Ask Away Blog: October 2019

Managing Your Money During the Holidays with White Mountain Partners

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

That’s right, the holidays are coming and chaos will surely ensue.  I’m not just talking about with your social schedule but also with your finances.  The holidays can wreak havoc on your finances if you aren’t careful and mindful with managing them so today I’m covering a few ways to manage your money during this time of year. 

Stick to A Budget
The key to manage your money without losing control is to stick to a budget.  This goes for gifts, food, event attendance, and even charitable donations.   You need to take a long hard look at what you can afford with your holiday expenses and then set a budget limit and stick to it.  It really helps if you put money aside all during the year so that by the time the holidays roll around, you have money set aside for everything.  

When it comes to gifts, it can be hard to limit yourself because we tend to get carried away with the spirit of giving and that’s why gifts of experience are better than purchased gifts.  You can take a relative somewhere for the day that has free or very cheap attendance rather than spend money on a physical gift for them. Make sure you set price limits for each person on your list and keep track of how much you’ve spent. 

Cut Costs When Possible
You may have to bring a dish to a holiday party but before you go spend money on expensive ingredients, look at what festive food you can throw together with what you already have.  And even though it’s convenient to buy dishes that are pre-made, it can be much more expensive because stores know that you’re desperate to get something. Don’t forget, a lot of parties also ask for someone to bring the disposable plates and dinnerware.  You can get that stuff for very cheap at discount stores or by buying the store brand, so that’s always an option for your contribution as well. 

Re-Gifting Saves
Do not be ashamed of re-gifting something you’ve never used or hardly ever used.  We tend to accumulate so much “stuff” much of which we don’t even want or need. Instead of throwing it out or letting it take up room in your home, consider donating it or putting it in a gifting box that you can “shop” throughout the year when events come up that you need a gift for.  There are plenty of things that are great re-gift items like candles, scarves, books, etc. Be as savvy as you can when it comes to saving money on gifts. 

Keep Saving
Saving money year round is very important but unfortunately we get so caught up with the holidays we stop worrying about saving money until next year.  It’s important to keep up the habit of saving money even if it’s just $5 here and there. Setting your bank account up to automatically deposit money in your savings every payday is a great idea, especially around the holidays! 

And remember, a firm like White Mountain Partners can help you manage your money ALL year round! 

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W hen To Throw A Dinner Party And How To Make It Special

A dinner party is often a great choice for many occasions. They can be very flexible as a dinner party can be as formal or as informal as you wish it to be. The beauty of it is that it is your decision on how the dinner party goes. You may sit everyone down and have a set meal plan. Or you may like to serve up food in big dishes and let everyone dig in.

The great thing about a dinner party is that you get to choose the menu you serve, and the drinks everyone devours. With plenty of inspiration on the internet from websites like Pinterest or taking full advantage of a wine membership that you have, it can make all the difference to your event. You can’t go wrong when making informed decisions. With that in mind, here are some of the obvious and not so obvious occasions where a dinner party will be the perfect way to celebrate.

Image source - Pixabay - CC0 License

A special birthday

Some of us may not want to celebrate our birthdays with a big party and be the centre of attention. Which is why a dinner party is an excellent alternative. It allows the setting to be much more informal without the need for the big gestures. Again the beauty of it is that it can be tailored to the individual, so if you still want a little limelight, then it is yours to take. You can also decorate the table and room setting with lots of birthday decorations.

To celebrate friendship

When was the last time you and your friends got together to celebrate your friendship? Probably a while ago. With daily routines and lives taking over it can be hard to get a date booked in the diary with our friends. So this is where a dinner party can be a perfect choice. Find a date, get it booked in then spend the evening reminiscing over old memories, good food, and good wine.

The night before a wedding

Traditionally the night before the wedding was always spent on a hen and stag night. But the trend now is that people do these in advance, so the eve of your wedding is often free. So why not mark the occasion with close friends and family and have an informal dinner party? It would be a great way to iron out last minute details and get excited about the impending big day.

New Year's Eve

If you have a family then long gone are the days where you went clubbing to celebrate the new year in, or it may not be as often anymore. So why not mark the occasion with other friends and have a big dinner party? You could invite friends who also have children and make a whole night of it. The kids can fall asleep and are safe, and you can celebrate as you were out, but in the comfort of your own home. Win win.

Other occasions to think about would be Halloween, as it can be a great themed dinner party and let’s not forget the Christmas period. Which offers a whole host of reasons to get together with loved ones. Let’s hope this has inspired you to consider a dinner party for some other occasions.

My 2019 Fall Decor Home Tour

Fall is my favorite time of year, mostly because I think the decor is so natural and beautiful.  Come see how I decorated my home for Fall this year! 

Recognizing Health Problems Early

Monday, October 21, 2019

For most of us, there’s little you can do about getting older. Every day, you’ll feel a bit more tired, every day, you’ll spend more time making sure the neighborhood kids are staying well off your lawn. Getting older can be scary. You feel like your whole life is slowly fading away, and suddenly you don’t feel so young anymore.

There’s also the issue of your health. If you’ve spent time with parents and other relatives you’ve seen how health can so quickly decline once you reach a certain age. You never think it’s going to happen to you until it does, and while you can’t halt ageing, you can recognize potential issues before they become problems.

Hearing Loss

Out of all potential health issues associated with growing old, hearing loss is perhaps the most common. You’ve seen endless sitcoms where an elderly relative mishearing things is the joke, and you’ve probably needed to repeat yourself to your grandmother a few times, too.

Hearing loss comes in several forms and doesn’t always affect both ears at the same time. You might find it difficult to listen to the TV or the damage could come from listening to music too loud or working on noisy building sites. If you find yourself or someone you know seems to be struggling with hearing loss, learn more about what to do to ease it and make life more manageable for everybody.

Aching Bones

It doesn’t matter how much milk you drank as a child, your bones will eventually start to turn on you and bring creaking aches with every step. These issues come from years of being on the move, and the ligaments and cartilage have worn away over time.

While exercise could be considered the problem, it’s also a solution as long as you take it easier than usual. Simple weight training and flexibility exercises are useful for keeping the bones and muscles in shape and strengthens them against the pains of ageing. You don’t need to hit the gym every day, but staying active prevents your bones from breaking down so quickly.

Misplaced Thoughts

While physical problems are always associated with growing older, there are also mental conditions you need to look out for. One of the most common in society is dementia and Alzheimer’s, which are degenerative diseases that affect the brain.

The process is slow, and often it’s not you that is the first to notice. Instead, it’s those around you who may recognize you’re not as tuned-in as you always have been. However, it doesn’t need to be the end of the world and getting the right exercise and mental engagement can help stave off such diseases to keep you mentally at your best, even if your knees hurt too much.

When Your Sixty-Four

Sure, sixty-four isn’t all that old any longer, but once you hit a certain age, you’ll start seeing things decline a little quicker than you expected. However, as long as you stay aware of your health and take care of your body, you’ll not have to worry about too much so you can enjoy your golden years and do everything you’ve always wanted to


How I Prioritize My Self Care + Why You Should Do The Same

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

How I Prioritize My Self Care + Why You Should Do The Same
Self care is a term that most people throw around here and there but it's not taken as seriously as it should be.  Some people view self care as selfish because they are putting themselves in front of others.... but don't we owe it to ourselves to do that? 

My mom had a book when I was growing up called How Full Is Your Bucket?  The whole point of it was to explain that you can spend all your time pouring what's in your bucket, to other people's buckets that are empty...but if you don't have anything in your own.... you won't be able to pour it out for others.  You need to fill your own bucket first.  

So I can sit here and give you a million tips on what you SHOULD be doing...or I can just show you what I've been doing in the hopes that it will influence and motivate you to better take care of yourself. 

Is It Time To Take Control Of Training Your Dog? The Best Options To Try

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Many people love the idea of having a dog in their lives, and it can be one of the best moves you make for your family. They give you companionship, a love like no other, and they can also be great for your lifestyle. However, while the idea of having a dog is amazing, you also need to think practically. Training them so that they listen to your commands and are well behaved is part and parcel of dog ownership, but for some people, this is where you can go wrong. With that in mind, here are some of the best options to try to help you train your dog more effectively.

Top Tips For Saving Money On Dentistry

Monday, October 14, 2019

Visiting the dentist can be an expensive trip. Maintaining oral health is important, but it’s always a worry when something so essential is such a drain on your bank balance. There are some ways you can save some money though and avoid those high dentist bills.
Image - free for commercial use

How I Make My Cleansing Bouquets

I have written about smudging before and showed off some of my DIY smudge sticks, but I wanted to do even more of a post about it now. Anyone can do this no matter where you live.   

Retractable Awnings - A Positive Post

Friday, October 11, 2019

Living in a city like Austin with a year-round temperate climate offers many lifestyle advantages. Warm, sunny weather encourages outdoor activities like backyard cookouts, trips to local parks, and coastal outings with friends and family. Austin's warm climate brings enjoyable outdoor days, but it also brings a lot of hot sun that creates an uncomfortable home environment without Shade-Outdoor Living Solutions.

Mechanisms That Can Help You To Cope With Long Term Illness

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Being diagnosed with any illness can be such a toll on your emotions. Having to cope with your symptoms on a long term basis can take the highest levels of endurance and determination, and it can feel like a very lonely road you must travel. Though it seems hard, you must forge yourself a whole new lifestyle that can provide you with the differing needs that you now have, which will ultimately help you to begin to feel closer to your true self instead of becoming your illness. Finding the right coping mechanisms is just so important for your recovery and overall health, as well as your mental wellbeing and for your friends and family too. If you or someone you love is having to battle with a long term illness and is in need of some more information on how to deal with the emotions and side effects in the most productive way possible, then read on to uncover what can be done to bring about a new air of positivity and restoration in no time at all.

4 Outfits Using Fall Colors

Fall is here! I love fall mainly because the colors are so gorgeous. The leaves, the pumpkins, the decor, and most of all the fashion have great colors that seem to complement every one.  So today I have 4 looks that showcase Fall colors.  

Top Tips for Taking Care of Your Health Today

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


You only get one life, so you need to make the most of it, and this is why it is so important to look after your health as much as possible. There are so many things you can do on a daily basis to take care of your well-being, and this is something you have to keep in mind. Make sure you do your best to come up with ideas that are going to let you improve your health and fitness as much as possible.

4 Top Benefits To Wearing A Hearing Aid

Monday, October 7, 2019


According to NIDCD, around only 30% of 70+ aged adults who would benefit from a hearing aid have actually used one. In the 20 to 69 age bracket, just 16% of adults who could benefit have used a hearing aid. Many people believe that hearing aids are useful only for the elderly or for those with severe hearing loss, but this is not the case.

Hearing aids are made up of a speaker, amplifier and a microphone. Sound is received via the microphone; the sound waves are then converted to electric signals and sent on to the amplifier. The amplifier functions to improve the power of the signals which are then sent through a speaker into the ear. There are plenty of benefits to wearing a hearing aid, let’s consider the top reasons to use one.

Must-Read Tactics For Faster Injury Recovery!

Devastating! That is what it can be when we have worked so hard to incorporate exercise into our daily lives, and then we fall foul of an injury. After all, when you are injured, there is pain, and you can't burn as many calories as you are used to. Oh, and all of those lovely endorphins that regularly flow around your system reduced as well. Of course, this means that recovering from an injury as fast as possible is a top priority. A topic you can read more about in the post below.

DIY Fall Decor Ideas

DIY Fall Decor Ideas

Fall is my favorite time of year but just like any season, the decorations available at local stores can suck the money out of your bank account REAL FAST so this year I wanted to share some ideas for DIY fall decor.  These ideas are things that should cost you little to nothing because you can find the items in nature and hopefully you have some extra paint or other supplies sitting around. 

Why Pain Changes The Brain

Friday, October 4, 2019

“I don’t have a pain management problem; I have a pain problem!”

When Hugh Laurie, alias Gregory House in House MD, shouted these words, the audience was about to discover the extent of his pain-induced drug issues.

House MD was built under the premises of presenting an impossible medical case to a genius doctor who would use his Sherlock Holmes-like abilities to save the day. Similar to Holmes, House also exhibits all the signs of addictive behavior. However, unlike the fictional Londoner detective, Greg House doesn’t fall into the bitter embrace of drugs out of boredom. House is in pain. The TV show goes to great lengths to show not only the most debilitating aspects of his pain – he struggles to walk long distances or even climb stairs when we first meet him –, but also how pain affects his thoughts. Cases are more challenging to diagnose when his leg hurts. Ultimately, House MD gets this right: Pain changes your brain.

Tips On Changing Your Lifestyle To Be Happier

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Living life unhappily is wasteful, and it can be tough sometimes to get yourself out of that dark place. However, there are some changes that you can make to your life that can help encourage more happiness. Here are some tips on changing your lifestyle to be happier.

Cut Out Toxic Friendships

People come in and out of our lives often, and although you may make friends, no everyone will stick around. But that’s perfectly natural and so much so that a lot of us will go through different friendship group phases and this can all be dependant on where you're at in your life and where they are. However, there are some people who have a negative influence on your life. They probably don’t have your best interests at heart, and therefore, are not necessarily good for you. Cut out the toxic friendships and individuals and replace them with positive people who are only going to support you and say kind things.

What’s the Buzz with Sales Tax Compliance?

I was having a normal week up until a day ago when my inbox suddenly had tons of email notices coming through from some of my favorite retailers.  By now, you have probably noticed something with your online purchases that wasn’t there before. And that thing is sales tax. There has been a change in sales tax compliance for remote sellers and marketplace facilitators that started October 1st.  Many companies are reaching out to inform customers of this change so it doesn’t come as a complete surprise when they place their next online order. 

Efficient Ways to Keep Your Home Cool in Hot Weather

As soon as the temperature outside starts to rise, your first instinct is probably to crank up the air conditioning. However, this strategy only raises your electric bill and causes you to lose precious power. There are much more cost-efficient ways to keep your home shielded from the hot weather. Here are some easy changes you can make to keep your living space nice and cool no matter how warm it is outside.

Install a Fan

Your air conditioning system is costly and a major electricity waster. Instead of relying on AC to get you through the heat wave, try using a ceiling fan. This option requires very little power and won’t cause your electricity bill to skyrocket. In addition, a ceiling fan installation Spokane is a much more environmentally friendly choice for your home. You can still cool off but in a healthier and more natural way when you run your fan.

Close Your Blinds

This extremely simple step can make a noticeable difference when it comes to keeping your home cool. The sunlight that comes through your windows makes up a large portion of the heat that fills your living space. To ward off this unnecessary heat, be sure to keep your blinds closed during the day, especially those on south-facing windows.

Turn Off the Oven

Just like sunlight, your oven adds a lot of unwanted heat to your space. It’s best to save oven-friendly meals for the winter and take advantage of your grill while the weather is still pleasant. From grilled chicken to corn on the cob, there are plenty of foods that you can whip up for a barbecue without ever touching your oven. Not only will you feel cooler, but you’ll also have a delicious feast to enjoy with family and friends.

Seal Gaps and Openings

It’s easy to spot the obvious sources of heat in your home, like the windows. However, there are many hidden culprits that you should take care of to keep your home safely sealed from the heat. Be sure to check door frames, crawl spaces and recessed lights for any signs of escaping heat. Covering up even the small gaps and openings can make a significant difference in the overall temperature of your home.
These simple tips can help you save money and energy while enjoying a cool home. Remember that even small changes can add up in the long run.

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Home Repairs You Should Leave to Professionals

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

When it comes to doing repairs on your home, paying a professional to do the work can often be expensive. This has caused many to turn to DIY projects. However, before you set out to try a repair project on your own, you want to be armed with the right information. One of the main things that should be considered is safety. Never attempt to do a project on your own if you or someone in your family could be harmed. Here are some projects that are better left to professionals.
One project that many individuals try to do on their own is hanging wallpaper. While this may seem like a simple task and not at all dangerous, many who have tried the project have found that it is actually quite difficult to get the wallpaper straight and to get the patterns to match up correctly. Dealing with bubbling and crinkling can mean that you waste a lot of wallpaper. When you hire a professional to get the job done, you will know that it will be done correctly.

If you are thinking about renovating your kitchen, you might think that it would be easy to strip everything down yourself and then install new kitchen cabinets Austin, counter tops, and other fixtures. This is another area where professionals are better left to do the job. Not only are there potential safety hazards, but this is an area where you could put a lot of time and effort into the project and be left with results that look shabby, especially if you do not have much construction experience. National K&B Cabinetry offers high quality cabinets and professional service.

Do you have a popcorn ceiling? If so, it is likely that you want it gone. Of course, you know what a messy job this is going to be. In order to get it all off, you first need to spray it with a softening agent and then scrape it down with a blade. It is easy to create holes on the surface if you do not have the right training. This means that you will then have to go back and sand the ceiling. You are also going to need to spend a lot of time priming and painting the ceiling. Since this type of job requires ladders, you will save yourself a huge headache and protect yourself by hiring a professional to do the job.

It can be tempting to try to go about a DIY projects in order to save money. However, when you look at the safety risks, the equipment that needs to be purchased, and the hassle that you will have to go through to get the job done, you will see that there are many projects that are better left to professionals.

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How To Balance A Budget

By now, most of us have some sort of budget in place.  You know, the kind where you're SUPPOSED to stick to a set amount for certain expenses each month, but somehow you always come out negative and you can't get your sh*t together enough to have any extra money AT ALL left over to go towards debt or savings.  You aren't alone! 

How To Survive Credit Card Debt with Derby Advisors

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Credit card debt is one of the most nagging burdens ever. Why? Because when you first start using a credit card, it can feel good….. You can get instant gratification by swiping your card and walking out of the store with your shopping bags. But overtime, the amount you have charged builds up. Then life happens. The money you want to use to pay down your debt gets used on something else, and you’re stressed out. So you charge more stuff...maybe it’s living expenses or maybe it’s just clothing or items that make you feel better. Before you know it, you’re facing an enormous amount of debt and you have no idea where to start when it comes to getting OUT of debt. If you already resonate with these first few sentences, you’re in luck, because I’m going to walk you through how to deal with credit card debt, what options you have with Derby Advisors, and how to avoid it in the future.

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