Saturday, February 8, 2020

Tech Items That Will Look Great In Your Home

One of the hardest things that we will all do is life. Life is not easy - everything moves fast, and there are bills to pay and jobs to go to. There are relationships to maintain and friendship circles to manage. The good news is that humans are rather smart! We come up with new and inventive ways to make life easy all the time, from smart home technology to standard appliances that have upgraded to be more efficient

We invented the dryer when we didn't want to wait for the weather to dry them, and we created the Roomba when it came to wanting to vacuum hands-free. We’re pretty good at inventions, and we’re even better at bringing back the vintage “tech” in new ways. For example, we no longer have the twin tub washer, but hi-tech washing machines. We may not have the record player anymore, but we do have USB record players at, and that’s almost the same! Your home deserves the upgrades you can afford, and you should take a look at the list of home technology below that will look great!

Round Grey Speaker On Brown Board

Sick and tired of all the wires plugged into your home? We don't blame you - they’re annoying. This is why wireless chargers were created. They restrict your movement and break easily, which means that you spend a lot of money on replacements. Wireless phone chargers can make a big difference, and you can even get them in the form of a phone case!

The Roomba does the floors, but Ecovacs do the windows! You can charge them wirelessly and get your windows cleaned by a robot instead! You can let it charge and then set it about its job, resetting the router when it loses connection. It’s a great way to save time, and you get super clean windows for it! 

Smart home technology is likely one of the best ever inventions we’ve had in this century. Controlling your smart technology can be done with the Echo from Amazon. You can use it as an intelligent assistant giving you help with recipes, but you can also control the rest of the smart technology in your home, from the lights to the doorbell camera. The coolest bit is that it can be controlled by voice, which gives you so much more room for fun! 3am wake up calls? Just ask the Echo!

How smart will this look in the kitchen? The Nespresso Prodigio looks good, and you can time it to brew the coffee from your smartphone. You don't even have to get out of bed to turn it on, and that’s one of the best bits about it. A little Bluetooth and you’re good to go for your day! 

With the right technology from the list above, you can ensure that you are up to speed on everything that you need for a smart home. The more intelligent the house, the better it runs - and that’s all you want it to do!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Top 5 Hotels With Balcony Views of NYC

Though the rising structures of NYC’s real estate don’t offer tourists picturesque views from a standard hotel room, there are several hotel locations when you can find a balcony view of NYC’s most popular attractions. A nightcap overlooking the lights of the city is a perfect addition to your trip to the Big Apple, and here are some choices for narrowing down your accommodations.

The Warwick New York

Located in Midtown, this historic hotel was built in the 1920s and sits right across from the Museum of Modern Art. Past guests have included Elvis Presley, Cary Grant, and Audrey Hepburn. Modern amenities and elegant decor complement the views from the balcony and patio rooms, and on the Avenue Suites, you are treated to a direct view of the Hudson River.

 The Westgate Grand Central Hotel

If you want to stay close to all the action but have a peaceful evening above the noise of the streets, this Murray Hill hotel has what you need. With a variety of room choices that include balcony views, luxurious amenities, and triple-pane windows to muffle the sounds of the city, a stay in this location offers both comfort and convenience for business or pleasure travelers alike.

The Hyatt Centric Times Square

Not only does this upscale hotel offer rooms with a furnished terrace by which to enjoy the views of the skyline, but there is also a rooftop bar that gives impressive city views whether you choose indoor or outdoor seating. Travelers can indulge in the onsite restaurant, release some stress at the spa, or get in their morning run at the 24-hour fitness center.

The Jewel

For a boutique experience, the Jewel offers private balcony rooms that overlook St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the famed Radio City Music Hall. Despite the smaller size and unique setting, this location gives travelers the best in high-tech accommodation, with flat-screen Smart TVs, dimmer lighting, and enough power outlets for all your devices.

The New Yorker Wyndham Hotel

Situated in an iconic Art Deco skyscraper, the New Yorker Wyndham is located next to Penn Station and offer private balcony rooms that have panoramic views close to the bright light of Time Square. Celebrities have relied on the luxurious furnishings of this location for years, from the likes of Spencer Tracy, Fidel Castro, and Nikola Tesla.

Balcony views are a treat that shouldn’t be overlooked when visiting New York City. Even if you are too tired to take part in the nightlife, there is something to be said about taking it all in from the comfort of your room before you head to bed!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Treat Yourself Tuesday: NISIM International F.A.S.T Hair Care

It's been far too long since I've had a Treat Yourself Tuesday. How about you?

It's become a busy home here. My son, his wife, and my grandbaby are staying with us for a bit while they find a place here in our new town and I forgot just how exhausting babies can be! I am so happy to have this time with her, though. It's amazing to watch her grow and learn. However, I was reminded just how much self care is so important to us moms (and Nanas)! 

So, off to DealSpotr I went to find a special treat! As I've mentioned, I'm more than a little obsessed with my hair so I wanted to see what new products were out there. I found a great deal on NISIM International F.A.S.T Hair Care System

NISIM International is based out of Toronto and has been in business for over 25 years. This F.A.S.T System is formulated to make your hair longer, thicker, and stronger. I've been using it for about a month now and I am extremely happy with the results. I'm not quite sure if my hair has gotten longer (yay for half curly, half straight hair amirite?!) but it is definitely thicker and stronger! I had been losing a lot of hair to breakage and it has completely stopped the breakage within just a month! It's even tamed my flyaways somewhat and I love that! 

If you would like to treat yourself to NISIM International Hair Care, click here and enter the code STEPHSTEB during checkout for 15% off! Don't forget to check out their other products while you're there! 

Monday, February 3, 2020

Sustainable Energy Is Possible In Our Lifetime

In recent years, the push for sustainable energy has gotten stronger. More and more companies and private citizens are coming to find that not only is sustainable and renewable energy possible, it is absolutely affordable and easily implemented. In fact, Stanford University has just invested more into the advancement of solar energy than any other university combined!

The seven types of sustainable energy, according to the Department of Energy are as follows:

  • Solar - capturing radiant energy from sunlight and converting it to heat, electricity, or hot water.
  • Wind - capturing wind energy and converting it to electricity.
  • Hydroelectric - Water flows through a dam's turbines and converts to electricity (also known as pump storage hydropower).
  • Geothermal - heat that is captured from the core of the earth that can be converted to energy.
  • Ocean - there are actually two types of energy derived from the ocean: thermal energy that relies on warm surface water to generate energy and mechanical energy which uses the natural ebbs and flows of the ocean to produce energy.
  • Hydrogen - when hydrogen is separated from other elements, it can be used for fuel and electricity.
  • BioMass - organic matter from recently living plants and/or organisms can be converted to energy (ie; firewood).

With so many options available it's unbelievable that we haven't already implemented them for everything. Iceland is leading the way right now with 90% of their energy being sustainable energy, along with Sweden, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the UK, Germany, Uruguay, Denmark. Progress is slowly making its way in America as well, fortunately, as new hope is coming to previously decaying coal communities. This study points out that many coal communities are expected to become the leaders in producing sustainable energy instead of coal. This will bring very much needed jobs and opportunities to these presently declining communities. New jobs for lawyers like Douglas Healey who specialize in environmental law are becoming more and more prevalent as more big businesses are looking for answers on how to effectively and legally implement new green technology. More and more consumers are happily switching to green options and in my opinion, the world is more than ready. As more and more people realize that it really is possible to find viable, sustainable energy sources, the present as well as the future can be beautifully green!

What do you think about sustainable energy? How are you adding green options to your lifestyle?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

What Disruptive Startups Will Change Daily Life in 2020?

Let's face it. There are a lot of startups out there, but a lot of them don't really impact your day-to-day life. The most disruptive startups in the world are the ones that change the way that people actually live. Uber, AirBNB: these are things that changed the world for everyone. There isn't a day that most people don't use Amazon or Google. So what's going to be disruptive in 2020?

Dave offers Banking for Humans. Recent banking-related scandals and the fallout from the last recession caused many to distrust their banks. Sick and tired of fees and restrictive lending criteria, Dave was created to drive better customer loyalty. Dave is only one of the companies on the vanguard of new banking institutions; institutions that are meant to entirely change the way that people bank and borrow.
Dave provides a number of great features, including no-interest cash advances, un-bounceable checks, income creation, and more. These are all services that make it possible for people to build their wealth through their bank rather than it being nickle-and-dimed away. People who aren't satisfied with their current banking options should strongly consider looking into some of these new and incredible banks.

Divvy Homes

A lot of people aren't able to own homes these days, because home prices have increased so much compared to wages. Because home ownership is out of the question for a lot of people, people are considering new ways to own.
Divvy Homes fractionalizes home ownership, making it possible for people to invest in real estate in portions. They're still able to get the same percentage returns that they would if they purchased a real property, but they need a far reduced investment.
Not only are people able to rent-to-own, but they are able to do it in a protected way. Eventually they are able to own the property if they want to, or they can just walk away. This is a low risk way for people to enter into a property.

Starry Internet

Most people use the internet for a great deal of time when they're at home. They're either doing work at home, doing school work, streaming television shows, browsing the internet, or just playing online, multiplayer games. Of course, that means they need to have a good internet connection, and that's the problem.
Today, many internet connections are paired with tv bills or phone bills: two things that most people don't even need anymore. And apart from that, they're bundled with different services like security alarms, and often unnecessary add-ons such as premium channels that are never watched. These bundles are more expensive than they need to be.
Starry Internet is tackling this problem by creating a new internet service that's designed for the way that people use the internet today. And that includes no contracts, no hidden fees, and no services that you don't need.

Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods is making it possible for people to eat non-meat meats, and while it isn't a traditional startup, it has absolutely exploded into the mainstream realm. The Impossible Whopper is a fast food burger that doesn't contain any meat and is made with only plant-based materials, and that's a great way for people to eat healthy and sustainably even when they're on the go.
Impossible Foods is improving its product, and perhaps best of all it's also encouraging competition like Morningstar and Beyond Meat to increase their options as well. Eventually, there could be Impossible burgers in every burger-related restaurant.
Maybe your life won't be changed by the above startups. But it may be. Startups that are focused on people and households are the ones that are going to be the most disruptive, because they're the ones that change the way that we think.
Startups that give more power and control over finances are going to be dominant, because many people are finding themselves experiencing financial issues, or looking for new ways to manage their own finances. Either way, these startups definitely show the direction that many companies are moving in.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Bringing Music Into Your Big Day

Are you mad about music? Perhaps you’re a professional musician, or maybe you just have a passion for listening to or playing music. If so, when it comes to your wedding it makes sense to incorporate this passion into your big day. Here are a few ways to go about it.

Utilize Songs For Your Wedding Vows

Writing your own wedding vows allows you to add something extra special to your day as you’re conveying an incredibly meaningful message, and something that’s personal to you and your partner. If you have song lyrics that really speak to you or a song that you both relate to on a deep level, why not utilise the lyrics? There’s lots of advice online about how to do this in a way that sounds genuine without being corny or cheesy.

Hire A Live Band Or Musician

Most people tend to go down the route of having a DJ play their wedding music, however if you’re a lover of music you’ll know that nothing sounds as good as hearing it played live. There are live bands that actually specialise in weddings who ill know the etiquette involved and have plenty of experience in playing on people’s most special days. Alternatively, you could hire a local band that you love, or if you have loved ones that are excellent singers or musicians you could ask them to play. It sets an incredible atmosphere, makes for great wedding entertainment and is a little bit different too. 

Play Some Music Yourself

Whether you want to sing a song or play a tune on an instrument, this could be a fantastic and really personal way to bring music into your big day. You could even set yourself a challenge and learn a new instrument to play- from the piano to the ukelele- learn more about this here: It’s something that your guests will remember and brings a unique touch to the day. 

Give Guests Music Inspired Wedding Favors

Another idea for incorporating music into your wedding favors would be to give guests USB sticks filled up with the songs from your wedding day- this would be a really personal way for people to remember the day especially if you've carefully curated the playlist. It’s something unique and different to what people are likely to have received as wedding favours before. 

Get Inspired With Decorations

How about incorporating music into your wedding through decorations, invitations and place settings? There are some really cool ideas online for crafty people, such as making roses or confetti out of pages of song lyrics or sheet music. CDs or old vinyl records can be turned into decorations  or you could Whether you go full on or have it as a subtle theme, there are plenty of ideas you could run with and really make each item personal to you. 

How will you bring music into your wedding day?

Monday, January 13, 2020

The Best Ways Your Local Library Can Help You

Your local library often acts as a community hub. As well as being somewhere you can go to read and borrow books, it usually offers a range of other services that can be very useful. Whether you use it for studying, work, or personal reasons, you could find your library more useful than you think.

Borrow Multiple Types of Media

Everyone knows that you can borrow books from a library. However, the modern library often has several other types of media you can borrow. In addition to other print materials, such as magazines, you can also explore ebooks, audiobooks, CDs and vinyl, DVDs and Blu-Ray, and more.

Borrow Tools, Instruments and More

There is often even more that you can borrow from a library. Depending on the library, you might be able to borrow tools for your latest DIY project, musical instruments, cooking and baking equipment, and other useful items that you might not want to buy.

Join Community Events

Libraries are fantastic gathering places. They often have separate rooms and spaces that are ideal for meeting up with others and having discussions. They're often used for book clubs, readings, craft groups, and various other community groups and events that need somewhere to meet or take place.


Your library can also be an excellent place to go if you're trying to find out the truth about something. You have access to a wide range of resources for research, and you can benefit from the skills and knowledge of the librarians who can help you battle fake news.

Infographic Design By University of Southern California

Libraries are an incredible resource and your local library would love for you to visit today!

How do you use your local library?

Friday, January 10, 2020

College Admissions Coaching And Planning With Hallie Walden Bagley

Writing has been a part of my life since as long as I can remember. My mother and father had a gigantic library that I had free access to since I could read. I spent hours going through all of the titles and picking out which adventure I was going to start that day. My father built a reading nook in the house we lived in when I was little and it was by far my favorite spot in the house.

I began to wonder if I could make up my own stories while I was still very young. My dad was a journalist so we always had a computer and that is where I began to write my own adventures.

I have been a voracious reader ever since. When I attended college, my favorite assignment was essays, as you can probably guess. I was studying to acquire a Paralegal degree so I was used to having to research and couldn't wait to be able to do it full time! I decided to write one of my papers on mass hysteria  and loved learning about all of the different cases over written history. It has always been an interesting occurence to me since I first read about the Salem Witch Trials years ago. Other assignment essays weren't as easy to write, however, and I was always so glad to be able to find help and inspiration in reading and researching whatever I could about the subject as I could. When I couldn't make sense of it, it was time to call in more help and I am so glad that there were infinite resources on the internet to choose from!

One of my favorite publications, The Paris Review, always had something interesting to read and were always the most memorable to me. I have found some of my favorite authors there and it is still a great place to learn as well as finding new fiction! That's why I was really excited to learn that the managing editor, Hallie Walden Bagley, is offering college admissions essay coaching and planning! Hallie Walden Bagley holds a BA in English Literature from Dartmouth College and a Juris Doctorate from Columbia University School of Law and found her writer's voice on The Paris Review. She is ready to help you in any way to get into your school of choice! Your college admissions essay is probably the most important essay that you will ever write during college, in my opinion. My daughter is currently in her Junior year of college and I remember how she agonized over hers. It turned out that she did such a great job, she not only was accepted to her college of choice, but a second one as well!

If you find yourself struggling to write your perfect college admissions essay, whether it's because you need a little proofreading and coaching to make sure it's just right or because you can't even begin your outline, there is always help out there. Hallie Walden Bagley's college admissions coaching and planning courses are definitely a great start!

Where will your adventure begin? 

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Refresh Your Living Room With The Slipcover Company

It's that time of the year again when I can't say no to Peppermint Bark! I have a great gift idea for part three of my Holiday Gift Guide!
For part one of my Holiday Gift Guide, click here.

I became a first time homeowner more than a year ago. We were a military family for twenty years so we never really could purchase a home anywhere because we were never sure where we were going to go next. We bought a lot of second hand furniture or "if it breaks in the move, we won't be out thousands of dollars" furniture and did our best to make them our own. My husband retired from the Navy the same year that my daughter graduated high school and that is when our search began. We found our perfect home and I have about one million and forty seven projects that I've been doing to make it into the home I always wanted while we traveled around!

Until I can get my new couch, however, I wanted to refresh my living room with a new look. I'm also a cat owner and his favorite thing in the world to do is shred my couch. I've tried everything.

Murder Mittens Couch Shredding Champion

I found the perfect slipcover for in the interim at a great slipcover company online! The Slipcover Company has gorgeous slipcovers for all types of furniture and pillows! I spent way too long looking at other things I wanted to buy but finally settled on the Cabana Stripe Collection Sofa Slipcover in Blue. It fits in perfectly with our nautical/beach theme. 

Putting a new slipcover on my insanely comfortable old couch has refreshed my living room and definitely inspired me to continue all of these projects!

So, so many projects.

How would you refresh your home?

For part one and two of my holiday gift guide, click here and here

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Perfect Gift For Business Owners

I found another great deal on DealSpotr for part two of this year's Holiday Gift Guide!

Social media has definitely become part of everyone's life. Businesses have more reach than ever and have used it to their advantage, from the top all the way to local small businesses. It's important to have eye catching graphics when promoting your business online. Not everyone is a graphic designer, however, and have to use graphics available to them. 

I am one of those who can't draw, so I wanted to take advantage of this deal! iClipart has so many images for whatever you need! Right now, you can get 20% off of an entire year subscription. All you have to do is click here and enter the code STEPHSTEB at checkout! 


I hope you and yours have a lovely holiday, no matter how you celebrate! For part one of my holiday gift guide, click right here!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Top 4 Reasons You Should Have Musical Instruments In Your Living Space

Not only does music add ambience to a home it also entertains and adds inspiration to any room. Music has the power to enhance the mood to create a pleasant atmosphere. When you walk into a room and hear music it automatically sets the tone. Adding music into your home’s decor doesn’t just stop with one fo your five senses it also acts as a visual stimulant. You’re able to add music as a visual aid to enhance and add value to your interior design. 

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

You may still be wondering why music should be included in the living space in your home so have a look at the top reasons you should include music in your home below.

You Can Add In A Variety Of Sounds 

When thinking about music choices there certainly is a large range to choose from. From hard rock right through to softer classical styles there is always something that suits someone. People tend to have more of a preference for a certain style. Despite the fact these types of music can be played on similar instruments, they have the ability to create different moods. When it comes to having musical instruments in your home, you have the ability to mix styles and create an even bigger range of sounds. 

It Enables You To Embrace The Instruments

Sometimes, when people think of the power of music, they think of the creativeness of the musician. A huge part of what makes music such a beautiful thing is the instruments it’s coming from. Good sound comes from a good quality instrument so you should embrace that equipment. Don’t limit yourself to just the instrument, think about other tools you can use too such as the speakers and cords. Try placing a guitar with all it’s equipment on show to draw the attention of guests, you could even think about using vintage speakers as an extra added touch of interior design. 

You Can Make Your Home Feel Like A Musical Haven 

What’s cooler than a music studio? Having a music studio in your home that’s what! Studios are notorious for being ‘cool’ as they are the key to the backend of musical production. A studio is a haven for people who create music so why not include one in your home? Simply having musical instruments in your home will make your living room feel more like a mini studio where you can work on creating wonderful pieces of music. 

It’s The Best Way To Make A Statement 

If you think about all the top-class homes that you see in the movies, there is usually a grand piano as a focal point. From classy women singing next to the piano to a talented musician playing in a ballroom, they are used to stand out from the crowd. Adding a tasteful musical instrument such as used Steinway Pianos into your living room makes for a glamorous, luxurious and elegant statement piece. Put together with a statement mirror and a bold colour scheme this is sure to wow and visitors. 

These are just five of the reasons you should have musical instruments in the living space of your home. It’s important to a lot of people and impacts a lot of people’s lives. If it’s important to you, think about adding music in a non-traditional way to your home interior. It will look bang on trend and also make your house feel like a home 

Do you have any other reasons why you should include music as part of the interior of your home? Please share them in the comments section below!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

My Holiday Gift Guide Kicks Off With A Wonderful Memorial For Lost Loved Ones

It's that time of year again! Holiday season is upon us and I am starting this year's edition of my Holiday Gift Guide with a service that is perfect for memorializing your loved ones who have passed on. offers a service unlike any I have seen before: a webpage builder that memorializes your loved one on the internet forever. Launched in 2008, founder Oleg Andelman was inspired by his desire to learn everything he could about his grandparents. He reached out to family members and was able to find out more, along with photographs he didn't know existed!  After compiling all of this knowledge, he decided to build a webpage that could tell his grandparents' story. He then realized that a website where his family and others could share and post memories of his grandparents was actually something he believed could be a great service for anyone on the internet! He began building Forever Missed to offer online memorial pages for anyone on the web! has made it easy for anyone to make and share their memorial even if you have little experience in building a webpage. Customer service reps are available day and night should you need any help and to guide you through the building process. It's a wonderful way for families who may be separated by distance or time to learn and share about the lives of their loved one. It is especially helpful to those who may have been young when their family member passed on as they now have an entire webpage dedicated to any information they may need to learn more about their family members!

For this holiday season, I have a special discount. You can receive $20 off of their premium plan by clicking this link. With the premium package you get the ability to upload unlimited photos, a video gallery, background music, illustrated stories, full integration with Facebook and YouTube, access for more administrators to help build the webpage, and customized default notifications you can use to let your other family members know that new content has been uploaded and remind them of important dates. I hope you will check it out and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Are You Sales Tax Compliant?

As I have written about before, e-commerce is evolving every day. When I first began shopping online, sales tax had not caught up with the frenzy of online shopping. It was the Wild West days of the internet and over the years as it picked up, sales tax on items became an issue that has resulted in states realizing just how much impact e-commerce has and now, sales tax compliance is of utmost importance.

In the landmark case of South Dakota v. Wayfair, the Supreme Court ruled on June 21, 2018 that an out of state seller can have economic presence in a state where they have no physical presence and can be held legally accountable for sales tax.The companies involved were Wayfair, Overstock, and New Egg. Essentially, these companies can establish a nexus, (an economic requirement that generates the qualification of collecting and remitting sales tax), just by economic activity. This decision allowed individual states to require that sales tax be collected through sales of products online.

The reason for this is because states began to recognize just how much income they were losing by not collecting sales tax, estimating that billions of dollars in tax revenue are lost each year. The US Census Bureau of the Department Of Commerce determined that in the second quarter of 2019 retail e-commerce sales reached 146.2 billion dollars which is a 4.2% increase from earlier in the year! This, of course, could generate billions in tax revenue for states as determined by the United States General Accountability Office. Budget deficits and revenue deficiency made states quickly require the collection and remittance of sales tax on e-commerce purchases.

Sales tax compliance is fairly simple. First, you will have to collect the data from all sources within your business, such as your marketing team, legal department, and operations depending on how large your company is. After you have amassed all of the data, you can then asses that data and reconcile it. You can then use this information to fill out your tax forms, and file your tax return. Your jurisdiction will now determine your filing frequency and the due date. Sales tax is normally due in the month of the taxable event. Typically, the due dates are the 15th, 20th, 25th, or at the very end of the month, although it varies by each jurisdiction. Creating a dedicated tax calendar is a recommendation that will help remind you of due dates, how much you owe for that month, what method you used for filing as well as the date filed, and  confirmation numbers for payments and filings. You can update it every month so you can go back and refer to it as needed. If you do receive any notices, make sure you respond promptly!  Most notices are sent because of errors so don't be alarmed if you do receive one. You should, however, follow it through until resolution. Once all of these actions are followed, you then repeat the process each month.

For more help and information, please visit The website has a plethora of information and great tax software to get you started on sales tax compliance.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Matter Of Pride

She's in the mirror again
using those words
as the spark blows
across your mind
igniting the fire
that began
it all

She's your reflection again
using all of the bits
you buried
or pretended you did
under layers of dullness
years of the nothing void you hid in
that accumulated into 
reruns of your mind that
the picture sitting 
on your mantle of pride 
now holds

the ghost
of fascination
constructed from the mold of you
that now suffers
in the mirror 
all she sees is