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Editorâ€™s Note Our story began in October of 2011 with my idea and a couple of friends to help me execute it. Since that fall, our community has seen amazing growth and support for us and our bloggers. Blog Trends has become a go-to resource for bloggers to learn and connect with one another. We strive to create a place designed on inspiration along with a platform to showcase your voice and continue education in the blogosphere. Blog Trends is part of an ongoing journey to connect you in the areas that you love. Whether your main focus is fashion, beauty, interior design, family, or general lifestyle, you will find something inspiring and informative inside of every issue. Our goal is to help showcase some of the stars in our community and share the tips, techniques, and ideas that everyone brings to our #BlogTrends Twitter chat each week. We are incredibly excited to be able to continue to grow and find new avenues to reach out to our current members and find new ones on the journey!
Kaitlyn Pierce Founder and Editor, blog+trends magazine @DigitalKaitlyn
Contributors Thank you to everyone who made this inaugural issue of blog+trends magazine possible! To be a part of our next issue drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jessica Dowling beautygnome.blogspot.com Vahni Georgoulakos gritandglamour.com Jasmine Holzenthal sequincrush.com Nicole Kanner allheartpr.com Lindsay Lee blackandblondeone.com Kelly Murphy teegazette.com
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Tax Deductions and Blogging— What You Need to Know
Grow your Blog’s Reach by Tapping Local Readers
Designer Profile: Firas Yousif
Boston Fashion Week 2012 #blogtrends user spotlight
Bring Your Fashion Sense Home
Distressed Metallic Manicure
Tax Deductions and Blogging— What You Need to Know @Vahni Georgoulakos
For many years, I’ve worked full-time in web content development and management, but I’ve always run a freelance writing business on the side—an article here, some web copy there—and of course, blogging about fashion on Grit & Glamour, and occasionally on other sites. Since blogging yields some taxable income for me, it is a business, albeit a tiny one that I’d love to grow. Writing for G&G and other sites makes me happy, keeps me creative, and because it’s a small business, enables me to deduct expenses related to it. You may not be aware of this, but if you generate income from a blog, you may be able to take tax deductions for expenses related to your blog endeavors. Please note, however, that I am not an accountant or a tax advisor, and you should consult yours for tax advice.
Which Tax Deductions Can I Take? You’d be surprised how many deductions are possible, especially if you’re blogging as a business. The following list is an excerpt of 46 Tax Deductions that Bloggers Often Overlook, by Darren Rowse1: ++ Monthly hosting fees ++ Annual domain costs ++ Design/logo Fees ++ Internet access fees—this clearly includes DSL and dial-up, but don’t forget charges that you might pay away from your home or office such as wi-fi charges in Internet cafes ++ Paid blogging platform charges (such as Typepad monthly charges or “add ons” through WordPress) ++ Design or word processing software— this includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Word and similar programs for business use ++ Computers ++ Keyboards, mice and other periphery
++ Web cameras ++ Digital cameras and memory cards ++ Blackberry, Treo, iPhone charges ++ Business cards ++ Web advertising— text and banner ads ++ Prizes for giveaways and contests ++ Transportation—this includes mileage for car transportation, train and bus fare for public transit, cab fare, airline tickets ++ Dining while away on business ++ Hotel charges for overnight conventions and business travel ++ Professional advice (from lawyers, accountants and tax preparers) ++ Office supplies—pens, folders and postits can add up! ++ Books, magazines and subscriptions ++ Professional affiliation and membership dues ++ Conference fees—such as for BlogHer and BlogExpo
If you’re considered a “hobby” blogger you can only deduct expenses equivalent to the amount of income your blog generates— so if you billed $100 a month for an ad, you can only deduct $1,200 in expenses for that tax year.
Source: 46 Tax Deductions that Bloggers Often Overlook, http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/09/28/46-tax-deductions-that-bloggers-often-overlook/
Tips for Taking Tax Deductions 1. Talk to a pro. I’m no accountant—but I have a very, very good one who has saved me a lot of money by advising on what I can itemize as a blog-related deduction, and what I can’t. I also prefer to pay her to prepare my taxes (I’m a writer…are you kidding me? I’m hopeless at math). It’s a worthy expense—and also 100% deductible on next year’s return. 2. Set up an accordion file to hold tax paperwork. Since you need to retain documentation for the entire year, you may have a lot of paperwork. You need somewhere to store everything from receipts to mileage documentation. 3. Save your receipts. For everything. To take deductions, you need proof of your expenses, and a way for an accountant to tally it all up. That means you need to save receipts from Target showing your fashion magazine purchases, receipts from
photo: Kaitlyn Pierce
your blog hosting service and Internet service provider, and travel expenses for conferences. Save everything. Your accountant can advise you about what is deductible and what isn’t.
can actually manage this retroactively by putting your starting address and ending address in Google directions—it will give you total mileage. Print the route, and remember to double if it’s round trip.
4. Show proof of income. More paperwork for your accountant. Check stubs, Paypal receipts, emails— whatever you have that shows that you made money also needs to be submitted at tax time. Remember that if you’re not making some money and eventually turning a real profit, you’ll be considered a “hobby” blogger. That means you can only deduct expenses equivalent to the amount of income your blog generates— so if you billed $100 a month for an ad, you can only deduct $1,200 in expenses for that tax year.
6. Print a tax deductions checklist. Google and you will find handy checklists that detail what you should remember to deduct. I like to refer to a checklist periodically so I remember what paperwork I need to put aside as the year progresses. There are so many possible deductions, and seeing the list jogs my memory.
5. Keep track of your mileage. If you’ve driven anywhere to cover an event, promote yourself, or do research for something you’re covering on your blog, you can deduct your mileage. You
7. Prepare for tax time the entire year. Don’t wait until April (U.S.-based bloggers) to start tracking down receipts. If you just paperclip them together by category (e.g., equipment, subscriptions, office supplies) as you go along, then they’re practically ready to go when it’s time to file. Nothing worse than spending entire weekends pulling your house apart and hair out trying to make that April 15 deadline. #
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Grow your Blog’s Reach by Tapping Local Readers @Kaitlyn Pierce
As bloggers, we are all on a quest to share our stories and style with the world, as well as grow our readership. Many of us spend lots of time networking (which is always beneficial) and connecting with other bloggers, but we should take a minute to stop and think about who we really want reading our blogs. Naturally, we want everyone to read the posts we lovingly craft each week. But sometimes, to reach a broader audience, focusing on growing a local readership of people that is not just bloggers can be beneficial. Think about traditional print magazines. Most people who read magazines are not other magazine publishers. They are people who are simply interested in reading about the particular topics covered, or they find the information valuable because it is local and accessible. As a blogger, you are presenting yourself as the expert in your opinions, and you can offer a lot of value to anyone interested in style or beauty in your home town. Instead of covering big box stores and brands well-known in New York or some other major city, focus on stores, products, or services that are exciting and accessible to you and your local readers. If you do highlight a major store or brand, give it a local spin with details about the store in your region.
Once you’ve grown a following within your own community, you may find that you have more opportunities to get paying advertisers through local businesses that also want to reach the audience you have built. Here are some ways to get started.
Get Out & Network Take some time to find some local events. Introduce yourself as a local fashion/beauty/lifestyle blogger and consider interviewing store owners or simply offering a business card to them. By discovering the people in your region that have the same goals of expanding interest in fashion, beauty, or whatever your niche may be, you can work together to host events and collaborate on ideas.
Meet the Press Do some research and build yourself a press list of contacts from local newspapers, magazines, and online publications. Send personalized emails to these people introducing yourself and ask if it is OK to send along press releases to them. This helps establish a relationship and prevents them from feeling spammed by anything you might send them.
Host an Event Once you’ve spent some time networking with local business owners, consider teaming up with them to host an event. If you’re a fashion or beauty blogger, work with some local boutiques to put together a fashion show. This gives you the opportunity to promote aspiring models, makeup artists, hair stylists, and local boutiques—all while giving you something fabulous to blog about! The more effort you put into the event the more visible your blog name will become as a sponsor. If you are more of a food or home decor blogger, consider partnering with a local cafe or home goods store to come up with event ideas like a charity fundraiser, for example. By tapping into your local audience you will not only gain some great new readers and possible sponsors but a whole lot of new friends along the way! #
Also put together a short press release that highlights your blog as a resource for your community. In the email with the press release, be sure to let them know you are available for interviews, to answer questions, and that you can also provide photos. Chances are one or more of them will be happy to write a short piece about you.
Focus on stores, products, or services that are exciting and accessible to you and your local readers.
Designer Profile: Firas Yousif // Firas Yousif Originals @Kelly Murphy
As the dog days of summer
wind down and the season changes, this reminds me of brides-to-be planning their fall weddings. That being said, this truly made my decision an easy one when it came time for me to pick a local fashion designer to profile for this article. Without pause, I chose Firas Yousif, a local couture fashion designer and owner of Firas Yousif Originals, who specializes in bridal, evening and what he calls “flirty” wear. If you’re looking for something new and cutting edge to wear to an event, a night out on the town, or your own wedding, you may want to make note of this article for future use. My guess is that you’ll never need to look any further because Firas Yousif Originals may just be the couture showroom for you! In fact, Firas has you covered for an entire weekend wedding: from a piece for your rehearsal dinner, your wedding gown, and a stylish flirty piece for a wedding brunch the next morning. Pulling his inspiration from architecture, history and the natural beauty of New England, Firas Yousif is creating one-of-a-kind pieces designed to compliment a woman’s body, from his new showroom on the first block of Newbury Street in the Back Bay. In addition to seeing Firas’ creations in his showroom, keep an eye out for his designs to be featured in The TENT at this year's Boston Fashion Week, taking place over a span of ten days from September 27th – October 6th. Act fast, as you can only find The TENT at Boston Fashion Week from September 27th–30th. Make sure you are in attendance and you just might see something new come out of Firas Yousif Originals.
photo courtesy of Firas Yousif
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Firas and asked him a few questions, getting a bit more insight into what he’s all about and what his design business is all about. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it. KM: Hello Firas, for those who may not be familiar with you, please tell us who you are and what you do. FY: Firas Yousif, owner of Firas Yousif Orignals--a newly opened couture bridal and evening wear showroom at 35 Newbury Street near the Taj Hotel. KM: You're located on Newbury Street in the Back Bay, what can people expect when they step into your shop? FY: All one-of-a-kind custom creations in a beautiful and welcoming contemporary setting overlooking the most fashionable block of Newbury Street--the first block. KM: Your aesthetic is inspired by New England architecture, history and the natural beauty of the area - which is your favorite historical period?
KM: You specialize in Bridal Couture, Evening Couture and now "Flirty" Couture —which do you find to be the most exciting to design? FY: I love all of them, but I have a special place in my heart for Bridal and Evening wear. KM: What are some other concepts that interest you? FY: I would like to explore a collection inspired by "Geometry." KM: That being said, what concepts would you like to see disappear? FY: I think too many designs have exposed mid-riffs; not a good look unless a woman is a fitness model. KM: What can we expect from you this year in The Tent during Boston Fashion Week? Do you have anything special up your sleeves? FY: Hopefully a really great show filled with intricate designs that the women in the audience can relate to and want to wear.
FY: I love it all, but am greatly inspired by the styles of Hollywood glamour of the 40's and 50's.
KM: Does Fashion Week make you nervous at this point, or are you cool as a cucumber when it comes to events like this?
KM: What qualities do you possess as a fashion designer?
FY: Part of the thrill of showcasing my latest collection is very nerve-wracking, but at the same time very exciting. I can't wait.
FY: A keen sense of detail & an understanding of the best silhouettes to compliment a woman's body--and constantly reaching to create new designs that have not been done yet. KM: What were the first steps you took in the world of fashion design? FY: Learning how to translate design ideas in my head into couture designs that confident women would want to wear.
KM: You've recently launched a new website, which looks great by the way, how much of your vision and style went into the making of this new website? FY: My vision and style is just who I am. My new website was not that different from designing one of my couture pieces.
KM: What can we expect from you for the rest of 2012 and into 2013? FY: Something classic with a new twist & hopefully head turning. KM: What do you want people to know about you that they may not know already? FY: I was born in Baghdad, Iraq, raised in Kuwait until the age of 13 when my family moved to the Philadelphia area. I moved to Boston 13 years ago. I have a bachelor's degree in BioScience and BioTechnology as well as an MBA from Boston College. KM: Lastly, do you have any advice for up and coming fashion designers? FY: Stay true to yourself—be authentic. Some great advice from Firas, which I think we all can take to heart in all aspects of our life. I would like to personally thank Firas for this great opportunity to get to know him better, and for the time that he spent answering my questions. Next time I’m on Newbury Street, I will be sure to drop in and see what you’ve got in the showroom! #
Looking for some great new couture designs to wear this season? Head on over to 35 Newbury Street in the Back Bay and pay a visit to the showroom of Firas Yousif. I am certain that he will take great care of you! Keep up to date on everything to do with Firas and his designs online! f FirasYousifOriginals
Stay true to yourself–be authentic. -Firas Yousif
Bring Your Fashion Sense Home @Jasmine Holzenthal
COLOR: Color block your room. Color blocking and mixing bold colors is a major trend right now in the world of fashion. This trend translates very well in home decor. For my office, I chose three colors I really love together (mint green, citron yellow, and poppy red); I painted some old frames turned cork boards and shelves for the main wall in the room.
photos: Jasmine Holzenthal
REPURPOSE: Turn something old into a new and exciting piece that shows your style. I love thrifting and reinventing items to make them new again. Both this dresser and these pants were thrifted. The dresser got a paint job including a stenciled on pattern and some mixed vintage hardware. The pants were part of a not so stylish 2 piece suit that just needed a quick cuff and some fun accessories.
TEXTURE: Mix textures to create visual interest in an outfit as well as in your home. An all neutral outfit or space does not have to be boring. I like to mix neutrals in my outfits with different textures or finishes, such as leather, lace, and metallic, then add colorful accessories. The same goes for a space in your home. I have neutral silk, lace, and fur in my accessory nook, and, well, the accessories do the rest. #
Distressed Metallic Manicure @Jessica Dowling
Metallics and nail art are two trends that are here to stay this fall! If you want a fun and funky nail art look that’s fast and easy, this manicure is for you. The "grunge" manicure is simple: layer different colors atop one another, then remove some of the polish with acetone, letting the first layers show through. In this version, we'll start with metallic gold and top it with black. After removing some of the black polish, streaks of gold will shine through for an edgy, on-trend manicure.
What you will need: ++ Metallic nail polish (we used Color Club Disco Nap) ++ Black nail polish (we used Wet n' Wild Black Creme) ++ Base and topcoats ++ Acetone ++ Cotton swabs ++ A small bowl or dish
Start off by applying 2 coats of metallic polish to nails that have been base coated. Let dry. Apply one coat of clear topcoat to the metallic. This will help protect the metallic layer from the acetone. Let dry. Paint over all your nails with a coat of black nail polish, completely covering the metallic polish. Try to use a black polish that provides complete coverage with one coat, to minimize the amount of coats you need—Wet n' Wild Black Creme works great. Let this coat dry completely before proceeding to the next step, or the polish will smudge instead of coming off smoothly. Once the previous layers are dry, pour a bit of your acetone into the dish and dip a cotton swab in. Run the swab along the edge of the dish to remove any excess. The swab should be wet but not dripping. Using a light touch, rub the swab on each nail to remove bits of the topmost layer of black polish. Don't rub too hard, or you'll remove the gold as well. You can remove as much or as little of the black as you like to achieve the desired look. You may need to switch cotton swabs several times to do all of your nails. Once you've gotten a look you like, seal it all up with a coat of quick dry clear topcoat and you're done! #
photos: Jessica Dowling
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Boston Fashion Week, September 2012 @Lindsay Lee
New York better watch out!
There's more than one fashion week in New England to put on your calendar! Boston Fashion Week, which will be held September 27th– October 6th, is pulling out all the stops this year for a full ten days of fashion celebration.
With a long list of activities, founder Jay Calderin has created an event that truly rivals its big city neighbor. From September 27th to 30th, The TENT will be open to feature 12 new designers. From October 1st to 3rd, the remainder of the shows will be held at Center Square in Copley Place. The Copley Catwalk will feature two shows per night, as well as presentations by high-end retailers and local fashion design schools.
photo: Nicole Kanner
The newest and most exciting feature this year is The MART at the new Revere Hotel. It will be a connecting point for buyers and designers to discuss the new season line-up and truly spur retail activity. So, let's get to the best part: the fashion! This year will feature collections ranging from swimwear to couture bridalwear, as well as events held in conjunction with local retailers.
The TENT Shows by designers Luke Aaron, Karina Bresnahan Swimwear, Mark Cordell, Victoria Dominquez-Bagu, Daniel Faucher, Grace Kim, Sam Mendoza, Emily Muller, Avni Trivedi, Candace Wu, and Firas Yousif Originals.
The LAUNCH Tatiana Cuevo, Danielle Fernandes, Achk Kombana, Rei Hyun Lee, and Jennifer Miller—all new fashion graduates—will present their latest collections to Boston's leaders in fashion and business.
The TRAIL Special deals offered by restaurants, retailers, hotels, and spas. The Trail will last for the entire duration of Boston Fashion Week. With all of these activities going on, I think you can agree that “Boston Fashion is Smart!” #
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This outfit highlights my love of polka dots! Georgette blog: grownandcurvywoman.com #bt Profile: grownandcurvywoman
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