Hey Boston! Free Food on November 4th at VERTS Mediterranean Grill!

verts

If you’re looking for some free food, then you may want to check out a restaurant that’s new to Boston.

VERTS Mediterranean Grill, which is based in Austin, Texas, is expanding north and opening a new location at 95 Summer Street this Friday, November 4th.

I learned about VERTS from reading two blog posts. Boston area food bloggers, Georgina of A Noted Life and Tina of Carrots ‘N’ Cake were both invited to Austin and wrote about their trip and the new Boston location.  The details of the free food are below.

After opening 34 restaurants in Texas, we’ve finally made it up north. And we can’t wait for you to try our fresh, customizable Mediterranean fare.

Our doors open at 95 Summer St. on November 4th and we’ll be giving away free entrées all day: pitas, salads, and bowls. All loaded up to your liking with your choice of protein (beef + lamb, chicken, pork, beef meatballs, falafel), toppings (sumac onions, pickled jalapeños, quinoa tabbouleh, grilled veggies, and feta, among others), and our delicious sauces. Try the tzatziki. Then try to spell it.

Our flavors will transport you to the Mediterranean. Until you look outside and see that it’s snowing. We hear it does that here.

The first 200 people in the door will leave with a bag of VERTS goodies: gift cards, recipes, and swag, so stop by early.

If I get a chance, I may make my way over there and try some food myself. I love Mediterranean food and can always use a free lunch!

*Updated 7/30/2020* It seems that VERTS has closed and may be under different ownership.

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Image: VERTS Mediterranean Grill Facebook Page

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Tax Day: Tax Tips for Bloggers

*This post is not tax or legal advice. See full disclosure below.*

1040 Tax form

It’s Tax Day! At least for those of you not in Maine or Massachusetts. We have until April 19th to file our returns, because of Patriots’ Day today.

Back in 2012 and 2014, I wrote some posts with tax tips for bloggers. Since the subject of blogging income interests me and many readers as well, I thought I’d revisit the topic. There’s always a new crop of bloggers out there!

Generally, if you earn money blogging, that is considered income. You may have accidentally become an entrepreneur by turning your passion project into a job. Or maybe from the beginning, you wanted to earn money by blogging.

The way you think about your blogging work is key, especially when it comes to the IRS. Once you have the intent to make a profit and you treat your blogging like a business, then you may be considered self-employed.

While you may not be earning full-time money that you can live on, it doesn’t matter. You may be considered self-employed even with a part-time business. The threshold for earnings is surprisingly low according to the IRS.

You have to file an income tax return if your net earnings from self-employment were $400 or more. If your net earnings from self-employment were less than $400, you still have to file an income tax return if you meet any other filing requirement …

There are benefits to treating your blogging as work that you are doing for profit versus a hobby. Below is an IRS rule to remember.

In general, taxpayers may deduct ordinary and necessary expenses for conducting a trade or business or for the production of income. Trade or business activities and activities engaged in for the production of income are activities engaged in for profit.

If you are paying to eat at a restaurant, so you blog about your meal and you are earning advertising revenue on your blog, you might be able to deduct the cost of your meal as an ordinary and necessary expense for conducting the business of your blog.

These are just a few things to think about when you earn money from blogging. Below are links to some recent articles that go into more detail. You may find them interesting and helpful as well.

If you already filed for 2015, this post may come to late, but you can always start planning for next year!

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Tax Tips for Bloggers [Intuit Turbo Tax]

Travel Blogger Denied Tax Writeoff For European Backpacking Trip [Forbes]

Tax Time: What Bloggers Need to Know [Katy Widrick]

Business Expenses for Bloggers (What can I deduct?) [Brilliant Business Moms]

Taxes for Food Bloggers: Deductions. [Fervent Foodie]

The Blogger’s Guide to Tax Deductions [Kimi Who?]

Tax Filing Tips for Freelance Bloggers in the US, UK and Canada [Be a Freelance Blogger]

Home Office Tax Deductions for Small Business Owners [NerdWallet]

Favorite tax deductions of personal finance bloggers [PolicyGenius]

Blogging and Taxes – What You Need to Know [Making Sense of Cents]

Tax Tips for Freelancers in 2016 [Artisan Blog]

Blog Tip Thursday: Tax Tips for Bloggers, Part 1 [Healthy Living Blogs]

Blog Top Thursday: Tax Tips for Bloggers, Part 2 [Healthy Living Blogs]

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Disclaimer: While I am a Massachusetts licensed attorney, I’m not in private practice and not seeking clients. This post is not meant as legal or tax advice. Every individual has unique circumstances and questions. While I love comments on this blog and emails, no tax or legal questions will be answered here or via email. Please consult an attorney or accountant licensed in your jurisdiction for specific questions. The information contained in this post is for general informational purposes only and geared toward bloggers in the United States.

Photo: Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Vegan Cattle Ranchers!

Vegan Journal of a Rancher's Wife

Earlier I was watching CBS Sunday Morning and absolutely adored a story about Tommy and Renee Sonnen.

Below is a portion of the  story found on the CBS Evening News website.

What Tommy didn’t know was that Renee had been secretly posting a blog called “Vegan Journal of a Rancher’s Wife.” She attracted thousands of followers. Through those contacts, Renee was able to raise $30,000 — enough for a hostile takeover.

Take a look at the video and learn how Rowdy Girl Vegan Farm Animal Sanctuary came to be.

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Screenshot: CBS Evening News

Flashback Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Ganache

chocolate zucchini cakeI like a nice surprise. Especially, when it involves food. Even better when it’s dessert. And a chocolate dessert at that.

Now I wish that I could say that this actual cake was presented to me as a surprise and I got to eat it. Not quite. But I did get the next best thing. A surprise tweet!

Five years ago on the old blog, I gave away a festival bundt cake after having won a set of three Nordic Ware Bundt pans from Courtney. I didn’t need to keep all three. Edi was the lucky winner.

I hadn’t thought much about the pan since. Out of the blue this week, Edi showed me a picture of the Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Ganache that she baked! Thanks to a comment below by Candelaria, Edi is sharing how she made it, so we can all try.

I’ve made the cake twice and it turned out great both times. I’ve never put nuts in it. The first time had no frosting. I’ve made no other alterations to the recipe.

I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips. I could not find out how many ounces were in the bag, but it’s the typical size bag. I used those leftover after measuring out what I needed to make the ganache frosting.

I only made half the recipe.  I used half and half and a little butter, a little vanilla extract. Enjoy!

So nice to see that the pan has found a happy home and is being used! Now I have been reminded that I haven’t used the pan that I kept!

By the end of this year, this must be remedied! There hasn’t been much baking here and I think it’s time to create some new recipes. Stay tuned!

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Photo Credit: Edi

{You Pick Six} An Interview with Writer + Cheese Maker: Korsha Wilson

Food Writer Korsha WilsonHave you ever met a cheese maker? Well, you’re about to! While, she is now a former cheese maker, it’s still quite a unique skill set to bring to the table, especially as a food writer.

Last summer while eating lunch at a Drive the District food blogger event, I met Korsha Wilson. I was fascinated to learn back then that she made cheese for a living and also writes about food.

Some of her older writings were at The Industry Press, where people in the Boston area restaurant industry shared their stories.

As a writer, her repertoire is constantly expanding. She’s written for Eater, New York Times Food, Civil Eats, Food & Wine and more. Follow her on Twitter to find her latest articles.

Let’s learn a little more about this prolific food writer, as Korsha answers six questions for the third part in the interview series, You Pick Six.

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What is a favorite snack?
I’m obsessed with french fries. I get cravings for them on a very regular basis and am constantly seeking out restaurants and bars that make them well. A good french fry (crispy and salty with great potato flavor) is surprisingly hard to find.

What is a favorite food movie?
Eat Drink Man Woman is one of the most underrated food movies in my opinion. It really captures the the beauty of preparing a meal for loved ones. Ratatouille is one of my all-time favorite movies and I think it does the best job of illustrating food’s ability to create connection. Also, there’s a bad ass female chef as one of the central characters and she has the same name as my mom.

What do you think that most people don’t understand about food?
I think a lot of people in this country feel like their love of food isn’t valid if it isn’t ‘fine dining.’ The proliferation of food media has led to the general public having a lot more food knowledge but it has also led to people feeling like food has to include certain ingredients or be cooked a certain way to be ‘good’. The food world is made up of everything that everyone eats. Period. Food belongs to everyone and everyone has a valid palate. I meet a lot of people who are afraid to tell me what they like to eat or cook because they assume that since I went to culinary school and worked in restaurants that all of the food that I eat is high-end or expensive. If you’re using great ingredients and cooking with care, whatever you’re cooking is going to be delicious and it’s worthy of being talked about.

best meal ever Locanda SpinolaWhat is the best meal you ever had and where was it?
That’s tough. I believe that every restaurant experience or every meal you make at home is different depending on your mood and other factors. My most recent favorite meal was at a small restaurant in Genoa, Italy.

After a day of sightseeing, my boyfriend and I had a drink at a local bar and asked the bartender where to have a good dinner. Instead of just giving us his answer, he asked the rest of the bar patrons and the kitchen staff what they thought and they all agreed that we should go to Locanda Spinola, a new restaurant nearby. Long story short, it was amazing. Homemade pastas, simply prepared fresh seafood and local wine. The service was so hospitable and warm! My boyfriend and I stayed after our dinner (and after the restaurant closed) drinking beer with the staff and talking about restaurants in the U.S. and Italy. It was wonderful.

How did food become an important part of your life?
Food was always an important part of family gatherings. I’m lucky to have grown up with great cooks on both sides of my family and I learned early that food is a way to communicate love. That pushed me to go to culinary school and journalism school, work in restaurants and write about food for a living.

Tell me about what you’re working on now.
I am currently working on lots and lots of freelance writing. Haha. Ultimately, I would like to contribute to a more diverse food media landscape and explore different media projects. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

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Thank you so much for participating Korsha!

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Photos provided by Korsha Wilson.