Not Sure What to Gift? Flexible Options to Consider

This article has been contributed by freelance writer, Sally Perkins.

Gift giving is often a good way to express your goodwill towards friends and loved ones. However, a lot of people can be difficult to shop for. Around 53% of people receive gifts that they don’t want, based on data by Finder. So on that vein, what should you keep in mind when you’re buying gifts for difficult people?

Consider the Message

Buying a gift can be difficult if you don’t really know the person you’re buying a gift for. When seeking a gift for an acquaintance rather than a friend, it’s important to consider the message you’re inadvertently sending. For example, you should try to avoid giving gifts like food as you may not know what they’re allergic to, says Phoebe Waller of Bustle. Other gifts you should avoid include jewelry, perfume, and exercise equipment as they can imply the wrong thing.

What’s Convenient for You?

Today’s world can be hectic and it can be hard to find time to buy gifts. This is why the advent of the internet is incredibly helpful in this regard. In fact, 75% of Americans purchase their gifts online, based on CNBC’s All-America Economic Survey. So if you’re aiming for something convenient, you may want to take a look at available options like subscription boxes. Not only are they convenient but they come in various categories. Another great thing about subscription boxes is that it’s actually the type of gift that keeps on giving as your loved one will receive a package on a regular basis.

Practical Gifts

When you’re not sure of what gift to get, it’s always good to ground your decision-making in practicality. Choosing a practical gift can reflect both thoughtfulness and attention to what they may need, says Hannah Dylan Pasternak of Self. Some good examples of practical gifts are those that they can use in their homes or in their workplaces like storage or a bottle opener. Practical gifts are good as they are normally functional and useful. So they do not have the potential to be inappropriate and end up inadvertently offensive.

Gift giving can be tough but it doesn’t have to be excruciating. Yes, there will be people that are difficult to shop for but it can be manageable with careful planning. All you have to keep in mind is that the gift that you choose should best represent your thoughts and esteem and you’ll be fine. Always take your time when choosing gifts for difficult people and the task just may end up an enjoyable one.


Starting a Craft Business- What are you Forgetting?

In today’s “two jobs and a sidegig” economy, more and more people are selling handmade goods. Craft fairs, holiday bazaars, and niche festivals are booming, as are online platforms for sellers to get their handmade goods to larger audiences.

Despite the resources that exist, selling your crafts online is still a process that requires  a lot of steps. It’s not like you can just make your product and instantly have money for it. Here are a few details you’ll want to make sure you’ve considered if you’re planning on starting a craft business.


If you’re selling your crafts online, having high-quality images is a must. But taking good pictures of your products can be harder than it sounds. You have to have a decent background, good lighting, and possibly, staging.  If you have small items, it’s possible you can take a close up on a basic background. But if you’re selling large items, you’ll have to set up a staging area where the surroundings complement your product.


When you create an online listing for your products, you’ll have to fill in the size and weight information for shipping to be calculated. If you’re using a platform like Etsy, there are default shipping options available. But depending on the platform you’re using and shipping in your area, you might want to look into what reliable fast delivery services are most affordable in your area.


You’ll need to keep track of your sales to calculate taxes owed at the end of the year, both for income tax purposes and to make sure you’re paying the sales tax required in your state. Online sales historically have been taxed on an honor system by the customer, but those laws are changing in many states, and sellers are being held accountable for collecting sales tax. Be sure to check out the laws in your area to ensure you’re meeting your legal obligations.

Will Bots Create Writers?

With the popular “I made a bot watch 30 hours of random show/content and here is what they wrote” meme, it seems like a long time until bots will be able to replace writers. Bot-content is often stilted and unnatural. But, like any profession, it’s important for writers to consider how technology will shape their future employability.

Already, people wince at paying for writing services. Bloggers often offer their services for free or for exchanges of favors. Editors are asked to comp their services because people don’t value the skill behind the work.

But the truth is, quality writing will never die. Succinct, quality writing will always be necessary to communicate. Companies need quality content to connect with consumers. People need well-written explanations of what they can offer to others. Sure, bots may take on some automated tasks of sending and scheduling outreach, social media posts, and more. But there will always need to be a human writer involved with content creation if humans are the target audience.


Is College Worth It?

I often think about whether college was worth the experience. For one thing, I’m paying off thousands of dollars in student loans. There are also all the health ramifications of college that don’t always get talked about.

That being said, I had a great time in college, and I wouldn’t have met my best friend if I hadn’t gone.  I gained a lot of networking experience and general knowledge. My college degree did help me obtain my current job, though I don’t think the things I learned in college are necessary to perform my job.

I go back and forth. There’s no use regretting what is already done, but I wouldn’t recommend spending money on college unless you have specific goals you want to accomplish that require a degree. I would finish college as quickly and cheaply as possible while still accomplishing those goals.

What are your thoughts? Is college worth it?


Addressing Unexpected Health Concerns

No matter how healthy of a lifestyle you live, it’s likely you will one day experience a major health concern. Human bodies are not meant to last forever, and it is extremely easy for outside forces to cause great damage in a short period of time. This could range from a physical accident to exposure to harmful substances, to mutation of cells in your body. Below are some common and uncommon health concerns that pop up unexpectedly and some tips on how to prevent and address them. Read the rest of this entry

Things to Consider Before Remodeling

Right now, my husband and I are planning this next year’s projects for our home. We need to replace our garage door, which currently our cats can run through because a panel is missing. We need to replace all of our basement windows, as they leak when it rains, and we’re losing a lot of heat through them. We also need to repaint our outside trim and adjust the gutters so that water doesn’t leak down into our foundation.

As we plan these projects, we’re trying to take everything into account so we don’t have to re-do things in 3 years. Below are some things we’ve learned during our research. Read the rest of this entry

Building Your Community

Today’s voting day everyone! I know it can be difficult to find information about your local elections sometimes, but it’s totally worth the effort to know what’s being done in your community and where it fits in the grander scheme of things. My local paper actually had a pretty informative voter’s guide this year, so that made things easier.

Please vote in your local elections! But if you can’t or do choose not to, there are other ways to be involved in improving your community! Here’s an article about doing so through entrepreneurship, particularly for women!

How do you help build up your community? Share in the comments!

Can Solar Energy Really Save You Money?

Ads and campaigns for solar panel companies and alternative energy initiatives boast all the financial benefits of adopting solar energy. Personally, I feel like the financial motivation should be secondary to reducing your carbon footprint and finding clean energy sources for the future, but I also know that these energy methods need to be financially accessible in order to be adopted. I personally have not installed solar panels on my house because I’ve seen conflicting reports about the actual affordability.

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Reclaiming Your Spirituality

This article has been contributed by freelance writer, Sally Perkins.


Spirituality is exactly what it says on the tin; focusing on your own human spirit. Spirituality isn’t necessarily religion, and an increasing amount of Americans describe themselves as spiritual as opposed to religious. So, what is spirituality? How can you ‘gain’ it, what’s it good for? Basically, what is it that these people describing themselves as spiritual and involving themselves in spiritual practices see?

Spirituality And Your Health

Spirituality is an esoteric concept but, really, it only means anything when you consider it as a person, yourself.

One major positive impact that spirituality can have on your life is in relation to your health. Physicians for thousands of years have paired mental wellbeing and spirituality. Western medicine has arguably reduced the emphasis on spirituality and mental well-being ahead of physical ailments, but it’s very important to focus on your mind. Research has shown a link between improved mental health and spirituality and then a further link showing better mental health means better overall treatment.

How To Find Spirituality

Spirituality, at its base, has typically been about interpreting the world around us. Curious children might wonder how on earth plants, rocks, landscapes and animals just came to be – who created them, who designed them. This is often where religion steps in, but in that sense it’s really just an extension of spirituality. 

It follows, then, that a great way to regain your spirituality is to try and connect with nature. There has been a swell of interest for these types of breaks in America, with the Appalachian Trails boasting spiritual pedigree. If you opt for these sorts of trips yourself, just relax in the environment and consider the seen and unseen; view nature as a whole, and consider your part in it.

Developing Spirituality

Going to nature to find spirituality is well and good but most of us aren’t equipped to remain permanently in a rural wilderness. This means that spirituality often takes a back seat as we take up the fast-paced and difficult nature of modern life, with constant interruptions from work, responsibilities and digital distractions.

The way to spirituality in your day-to-day life is through your everyday actions. Slow down, primarily; take note of every action in your day-to-day life, control your emotions as you see fit and spend plenty of time acting introspectively. A lot of these techniques are found in THE concepts advocated for by mindfulness, a helpful spiritual tool.

More people than ever are describing themselves as spiritual, and there has never been a better time with our lives and health often hard-pressed by the responsibilities swirling around us. It’s accessible, easy, and can be cost-free; and can get you a wonderful connection with nature in the process.

Stairs and Home Safety

Two years ago, my husband and I went to San Jose for a couple of days and visited the Winchester Mystery House. The owner of the house, the wife of the founder of Winchester Guns was told that her house was being haunted by the ghosts of people killed by her husband’s guns. She did non-stop construction on the house to appease and confuse the spirits. There are doorways that lead to drop-offs outside, or just open to solid walls. Floors between rooms are at different heights. Everything is very disjointed.

What stuck out to me most though, were the stairs. Sarah Winchester had arthritis and hip problems, so she had very small steps installed so she didn’t have to lift her legs very high. The steps weren’t even an inch apart in distance. Our tour group kept bumping their toes into steps and mismeasuring where the next step would be because they were so unexpected. While most people don’t have these problems in their home, they should still be thinking about stair safety.

Stairs are one of the leading causes of home accidents, particularly for the elderly. Walking safely up and down stairs is something many of us take for granted, but it does take a certain level of coordination and depth perception. Stairs are also one of the recommended areas to check for safety before attempting to sell your home. Below are some measures you can take to make the stairs in your home safer for everyone.

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