingredients if you like frosting.

Following this recipe gives you 18 cupcakes.

Cookies & Cream Pudding Shots

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

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Ingredients:

• 1 (4.2 oz) box cookies n’ cream flavor instant pudding

• ¾ cups Milk

• ¼ cups Vodka

• ½ cups White Chocolate Liqueur

• 1 cups whipped topping (Plus more for garnish, if desired)

DIRECTIONS:

• Pour pudding mix and milk into a bowl and stir until well blended.

• Stir in vodka and liqueur.

• Fold in whipped topping.

• Pour into individual serving containers.

• Chill for at least an hour.

• Immediately before serving, garnish with whipped topping and a mini cookie, if desired.

Following this recipe gives you 10 servings.

Bailey’s Fudge!

Total Time: 8 minutes

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Ingredients:

• 0.83 lb. Condensed Milk

• 3 ½ cups of Chocolate Chips

• ¹/³ cups of Baileys Irish Cream

DIRECTIONS:

• Line a 12×6 bar pan or slice pan with baking paper.

• Heat the condensed milk carefully.

• Melt the chocolate in a microwave 30 second bursts, stirring after each burst so it doesn’t burn. Add to the condensed milk and then mix in Baileys.

• Pour into your lined bar pan and set–leave to cool at room temp or if very warm were you live pop into the fridge to set.

Cut into pieces and watch it disappear!

Following this recipe gives you around 50 servings!

Enjoy these sweet treats and let me know how you like them, or if you’d do something different!

XOXO,

Sarah

Decoration Inspiration!

I love western/southern/rustic decor, these are just a few ideas I’ve been looking at to get some inspiration with decorating my house:

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Adorable plate set right!? Love the turquoise stars on the plates with the brown!

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And of course, the plates and silverware go along with the ADORABLE kitchen. Distressed turquoise cabinets with granite countertops– yes please!

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Once again, distressed wood and brown leather with turquoise accents. It just ties the room together so nicely.

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I love this coffee table because it’s repurposed. You can tell it’s older but the wood is polished so it has a new feel to it too.

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Finally– the bedroom. I love bedrooms being carpeted (and carpet ONLY, no hardwood in a bedroom) because it makes them feel so much warmer. The turquoise color on the walls with the different shades of brown complement each other so nicely.

BONUS PIC: 

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I don’t have a child yet, but how PRECIOUS is this!? A tractor bed!? This looks like something that you can DIY–I’ll have to find instructions and share. 🙂

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Sarah

Can My Dog Eat That? Infographics+Mini PSA!

I’m a weirdo, and I love feeding my furbaby human food– she gets SO excited, it’s a real treat for her. I’m always SUPER cautious with what I give her, and sometimes I find myself questioning the foods I give her. It’s important to know what you can give your dog and what makes them sick. I’ve included two different infographics in this blog post (credits given below each infographic) so you can know what’s best for your furbaby too!

Can My Dog Eat That InfographicCredit: Woofs Upon A Walk

Can My Dog Infographic

Credit: Chewie Says

I hope these help you like they have me– I usually post them on the refrigerator or inside the pantry doors. That way, when people want to feed our dogs human food, they know what they can and can’t give our furbabies!

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Sarah

EDIT: Okay, mini Public Service Announcement!

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Not any big brand peanut butters contain Xylitol, but the following brands do:
1)Go Nuts Co.
2)Hanks Protein Plus Peanut Butter
3)Krush Nutrition
4)Nut’s ‘N More
5)P28

Inspirational Posts

Mondays are always hard for me…so I always fall back onto Pinterest to quench my thirst for some motivation and inspiration. Here are some yummy words for you to quench your thirst too.99707340de227e3e130430a9e0974b72 bad4afc7d0e5b68aa7e87b869071237f 4b1e4eccffc4ef907c2c6be059a37217 d7c376dab07d3f124b2a5a0884da51b7 7d4c7ba55d5a24ba9379e3d18733d7dd d898dcf0d65018aaba907dde90c9ded7 0609033bf49ec5c9fbe761b22bf5e661

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Sarah

Just a note: I did NOT say these quotes, nor design the layouts they are printed on. I am just sharing them. I do not take any credit for any of them.