Quincy’s Bike-Sharing Survivor Game

Competition between bike-sharing companies is heating up in Quincy. Back in late May, early June, I first started seeing beautiful bright yellow Ofo bikes popping up everywhere.

Soon after, I downloaded the app and looked forward to trying it out. A free week was even offered. I proceeded to never try it. Finding the bikes was very random and the timing never worked out.

Recently, I started noticing pretty lime green and yellow bikes around the city. Then I received an email from Ofo stating that they were leaving Quincy. That was quick!

An article on Quartz, states that Ofo, which is based in China, laid off many employees in North America and is dramatically scaling back its US operation.

Ofo told team members on a call today that it is “going into sleep mode” in North America. Chris Taylor, a former Uber employee hired by Ofo to lead its North American operations in October 2017, announced his departure from the company a few weeks ago.

Ofo confirmed the layoffs to Quartz. The company said it is not vacating the US, but is reorienting to focus on markets that will help it become profitable. Ofo plans to maintain operations in US cities including Seattle, San Diego, and New York, where it recently was selected to participate in a dockless bike-share pilot in the Bronx.

Well, no need to worry, because Lime is here in Quincy now. According to their website, they also have electric scooters and electric assist bikes.

We’ll see how long Lime survives here. Bike-sharing companies are all the rage now in the Boston area and all over the country in general. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to ride a bike soon. I loved riding my bike as a kid and miss it.

Will Lime survive into the next season? Who knows? But if Lime leaves along with the falling leaves, there seem to be plenty of other bike-sharing companies ready to take its place.

7 Favorite Podcasts

Do you listen to podcasts? I love them! They are such a great source of inspiration and information. Plus, listening to them at work helps time fly.

I’ve also found that the more podcasts I listen to, the more I find. So here are seven podcasts, in no particular order, that I’ve been enjoying recently.

If you have any favorites, please share them in the comments. I’m always looking for more!

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A Hungry Society with Korsha Wilson

The Make Light Show with Karen Walrond

The Lively Show with Jess Lively

How I Built This with Guy Raz

The Creativity Habit with Daphne Cohn

Black Girl in Om with Lauren Ash and Deun Ivory

Patriarchy the Podcast (Hiding in the Bathroom) with Morra Aarons-Mele

15 Black Owned Beauty Brands

Black Owned Beauty Brands

Cannot believe that Thanksgiving 2017 is already a thing of the past!

Well, today is Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday is coming up in a couple of days. So we’re officially in holiday shopping season! With each purchase we make, we are also showing who and what we support.

Supporting small and local business is important to me. And being a Black woman, I like to support women, Black people and other Black women in particular.

After Retweeting a list of black owned lingerie brands by She Tweets Truth, Izzie responded asking  if there was a similar list for cosmetics. I had already been thinking about possibly blogging a list like this, but our Twitter conversation pushed me to do it.

Izzie mentioned Juvia’s Place and I learned about Faith’s Naturals from my cousin. While searching, I found a few lists from prior years and a post that seeks to correct some of those other lists. There are companies that focus on Black beauty products, but are not Black owned. Some of these companies are mistakenly listed as having Black ownership.

It’s easy for this to happen, because sometimes they may have originally been Black owned, but the Black founder no longer has a controlling interest or the company was sold outright to another company that is not Black owned — like what happened with Carol’s Daughter. Lisa Price founded the company, but in 2014 it was sold to L’Oréal USA.

From what I can tell, these companies listed below are currently Black owned in 2017. But who knows how things will change in the future? So if you’re reading this list in 2020, you might want to double check the ownership.

Also, I found that some of the companies in other listings no longer seem to exist. I figured with my new additions and corrections, another list would be helpful to me. Hopefully for you too!

This list is certainly not all inclusive or the end all of lists, but it’s a start. Happy shopping! Oh and there are actually 16 brands, because an additional one was added soon after the post was published.

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Danessa Myricks Beauty

Faith’s Naturals

Ginger + Liz

Glow by Melodye

Gold Label Cosmetics

Hanahana Beauty

Jacque Mgido Cosmetics

Juvia’s Place

KA’OIR Cosmetics

Laws of Nature Cosmetics

The Lip Bar

MDMflow

Mented Cosmetics

Pink Stiletto Cosmetics

Plain Jane Beauty

Vera Moore Cosmetics

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Image Credit: Collage created from Hanahana Beauty, MDMflow and Plain Jane Beauty website photos.

Quiet Audacity: A Conversation with Eileen Fisher & Susan Cain

Quiet_Audacity_Eileen_Fisher_Susan_Cain

For people who are most beloved by the masses, one of the things that people most often say about them after they die is that they were always themselves. They were authentic.

Somehow during their lifetime, they found the courage to be true to themselves and showed it to the world. However, like most things in life, it’s easier said than done.

After the Memorial Service for Muhammad Ali yesterday, many of us have had the chance to reflect on his life. The choices that he made and what we most respect about those choices. He risked and lost everything in order to be true to his beliefs. He had moral integrity.

As we reflect on our own lives, it’s easier for some of us to take a stand in public than others. For those who are naturally extroverted, it may not be quite as difficult.  For the introverts among us, myself included, it’s a bigger stretch to speak out in public. Many of us are natural writers and work well behind the scenes.

I just watched this video showing a conversation about introversion between Eileen Fisher, famous clothes designer, and Susan Cain, who started a Quiet Revolution and has made it her life mission to show the value of introverts. One of her most recent projects is Quiet Schools Network, so that introverted students are not overlooked in school.

This video is inspiring to watch. It’s a bit long, just over an hour. But it’s well worth the time. I had not known much about Eileen Fisher, except for her beautiful clothes that I wish I could afford.

After watching, I learned that even though she built her widely successful business from the ground up, she was painfully shy and introverted. Which is probably why most of us have not known much about the woman behind the brand. She did not want a public life.

With Fisher’s recently launched Learning Lab, she is pushing her boundaries and working on this new project that means so much to her. It’s very much in the beginning phases, so she is bringing us along on the journey to see what it will become.

The actual lab is located in an historic building overlooking the Hudson River. She has events and workshops that you can attend in person, then she makes them available online for us to watch for free.

I love the idea of this experiment, because that’s all that life really is. We’re all just trying to figure it out and experiment with what could be.

So that we all can try to live a life as well-lived, remembered and cherished as Muhammad Ali.

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Screenshot: Eileen Fisher Learning Lab

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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