It’s tax filing season and if you are expecting or just had a new baby, there are some expenses related to your journey to parenthood that you may or may not know about.
The fact of the matter is that babies do in fact change your tax situation and here are a few tax tax deductions and credits available to families this year.
Pregnancy Test Kits. Birth Control Pills. Fertility Enhancement. These count as medical expense deductions. For medical expenses to be deductible, you’ll have to itemize your tax deductions, and your medical expenses must exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income.
Nursing moms can include the cost of breast pumps and supplies in their medical expense deductions. Lactation expenses are also deductible as are laboratory fees that may be a part of your medical care.
The New Arrival
The tax deduction that comes with your new arrival can’t match the joy, but this still should make you happy.
Under the new tax law, the child tax credit has doubled to $2,000 per qualifying child. And, unlike a tax deduction, which reduces the amount of your income subject to tax, a tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar.
Planning for Baby’s Future
The new tax law lets parents save tax-free for their child’s education. Under the law you can use up to $10,000 per child from a 529 plan to pay qualified expenses for elementary and secondary school and home school.
The 529 plans can also be used to pay for college.
Speaking of college, if you want to think that far ahead, two tax credits are available to help with qualified educational expenses. Those credits are the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a credit of up to $2,500 for qualified tuition and expenses for the first four years of college, and the Lifetime Learning Credit, which provides up to $2,000 per return.
I apologize if I’ve gotten too far ahead of you by talking about schooling and college and all those things. I’ll bring it back to the here and now by reminding you that whether your bundle of joy is born on January 1 or December 31 of the year, you can take a full $2,000 child tax credit.
And remember, as your child grows, the tax code is bound to change. You’ll want to make sure you get all the tax deductions to which your family is entitled. The best way to do that is to talk with a tax professional. It’s their job to keep up with the tax code. And, because they do their job, you can do yours, enjoying life with your new addition
These subscription boxes will tear kids away from the devices and nurture a love of books.
This year, many school children got homeschooled or went to school via distance learning and in between, maybe watched TV, played video games or engaged with mobile devices to distract.
Parents who want to make sure their children develop a love and passion for reading and books during this pandemic and beyonc should consider investing in a monthly subscription service or giving one as a gift to a child in their lives who loves to read or who should read more!
The global pandemic is restricting the ability for a lot of us to get outside this year which is frustrating especially to kids who love the great outdoor.
While a book cannot replace outside activity, it can be a way to exercise the brain.
In fact, book subscription businesses are trending.
Here are three that will deliver titles tailored to your child and his or her interests.
ATLAS BOOK CLUB
Maryland attorney and mom of three, Bunmi Emenanjo started a book club in 2017 so she could teach her Nigerian American kids about their culture and people from all around the world.
Emenano said she when she would guest read to children as part of the book club back then, she became intrigued and fascinated by how how responsive the kids were and how much they thirst to learn about cultures different from their own.
That curiousity turned into the Atlas Book Club subcription box business in 2019 for culturally curious kids!
The service delivers more than just books each month. Each box comes with souvenirs, postcards and other knick knacks related to whatever country is being featured that month.
Subscribers get a comprehensive and immersive experience in each box!
Since launching as a business in November 2019, Atlas Book Club has explored 20 countries including South Africa, Guatemala, the Philippines, Nigeria, Haiti, India, Chile and so many more.
Monthly subscriptions are $37.99. A three month goes for $110 and a 6 month about $215, which would make a great gift!
The box, while pricier than the other two in this list, is worth the value for parents, grandparents and caregivers who seek to grow a child who is a world citizen and who is cognizant and aware of the contributions of different people’s to society.
Epic is another parent-founding platfom and is currently the largest digital reading platform. I’ve blogged about this company before which owns a a collection of over 40,000 popular children’s books from over 250 of the top book publishers.
Epic curates collections based on age, topic, and other categories.
Founded by two parents, Epic was born out of a single question: How do we make books more accessible to kids?
Wanting to make books as accessible as games and other digital content, dads Kevin Donahue and Suren Markosian founded Epic in 2013.
Today, Epic has grown into an award-winning subscription service which gives millions of families and classrooms instant, unlimited access to thousands of books, videos and quizzes from leading publishers to help kids everywhere read, learn and grow.
While it is normaly $9.99 for monthly access, you can get an annual subscription for $4.99 now through December 31st if you pay for the full year in advance!
While it is normaly $9.99 for monthly access, you can get an annual subscription for $4.99 now through the end of the year 2020.
A committee of parents carefully curate Lily Post’s monthy subscription boxes. Delivered in a nice box is either a set of 4 hard back books or three picture books.
And with Lily Post’s charitable One Book, One Box donation program, each purchase supports the company’s mission to donate to charities that give the gift of books and literacy to communties and children in need.
Your gift or subscription would have altruistic purposes as well this gift giving season!
If it’s Time to shop for that Foodie on your holiday shopping list, this is the gift guide for you!
Do you have someone on your holiday shopping list who is a connoisseiur of cuisine and who appreciates food of all cultures, the shapes, the textures, the flavor, the plating?
Then, it’s likely that you might have to shop for a foodie.
Foodies enjoy food as an art not just for eating and foodies are usually adventurous when it comes to trying out different dishes, eateries, and restaurants.
This passion also extends to drinks as well.
Shopping for a foodie requires you to be adventurous and seek out the best in kitchenware.
Here is my list of top gifts for Foodies.
WOOD AND MARBLE BEVELED CHEESE BOARD, SMALL, RECTANGLE
Everyone is into charcuterie boards this year. They are usually wooden or porecelin and used to display range of different cured meats, these platters go beyond salami and prosciutto, typically featuring various cheeses, crackers, spreads and produce.
Foodies prefer the freshest of ingredients and can usually tell the difference between taragon, oregano, chive, basil, thyme and other delicate fresh seasoning. It would be a delight to a foodie to get to grow his or her own fresh ingredients even if s/he doesn’t have a large yard.
You know those family recipes tacked on the fridge, in a tin canister on a kitchen ledge, in Aunt Josie’s head? Pen them all down in this one spot, a family cook book that you and the family customize.
Also, foodies are always looking for new dishes to create. Here’s a way for them to organize all the different recipes they discover or wrangle from folks and chefs.
Bring the elegance of Bordeaux to a friend or family member’s doorstop with this special trio. The experts at Wine Insiders have selected three beautiful red blends from one of the world’s premier wine regions, representing the exquisite terroir and craftsmanship that Bordeaux is known for.
Savory and food-friendly, these remarkable reds are perfect for pairing with roasts, lasagna, charcuterie, and delicious holiday dishes. Featuring two award-winning bottles, this impressive collection is sure to impress fans of French reds and makes a thoughtful gift.
Everything Avocado is hot now, and what better way to mash up fresh guacamole or any spice, paste or rub for a dish than with a molcajete?
Among the world’s oldest culinary tools, volcanic rock mortars and pestles like these have been used by great cooks for thousands of years. Williams-Sonoma makes a molcajete (mortar) and tejolete (pestle) that are hand carved from a single piece of basalt rock, so every piece is unique.
In addition to being a great prep tool, the molcajete makes an impressive serving dish for guacamole and other party favorites.
Perfect for crushing whole spices and making spice blends.
Ideal for blending and serving guacamole – or for making pesto and other rustic sauces.
Just because your foodie enjoys carefully prepared meals that take time to whip up does not mean he or she isn’t down with fast-cooked foods.
Your foodie will enjoy the taste and crunch of his or her favorite deep-fried foods by cooking with super-heated air instead of hot cooking oil in the Instant Vortex 6-qt. air fryer. Air fried food is cleaner, healthier, and less expensive than cooking in oil, making this appliance a must-have in every modern kitchen.
The Black and Body Works Annual Sale reminds us of another opportunity to support black-owned candle and bath essentials companies
If you were near a Bath and Body Works this weekend, you might have seen the super long lines with holiday shoppers taking advantage of its amazing annual Holiday sale featuring $10 candles that normally sell for close to $30.
Actually, you might have been in that line.
According to reports, the beauty, skin and body essentials company sold out of its online offerings forcing customers to have to visit the retail stores to get the deal.
Because we are still in the year of the death of George Floyd which triggered a renewed interest in elevating, promoting and recognizing, finally, black-owned businesses, the sold out situation presents an excellent opportuntiy to once again consider candle brands and companies that are among the group of biz owners that are traditionally undercapitalized, under appreciated, under represented.
As such, I compiled a list of over 48 black-owned candle makers for you to consider patronizing this year.
Some of these brands overlap with companies that Harper’s Bazaar, Allure, Cosmo, NY Mag, The Zoe Report, 21 NinetyandEllemagazines put in their profiles of Black-Owned Candle makers this Summer and Early Fall back when it was quite fashionable and en vogue to spotlight Black makers in the US, Canada, the UK and globally.
Let’s keep up the energy.
About the Candle Makers
I did take a cursory review of many of the companies. I only shared an image from their Instagram page for convenience and to quickly put this post together.
However, you can access a link to their websites to purchase and you will see who makes their candles in their homes in small batches, who actually delivers locally, who sells at upcoming craft fairs, virtual and in person, and who delivers beyond their country’s borders.
Some, like the ones featured in the major fashion magazines this past Summer and Fall, have appeared on Oprah’s annual Favorite things list.
More Reasons to Support
And don’t think because they are small that the candles will be expensive. Some start at just $5 and others are luxury priced but worth it.
Also, for people who are mindful of essential oils that can be toxic to burn, and allergies to materials in many candles, quite a few of these brands are careful about using toxic dyes, perfumes and other allergenic materials.
They hand pour.
Here is a compilation of Black-owned candle makers in the US and Canada for you to consider patronizing this year.
They come recommended by some of the 38K members of Arsha Jones’ Build, Brand and Launch Facebook group.
I’ll add more as I discover them and I will update this post with local cities where this makers are currently located.
The companies are listed in random order and not by order of rank and I have reviewed none personally yet but did not want that to stop this list from getting out there especially this weekend.
Tina and Benjamin Gibson also have a 3-year-old daughter who was born from a 24-year-old donated embryo in 2017.
A Tennessee couple once again broke the record for having the longest-frozen embryo to be birthed when they welcomed their daughter Molly this October.
Tina and Ben Gibson used a process called embryo-adoption, which allows hopeful parents to receive donated embryos, they told NBC News on Wednesday. Molly is the couple’s second successful embryo adoption with the National Embryo Donation Center; daughter Emma was born in 2017 from a 24-year-old embryo.
Though it’s not the path she expected when seeking to start a family, Tina Gibson said that being a mother to her two girls is “such a miracle.” The process was a “leap of faith” for her after a struggle with infertility.
“I was so scared to open up my heart to the potential of having a pregnancy,” Tina Gibson said. “I was so scared it wouldn’t work. And then it would just be ripped away from me again.”
She also said that her experience made her more grateful for her children.
The clinic staff is “thrilled” for the Gibsons, National Embryo Donation Center President Dr. Jeffrey Keenan said.
“Embryo adoption is a fantastic option for so many couples,” Kennan said. “It’s an exceptionally successful and very cost-effective option, and it’s sometimes really the only option for couples where the mother can actually experience a pregnancy and the birth of a child.”
Molly’s embryo, which was frozen in 1992, is the oldest known embryo to result in a birth, according to the University of Tennessee Preston Medical Library.
The fact that Molly was born from such an old embryo, frozen with less reliable technology than what’s available now, is a good sign that there might be “no real time limit” on how long frozen embryos remain viable, Keenan said.
This Year, athleisure and loungewear will be big but there are other options to Lululemon
It’s official. With rising cases of the novel coronavirus, a lot of us will not be going anywhere this Winter to stay safe. In fact, everyone may be holed up at home.
The new normal for the season
As a consequence of the ongoing pandemic, a lot of restaurants, entertainment and other activities have been canceled, postponed or suspended. This shift will leave little opportunity for people to dress up. Alternatively, this opens up a market for the leisure wear industry.
Therefore, people will be trading in their club wear for sweats. If you’re considering getting clothing for a significant other, sister, teacher, nanny or sitter, friend or any other woman on your holiday shopping list this year, I’ve got the run down on the top brands in this sector of the fashion industry.
Lululemon isn’t the only game in town
Arguably, Lululemon is the most well known brand of athleisure, yoga and lounge wear but it is quite costly. It has a problematic history but still remains the go-to source.
But there are other options. Here are 9
ADAY adopts a ‘less-is-more’ approach and a design ethos based on seasonless pieces and sustainability to offer everyday, athleisure-inspired clothes that are both performance-driven and stylish.
Every ADAY piece of clothing features novel technical material properties (sweat-wicking, quick-drying, UV- and chlorine-protected and wrinkle-free).
Ivy Park offers high-fashion meets high-tech performance wear by Beyonce. The collection of activewear is effortlessly cool and includes everything from sports bras to leggings, crop and oversized sweatshirts, bodysuits and more. She recently partnered with Adidas on a collection.
The Ivory Lane Collective, or IVL Collective for short, is fastly becoming a leader in women’s athleisure wear. Their activewear collection includes everything from cute leggings to tanks, tees, and jackets.
Nike One of the most successful and recognisable sportswear brands in the world, Nike offers everything from quality shorts and t-shirts to shoes and socks that are both fashionable and functional. The brand also sells a lot of high-quality gym gear for your home..
Under Armour The American sportswear label Under Armour launched in 2016 Under Armour Sportswear (UAS), a premium athleisure range designed by Belgian designer Tim Coppens. UAS fuses high-performance sportswear designs with an elevated sartorial touch. They have really cute and sexy gym clothes on their website.
Adidas is a sportswear powerhouse that combines quality and style to create modern, street-savvy active wear. The active wear brand’s signature three-stripe motif has gained iconic status in popular culture.
A 10 year veteran influential lifestyle, parenting, small biz, beauty and tech blogger, Jay Jay gives you the information, news, deals, steals, inside scoop and knowledge, straight, no chaser! Follow her on social media @JayJayGhatt
Here are all the best beauty and fashion Cyber Monday deals I have my eye on:
Dyson Air Wrap
The Dyson Airwrap Complete styler is engineered for multiple hair types and styles. Featuring Coanda air styling and propelled by the Dyson digital motor, users can curl, wave, smooth and dry with no extreme heat.
Relax into the soothing yet stimulating heat of the Infrared Sauna Blanket V3 from Higher Dose. This premium, non-toxic sauna blanket detoxifies the body, delivers nutrients to muscles, and boosts metabolic rate. Designed for home use or while traveling, it’s constructed with a layer of healing amethyst and tourmaline to deepen the benefits of infrared, a clay layer to generate negative ions, and a charcoal layer to amplify detoxification.
Smallable isn’t having a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale but it’s always a good place to shop to support smaller, rising, fair trade merchants that sell organic, eco-friendly and sustainable baby clothes and furniture and women’s fashion and accessories.
I purchased the Under Armour sports mask for my athelete sons and myself as we all ventured back onto practice and training fields this fall. It hasn’t been a disappointment and keeps us safe and secure. It also looks quite fashionable.
The mask is on sale as part of Under Armour’s Cyber Monday Sale today!
Treat her with a collection of exquisite chocolate from New Hampshire-based L.A. Burdick Chocolatiers Burdick Critters Collection. All the critters are made individually by hand, meaning each is unique and no two are alike. Includes wood box of 16 Chocolate Mice, wood box of 9 Chocolate Snowmen, wood box of 6 Chocolate Pigs, wood box of 9 Chocolate Penguins, and 1/4 lb. Everyday Chocolate Assortment.
Go up in budget with the Epicurious Collection for $350
The performance jogger by Vuori is slim but relaxed fit with a slightly cropped leg, side pockets and a drawstring. Designed with their softest premium stretch fabric, they’re your new go-to. Great for traveling, yoga, training and chilling. It comes in a variety of colors and shades and in sizes XXS to XXL.
If your rich misses is like a lot of women who enjoy fragrant homes, then she will thoroughly enjoy filling her abode in this intoxicating signature scent behind NEST New York’s iconic fragrance which is a blend of pink pomelo grapefruit with watery green notes, lily of the valley and coriander blossom. The Classic Candle is meticulously crafted with a proprietary premium wax formulated to burn cleanly and evenly, while the Reed Diffuser is made with the highest quality oils to release continuous fragrance for 90 days, uninterrupted.
Your receipient will love to lay her head down and protect her crown with a silk pillow covering. It is a brand of silk cases recommended by dermatologists, hairstylists & beauty experts and is made of the highest grade (6A) long fibre mulberry silk, and without the use of dyes.
If you’re seeing this on Cyber Week 2020, get 25% off with the code Cyber at check out.
The eco-conscious beauty buyer is wary of essential oils, chemical perfumes, dyes, fragrants and alcohol that are all horrible for the skin and so she is drawn to lines like Drunk Elephant which has combined sample sizes of all its best sellers into one kit it calls The Littles.
Any dress in any print from Boden could be worn at a variety of events, openings, meetings, formal or informal outings. This Mila Midi Dress with its colorful and attractive stripes would do perfectly!
It’s practically half off down from $198 right now but not sure how long this will last.
The Yeti ramblem with the megslider lid is the perfect gift for a coffee or tea drinker or anyone who loves to sip slowly because it keeps hot drinks very hot and cold drinks super cold for long periods of time. It’s a winner that I’ve personally enjoyed and highly recommend.