Archive for January, 2008

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Most people in the self-employed world tend to be more conservative about what they deduct in the way of business expenses. (I said most.) It’s good to have someone in the know to share these things and make you feel more comfortable about what you’re doing.

Back in September, Kelly Phillips Erb from Tax Girl wrote a guest post on Problogger.net and offered:

46 Tax Deductions that Bloggers Often Overlook

Figuring out what constitutes income in the blogging world is pretty easy. But what constitutes a proper deduction is another story – and bloggers usually err on the side of not deducting enough (and not the other way around).

Don’t get caught leaving money on the table. Here’s a list of potential deductions that you might have overlooked. Consider:

  1. Monthly Hosting Fees
  2. Annual Domain Costs
  3. Design/Logo Fees…

…Now you have to go here to get the rest of the article and Kelly’s (the Tax Girl’s) disclaimer… and to keep me from being on the wrong end of their ire! Besides, the comments are full of even more useful information and idea sharing!

There are 43 other items on that list so you have to go see it and print it or bookmark it or whatever! These guys don’t need any help from me from a link-love standpoint, but in the interest of my tax-paying, American readers, I’m sending you guys there to see for yourselves!

I thought this was a wonderful post and have been sitting on it since September. It is interesting to note that a lot of these deductible expenses are applicable to just about any line of business, provided they aren’t Blog specific. April 15th is creeping up on us quickly, just like it does every year, so I thought I would do my blog-specific, civic duty. If all else fails, call the IRS and ask them!

Garran, if you’re still there, and anyone else who’s interested, the Tax Girl addresses the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) issue as well.

Or, you can do what I do every year — depend on TurboTax! They will walk you through your return (self-employed or not) and answer questions for you and keep you informed about changes in the Tax Laws that may or may not apply to you!

TurboTax is Easy, Free Edition, Fast Refund

The beauty of taking the TurboTax route is that they hold on to your information from year to year so you can refer back to it while you’re there and as you complete your current-year return. My biggest suggestion… DO NOT FORGET YOUR PASSWORD!

They will keep your return, but not your login information. It’s part of their security. If you forget it, it’s gone. So don’t forget it!

Crime on “My Turf” Makes Me Angry!

So, I get to fuss and fume about it. Yesterday, the Honolulu Advertiser reported that a man reported “being robbed at knife point on Nuuanu.” This supposedly occurred at 1:30 AM. Thinking it was somewhere down near Chinatown (which wouldn’t be that uncommon at that hour), I ignored the story. However, I have it on good authority and from a reliable source, that this is where the caller was sitting in his car when the supposed incident happened…

Soto Mission Parking Lot

According to the man reporting the incident to police, some hoodlum actually tried to cut him with a serrated knife that had a five-inch blade. What?!? So, he takes the guy’s DVD player and rides away on a bike (bicycle) according to the short article. He supposedly had a dark complexion and was wearing jeans and a gray shirt. Well, that’s not very helpful.

These pictures were taken around 6:00 PM or so last night — just before sunset. The parking lot, as you can see, is already deserted except for two, maybe three cars. What was the alleged victim doing there at 1:30 AM, on a Monday morning?!? As far as I’m concerned, I see them both as something to worry about — if the story is genuine!

Soto Mission Parking Lot

I can’t even begin to explain how angry this makes me… on several levels. First of all, this is a quiet area and it is a church’s property, which neighbors another church’s property! Second and most important, just off to the left of this picture is the Soto Academy, i.e. an elementary school! Just off to the right, is Cathedral School! In addition, this parking lot is only about 200 yards or so away from Kawananakoa Middle School. On a personal level, I frequent this area, and sometimes after dark! Albeit, not at 1:30 in the frickin’ morning! Idiots! How dare these people!

This turf belongs to me and my neighbors! This is our home! Creeps! Don’t you be bringing your crime element crap, dangerous-weapon waving and loitering menaces around here! Hit the road, Jack(s)! I’ve been ripped off three+ times and I’m sick of it! Make your headlines elsewhere!

Tax Should Be a 4-Letter Word!

For a lot of people, it certainly evokes several of those four-letter words, or phrases (ahem). It was a painful reminder from one of the news channels last night that the IRS is going to started accepting electronic returns the other day, January 11th to be exact. Isn’t that nice of them? Hmmm… I guess that’s for people who don’t work for an employer or those who work for employers very gifted at getting those W-2’s in the mail before January 31st!

While our taxes are due on April 15th (which will sneak up faster than you think), returns for S corporations are due on March 15th! Yikes! It’s more than likely that a lot of the little businesses we blog about are S corporations. If you’ve had self-employment income, i.e. money made outside of your established employer, on a regular basis, then you’re already aware of those nasty self-employment taxes too! I thought self-employment was supposed to be a good thing. Well, according to what I have been reading, S corporations don’t pay as much of that dreaded self-employment tax.

There’s one designed for us. It’s not cheap but it beats the alternative of seeking legal assistance! Besides, my experience with the State tax office is that they are always willing to help you if you are trying to follow the rules and do things correctly. They appreciate that!

I’ll talk more about taxes, I’m sure, as April 15th gets closer.

Networking with Blogoria

Networking seems to be the buzz word for 2008. I have gotten more links and emails talking about networking recently and the importance of it for bloggers. Since my first experience with the blogosphere was with one of these networking, blog-community places, I’m all for it!

My best experience has been networking with other bloggers both here in Honolulu and all over the world! Blogoria links bloggers together, it helps readers find blogs about topics that interest them and it provides an avenue for businesses and advertisers to find writers with a “voice” they like who is able to assist them.

So, if you want to do a Blogger Search, go for it! If you’re a blogger, sign up! I signed up and it’s another place to link up that is quick and easy! I haven’t finished my profile yet but I will! We can link all of us together eventually. It’ll be just like Honolulu — everybody knows everybody and similar interests can network.

I like the name Blogoria because it sounds so exotic! They’ll give you a nice little badge too with a link to your profile on their site. I like that title. It sounds complicated and intelligent. I’ll talk more about the networks later, I’m sure, but this one was new to me and I wanted to be one of the first to share it!

The Sony Open Continues

Checking back in with the Sony Open, Parker McLachlin moved up the leader board today! His score is currently Par -6. You know what’s scary? I actually understand what I just said. πŸ™‚

Waialae Country Club

Parker “made the cut” but Tadd Fujikawa did not. I don’t exactly understand what Parker made the cut for, but he’s doing nicely and that’s what counts!

PGA Tour Sony Open in Honolulu

I love that my camera is a Sony taking pictures a the Sony Open. So many people are enjoying this event and I am glad that the weather has really been cooperative! I still think that this game would be much more interesting if we were actually participants. I also have a very bad feeling that this is a very expensive hobby or sport! The Sony Open wraps up on Sunday.

Having a Bad Hair Life

Remember “Psssst!” — the hair-care product that you could use when your were pressed for time and your hair was an oily disaster? I don’t remember which company made it or what brand it was. It came in a purple, pink and white spray can, if my memory serves me correctly. Unfortunately, my memory would have to serve me correctly because they don’t sell it anymore and haven’t for a very long time!

I have looked and I have called around many times but, unless you want to use foot powder or baby powder in your hair, you’re stuck. I’m stuck. There have been so many times that I’ve wished I had a bottle of that stuff! It’s one of the downfalls of having straight hair. If I could just get my hands on some of that stuff, I would keep one at home, one at work, one in the car and a small one in my purse!

I did find this…

Spray Powder Shampoo - for Brunette Shades

Spray Powder Shampoo – for Brunette Shades

Salon Grafix Spray Powder Shampoo, with its color match formula, is perfect for cleansing and refreshing your hair between normal shampoos or when you are on the go.
β€’ Easily brushes off
β€’ Leaves hair revitalized
β€’ No white powder
β€’ No oil residue
β€’ Clean and shiny hair

Of course they have them for black, blonde and silver shades too.

I got so excited when I saw this “shampoo!” Then I saw the list of stores that sell their products. It’s a long list of businesses! I scrolled down the page and look who was on the list: Longs Drugs, Safeway, K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Walgreens (you guys do remember we have one of those now too, right?). Five of our stores! We’ve got it made!

I’m calling. So far, I’m batting zero. The only product I’ve been able to find is the Salon Grafix hairspray. What I really want is this dry shampoo! “Well,” I thought, “I’ll just order it online.” No shipping to Alaska and Hawaii. For our readers outside the State of Hawaii, this is one of the costs of living in paradise. It happens a lot more often than you think. Just don’t ask me why.

Hey, I tried. The best part of their online ordering was that it went directly into PayPal! That was another benefit. But, no shipping. I know, you guys can order it and send me some! πŸ™‚

In the mean time, I’ve printed out several copies of the page to take to the participating stores that I frequent to see if they can find a way to bring it in. I’ll keep you guys posted and let you know who steps up to the plate with their customer service! I’m an easy sell for three bottles right off the top!

After working all day and suddenly being told you’re going somewhere, wouldn’t it be nice to quickly look like you just got out of the shower and gotten done with the blow dryer? Or, better yet, to make people think you look that good all the time?!? I know I need all the help I can get! πŸ™‚

My “Baby’s First Birthday!”

Happy Birthday to Homespun Honolulu!

Blue Birthday CakeThis is something that I hope I will be able to do for many years to come. This is just a short note to mark a small milestone for a small corner of the Blogosphere that has become a very important part of my life. It’s been an amazing and challenging year for Homespun Honolulu and me.

The amusing part of that statement is that Homespun Honolulu and I are one and the same. It’s just that Homespun Honolulu is my digital counterpart… my alter ego as it were. Cutting the apron strings with Home Turf Media was indeed very emotionally difficult for me, not to mention yet another learning curve for me to deal with. But, I couldn’t bear to see part of me being auctioned off like fresh fish down on Pier 38. (I’ll talk about our fishing industry later on, I promise.)

There are many people who have provided support, a kind word or two, and story topics for me to talk about. The one person who needs the most gratitude, acknowledgment, appreciation, recognition (what else can I add?) and kudos is my darling husband who has exercised his patience and tolerance over the past year. While he doesn’t really understand a blogger’s passion, he has been as patient as he could be while trying to figure out why I’m such a nut. With that said, I now must wish him Happy Birthday too! Completely by accident, Homespun Honolulu’s first post and my hubby share the same birthday.

Happy Birthday Honey!

Next I want to remember Lakshmi who was the first person to leave me a comment last January! Since then, so many people have left comments and it is those people who add to the flavor and community that has helped to build Homespun Honolulu. You are all very appreciated!

Amy Brown's Believe FairyI have to thank the 2007 Warrior Football Team for not only giving me exciting things to talk about but for reminding me to not only have faith in the Almighty but to believe in myself. Thanks guys!

Mahalo to artist Amy Brown for the perfect picture!

Taking from Peter to Pay Paul

Football Logo

In this case, we’re taking from Jones to pay Frazier! Apparently, while the University has agreed to buy out Herman Frazier’s contract for $312,510, the University is also nailing June Jones for $400,000 for leaving before his contract was up. Some even used the word “defected.” That’s a pretty strong word. Whatever, I have no problem with either end of this monetary circus. Just do it and get it over with.

So, the Jones money will go to pay for the Frazier contract. After that is taken care of, the University will still have a few dollars left over from the whole fiasco! They can use that to pay for… um… soap for the athletes? A new roof for the leaking library? Other repairs/restorations that have been put on hold for who knows how long? How many millions of dollars will be coming from the Sugar Bowl?Β  Whoa da shame dis kine!

I don’t know what the priorities will be, or what the University plans to do first, but whatever it is, just fix it! I’m not trying to be flippant — I’m an alumni and it’s getting embarrassing. How could things have been left in such a state of disrepair for so long?Β  This is not the school that my parents were so proud of and it’s not the same place I went to school.Β  It was old, yes, but it wasn’t dilapidated!Β Β  As the University celebrates its centennial, as much as I hate to say it, it’s a pretty tarnished celebration.

Let’s see, and the State of Hawaii has done what exactly, to help with these much-needed repairs? Nothing? Oh, that’s right, Lingle’s not an alumnus is she? Tsk, tsk, tsk, oh well. Okay, now I’m being flippant, but justifiably so.

I’m glad this has all come to light because, now that we’re aware of it, we can continue to harp on things until they’re taken care of. The public schools are bad enough, but this is truly embarrassing for a college-level, educational facility! I’m certainly not going to tag this article as “sports” because it’s anything but.

Honolulu Welcomes the Sony Open!

Sony Open LogoA few years back, Tiger Woods put golf back on the radar for the non-golfing world. Hawaii has a lot of golfers. We have a lot of beautiful golf courses! It’s now the time of year when the Waialae Country Club on O’ahu welcomes the PGA Tour and the Sony Open! Mahalo to the Sony Corporation of America for the pretty logo!

The purse for this event is a whopping $5.3 million and the winner will take home $936,000! Wow! We do have a player to watch, or at least I think we do. Tadd Fujikawa will be playing and, although he doesn’t live here now, Parker McLachlin is actually from here and graduated in 1997 from Punahou High School.

Parker McLachlin played in 28 events in 2007 and took home purses totaling $627,582. We’re in the wrong profession guys! I think we should start learning how to golf! For all of you young ladies salivating over Parker’s income potential and/or his blue eyes, Parker is very married! You can learn all you want to know about him at his official website.

For those people, like me, who don’t know golf very well, it helps to understand some of the terminology. Some good words to look up might include words like par, bogey, birdie and eagle. It will make it much easier to enjoy the game if you understand what on earth they’re talking about! Wikipedia has a very nice glossary of golf terms!

Players have been here for a few days and they’ve been puttering around out there but the official tournament will run from January 10th thru January 13th, that’s Thursday thru Sunday. I may not watch a lot of it but you can bet I’ll be checking the scoreboard to see how Tadd and Parker are doing, and to try to learn a thing or two about this stuff. πŸ™‚

Missing the Christmas Lights Already

LED lights in 7-11For those whose churches are on the Julian calendar (aka the old calendar), December 25th was actually celebrated on Monday, January 7th. It was nice to walk into the Moiliili 7-11 and still see little Christmas trees still on their counter.

The little trees were actually made out of LED lights. I have been admiring these lights for a long time. Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t even come close to how beautiful those little lights were sitting on the counter! I thanked them for still having them up. They think I’m crazy but, so what else is new?!? πŸ™‚

Those lights are actually safer and more durable than the incandescent lights we’re used to. They also won’t break into sharp pieces of glass when your kitty decides to bite them. I’ve been most impressed by the other safety feature — they don’t get too hot. At least that way they won’t set dry trees on fire so easily!

In spite of the fact that they’re cooler to the touch, they’re still brighter than the kind we’re used to. Here’s a better example of what they really look like. The picture I took doesn’t show that brightness very well but do keep in mind that they were still beautiful, even in a fully lit 7-11 store! Those lights would be cool to line a walkway. Sometimes I wish I had a house just for reasons like this. I wouldn’t pound them with a hammer the way I saw someone doing on television — they’re not cheap — but I wouldn’t worry about driving over them in a driveway either!

Maybe the hallway at home would be an option… so we don’t step on something in the middle of the night. Of course if they’re that durable, it would hurt a lot to step on them in the middle of the night. I spoke too soon… we could get some of the rope light variety with “durable, flexible” plastic covering. I wonder how thick that plastic coating is. Of course if they’re lit, why would I step on them? I like the blue ones! They look so serene and restful. I would like to have that kind of color cast in the room and hallway overnight. They last longer and use less electricity too. I think they would pay for themselves in no time! Cool gift idea for anyone with a house — not only for the holidays but for added safety.