5 Things Divorcing Parents Should Know

When you had your child or children your life changed from being focused on yourself to suddenly having to consider how all your life choices would impact the kids. That is the way it should be. What is in the child’s best interest should always be a parent’s top priority especially when considering divorce. The first thing you should know is our adversarial legal system is not child focused or family friendly. The emotional and financial price you pay when you each hire separate divorce lawyers is higher than you can now imagine.

Before I became a divorce attorney I was a special education teacher. My Masters is in Special Education, focusing on teaching severely emotionally disturbed children, so I came to the law with a powerful bias to act only in the best interest of the children. The 2nd important fact to know is how comfortable so many divorce lawyers are in spending their client’s college fund instead of quickly and economically helping the couple to negotiate a fair deal. After 8 years of litigation and witnessing the total financial and emotional devastation of too many families I vowed to no longer take adversarial divorces and to do only divorce mediation. In the following 3 years, after working with over 150 couples with 100% success rate, I am convinced that divorce mediation should be the solution of first resort for 85% of the couples who are contemplating divorce. So the 3rd thing you need to know is there is an alternative to divorce court, mediation.

It is easier to deal with a situation when basic information is already known. In the 8 community property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin) property division is pretty clear. What ever was totally owned prior to marriage or received by gift or inheritance is separate property that goes to the spouse who owns it. If it was partially paid for using wages or income earned during the marriage, the “community” gains an interest in it that can be calculated. Division of property in community property states is one of the easiest issues to deal with because it is so clear cut. But what about the other 42 states? These states use an equitable distribution system to divide marital property. Each state has its own rules that can be ascertained prior to starting the divorce process. So there is some uncertainty in non community property states but an experienced lawyer/mediator generally knows what the court will do in most situations and can be a valuable guide to couples who are unfamiliar with the laws. The 4th thing to keep in mind is that there is no point in fighting over property division. You can protect your co-parenting relationship and end up with more property if you divide everything the way a neutral 3rd party (mediator) suggests.

In litigated divorce cases, child custody and visitation issues can be the most contentious and emotional. If the parents can agree to a custody arrangement, which they eventually do in 90% of custody cases, they can avoid court altogether. Why should a couple wait until they are on the courthouse steps to make a deal? Only 10% of custody cases are litigated. A couple could always seek the services of a child therapist to advise them instead of going to court. The courts typically apply a “best interest of the child” standard in determining who should get primary custody. Wouldn’t the parents themselves be in the best position to decide how their children should be raised? When a couple works together in mediation they are in control of the final outcome, not lawyers or judges. When the couple has an intention to effectively co-parent by always keeping the best interest of the child foremost in their mind, they will produce a much more satisfying outcome than if a solution is imposed upon them from above. Child custody issues are the most inappropriate issues to be decided within an adversarial system. The win/lose game that is played in court always results in tension between the parents. Not only will this tension negatively affect the health and happiness of the parents but the children will be caught in the middle of a battle, ducking verbal and emotional bullets as they fly over their heads. The adversarial system does not protect the co-parenting relationship of parents and should be avoided if at all possible. An emotionally vulnerable client in the hands of a “zealous advocate” who is more concerned with enriching themselves than in helping their client is a dangerous combination. The last thing to keep in mind is that avoiding divorce attorneys and court should be the #1 priority if you want to protect your health, spirit, co-parenting relationship and pocketbook.

8 Different Ways Different States Treat Divorce

You’re thinking about divorce – maybe you need to give some thought to where you live. Divorce laws differ widely from state to state. Here are 8 examples that will show you just how different divorce laws can be.

  1. Want To Get Out Of Paying Alimony? Well, if your spouse has been unfaithful, you want to be living in Georgia. Georgia law allows adultery as a bar to paying alimony. Make your case and alimony will not be awarded.
  2. Want To Get Even? Let’s get back to that unfaithful scenario. In 7 states you can still sue a homewrecker for “alienation of affection” if another person has stolen your spouse from you. New Mexico, Illinois, Hawaii, North Carolina, Mississippi, Utah and South Dakota are where you want to be if you want to sue. In some of those states, the name is “criminal conversation”.
  3. Want A Fast Divorce? You may think that Nevada is the state for a quickie divorce. Think again. In New Hampshire you can be divorced in a single day. You both just cross the border and stay in New Hampshire – that’s taking up residence. There’s no minimum processing time or minimum residency requirement. You can “move” to New Hampshire on Wednesday and file on Thursday and be divorced.
  4. Not So Fast? Then try Vermont. In Vermont, you have to have been residents for at least a year. You must undergo a six-month separation, living apart during that time. Meet those requirements and the judge will grant the divorce. But, wait! It’s not final for another three-months!
  5. Find Fault In Idaho. If your spouse is a boozer and you’ve had enough. You can file for a fault divorce on the grounds of habitual intemperance.
  6. Murder She Wrote – Or He Wrote. If you want grounds for a fault divorce in Tennessee, you just have to show that your spouse has tried to murder you “by poison or any other means showing malice.” Yikes!
  7. She Has A Headache Or He’s Not In The Mood. And, that can be ground for a fault divorce in North Dakota where “persistent refusal to have reasonable matrimonial intercourse” lets you file for a fault divorce.
  8. Still Seeing Each Other? In Delaware, a divorcing couple can continue to live together, but they must be in separate bedrooms. However, sex is allowed if it I an effort “to achieve reconciliation”.

You can see how different divorce laws can be – and that’s one reason why you want an experienced divorce lawyer on your side. You want an expert divorce attorney who understand the laws in your state and can help you make the right decisions within those boundaries.

Punk Princess Fashion Style – Clothes That Mix Skulls, Skeletons and Soft Fabrics

Why not give a little bit of an edge to your closet by incorporating a little bit of punk into your wardrobe? It’s a great trend with celebrities all over the world. It’s very easy to do… just follow the following guidelines:

1. Incorporate neon colors alongside a black background.

2. Add tights in every color and style, the edgier the better. Do it like Taylor Momsen does it, playing punk princess on gossip girl.

3. Skinny jeans are the way to go. Forget about flared jeans and pants since we want to move away from the hippie style.

4. Graphic t-shirts with strong messages help create the punk attitude look.

5. Accessories with a strong personality make the difference between a regular outfit and a punk princess one. Add some toughness to your look with items like gloves with a skull print, scarves, converse shoes and rubber and leather bracelets.

6. It’s fun to wear a commonly girlie item which has gotten the punk princess treatment. cardigans, veil skits, lace socks are good examples.

7. Use accessories or clothes with the UK flag. England is always the best representation of the punk movement.

8. Wear sweet and sour make up using strong eyeliner and soft colored lips.

9. Don’t forget about your hair, since it will seal the whole look. You don’t want it to be too well done. Wear shaggy bang or if you dare, get a mohawk!

And remember, being a punk princess is all about attitude, not amount of make-up, gel, leather, or skulls will look trendy punk, if you don’t have the attitude to go with it. Be confident, and remember, this look is all about individuality.

Travel Risk Management: Are You Ready for a Crisis?

Introduction

If you know that business travel is not without its risk and the potential for crisis, then you need to read this article. In this article we are going to talk about the management and containment of crisis as it relates to travelers and travel managers. The objective of this article is to share with you the collective knowledge on managing crisis and significantly improve your ability to identify and manage a crisis but also improve your business travel efficiency.

During this article I am going to discuss travel risk myths, crisis management, plans and options so you can immediately compare or improve your own travel risk management system for your travelers or travel management department.

Crisis by definition is something you didn’t have a plan for or something in which you are unprepared. Additionally, it can be a series of events that in concert create a crisis. Events or issues that occur, to which you have a plan and strategy, is merely an incident.

Crisis Management/Leadership

The first thing is to clarify what is the difference between crisis management and leadership. More importantly, which one is the more important?

Crisis management relates to the response to event/s that threaten your business, travelers or travel activity. The event leads and you follow with plans, decisions and actions.

Crisis leadership, on the other hand, is more about getting ahead of the events and issues to prevent, management and even contain the impact to your business or business travel activities. While management is a portion of the leadership demand, your actions and involvement lead the outcomes rather than a more passive wait and act approach with pure crisis management.

Crisis leadership is the less practiced of the two, but the most significant in terms of results and reduction in risk and impact. If you take nothing else away from this session, it should be that your focus should always be on Crisis Leadership, not crisis management.

Myths

There are many myths and half-truths about crisis, disruption and threats within the travel management sector. Much of this misinformation has originated from travelers themselves, media, travel managers, friends and family or so called “experts”.

For example, many travelers and planners are focused on terrorism. The reality is, you have a very, very small chance of being exposed or affected directly by a terrorist act. It doesn’t mean you should discount it as a threat altogether but it shouldn’t dominate your plans or processes if not a proportional threat to you and your travelers. Conversely, almost everyone overlooks motor vehicle accidents. Yet, they happen far more frequently, can have devastating affect on travelers and are the least common plan contained within company travel management departments.

Travelers and travel managers must be prepared, educated and have supporting plans for any event that has the potential to delay, disrupt or harm the traveler or the business.

The most common events include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Airline delays or cancellations
  • Airport closures or disruptions
  • Transport delays
  • Bad weather
  • Sickness and illness
  • Petty crimes
  • Hotel fires
  • Political disputes
  • Demonstrations and gatherings

Motor vehicle accidents within your own country can be stressful and dangerous but on an overseas business trip they can be 100 times more challenging and dangerous. Consider language, local authorities, first respond, standard of healthcare, families and support in your plans and initial response.

Airline delays and cancellations. They happen all the time but they are not just an administrative response. You may need to consider safety, transport, quarantines, security threats, government response and wide spread suspension of services to overcome the issue and maintain safety of your travelers.

Airport closures or disruptions. Failed systems, electrical problems, threats, weather, construction and so on can prevent you even getting to your flight. Consider the impact this has on your plans and how your traveler will need to possibly extend stay, move to alternate airport or find accommodation.

All other transport delays and disruptions can create crisis when everyone no longer has access to trains, buses, key roads or even water transport. Have a plan and add it to your immediate decision making process.

2010 and the commencement of 2011 has seen travel of all kind affected by natural disasters and weather. Weather and natural forces have and always will impact travelers. It does and will continue to occur. It is highly concerning how unprepared travelers and companies are for volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, earthquakes and general bad weather.

People get sick or feel unwell all the time. This is compounded significantly when traveling. Standard of care, language, access, cost, complications, choice and numerous other location based concerns will determine just how at risk your traveler will be. A single, “one-size-fits-all” plan or solution will fail and you need to be aware of these issues immediately with the onset of an affected traveler.

Crimes are a reality of any city in the world. However, travelers seldom know the risks and may be preyed upon by thieves and criminals. The loss of phones, money, and other items may seem less likely to constitute a crisis but when overseas, injured or not able to speak the local language, all these simple events can create a major concern for your business travelers. This can be amplified if you have a senior executive or a group of executives affected.

Hotel fires and emergencies are more common than most people think. The immediate threat to an individual is fairly obvious but the impact that the lack of accommodation choices can create from the temporary or permanent closure of a hotel is a much bigger concern. This was graphically displayed during the Mumbai terror attacks (as extra ordinary as the event was) when most of the best/preferred hotels were now unavailable in a key part of the city. This removed thousands of rooms for business travelers and forced many to cancel or significantly alter travel plans just because there were a lack of suitable accommodation options, whether affected by the events or not.

Any event that alters the political stability of a location or region or results in thousands of people out on the streets constitutes a risk to your business travel plans and travelers. They can happen spontaneously or take time to develop. The immediate dangers and the ongoing disruption can have a major impact on your business or traveler.

Again, plans, preparation and thought to these issues will greatly reduce the impact and improve your business too.

Now that we have removed the most common misconceptions, let’s focus on the management and containment of a crisis.

Crisis management

The key to successful crisis management is planning, training, plans, decision-making and adaptability.

Planning

Given the issues previously covered, you now have a better insight into how and why planning is important to remove the more emotive issues from the realities of real business threats and events.

Planning needs to include multiple departments and perspectives to be truly effective. One of the greatest weaknesses I see regularly is that departments continue to manage the risk of travel through multiple departments with multiple plans. The input and plan needs to be unified. Depending on the company, it may include travel managers, security, HR, finance, marketing, C-suite and operations.

All plans need to be continuously updated, location specific, aide in the decision-making process and modular enough have elements extracted quickly and effectively. Modern, effective plans embrace technology. Rapid, efficient access to information, along with running updates is the hallmarks of a modern sustainable plan, regardless of the size of the issue or the company.

Training

No plan is effective without training and rehearsal. Training, whether through simulations, drills or live, full-scale exercises are vital to the success of any crisis situation. Such sessions don’t need to be boring or overly complicated but must include travel managers and planners along with the more common crisis and emergency managers.

Increasingly, training is becoming a mandatory requirement for key positions and roles. It can be linked to internal HR processes but must support the business objectives and measurable on how it reduces the risk to people, business, brand and travel demands.

While the plan creates the framework for crisis decision-making, teams can learn a lot from training on how and when to adapt their plans. How the team interacts, strength, weakness, leaders, followers, limitations, tools and many more planned and surprise outcomes are possible with effective training.

Adaptations

No plan will completely script all the events, issues and options available for every plausible travel delay, disruption or crisis. You need to be able to adapt and evolve from the original plan and intention. This can only be achieved with planning, plans and training.

Solutions So what do I need in my plan?

Here is the best travel risk management content for your plan:

  • Objective(the single most important part of any travel policy)
  • References
  • Scope
  • Legal
  • Insurance
  • Finance
  • Reimbursements
  • Limits
  • Priority/precedence
  • Management Authority/ies
  • Situations

Procedure will likely cover:

  • Planning
  • Resources
  • Tools
  • Authority
  • Executive Decision making
  • Limits
  • Budgets
  • Training
  • Compliance
  • Pre-trip admin
  • Providers
  • Booking
  • Accommodation
  • Airlines
  • Ground Transport
  • Safety and Security
  • Health and wellness
  • Emergency
  • SOP/Actions on
  • Insurance
  • Travel Monitoring /tracking
  • Reporting
  • HR
  • Entitlements
  • Threat/risk levels
  • Shelter in Place
  • Relocations/evacuations
  • Management Authority
  • Review

Don’t forget your risk assessment will need to include the key elements:

  • Traveller
  • Location
  • Activity
  • Support/Resources
  • Response

Conclusion

There you have it. Now you know what is required, how do you rate your current plans and preparedness?

You now have the most relevant issues and areas to focus upon that will reduce or contain the majority of incidents you may face your travelers will be safer, your business more profitable and your costs will be contained by reducing your exposure to expensive crisis events.

We have debunked popular travel threat myths, identified the difference between crisis management and leadership, outlined plans and options so you can immediately compare or improve your own travel risk management system for your travelers or travel management department. Review your plans and make the immediate improvements.

You will know when you have an effective crisis management system for your travel risk management strategy when you have little to no crisis.

You may have numerous events or incidents but you have a plan, you’re prepared and your decision making is fast and consistent. If not, you have failed and you will run from crisis to crisis on a regular basis.

Emo Fashion of the Present

Emo fashion has changed over the years. While there are some basic generalizations across the board, the emo fashion style has changed from a pretty tight dress code to a much more relaxed style that encompasses a variety of different elements.

It’s still a popular trend among emos to flat iron their hair as straight as humanly possible. The dramatic side swooping band covering one eye is no longer a huge trend in the emo culture, though many still have long bands going across one side of the face. A few additional hairstyles have been added to the repertoire of guy emo hairstyles, like spiking the back of the hair. The female emo hairstyle hasn’t changed much and still retains its Elvira like appearance.

While many emos still dye their hair black, it’s no longer a hardcore requirement for the style. There are quite a few emos out there that dye their hair platinum blonde instead. It seems to have become more about how you wear your hair than what color your hair is. The newest hot female emo hair accessory is multi-colored hair extensions. In fact, coloring part of your hair a radical color was quite the trend for a while.

Fewer emo guys wear guy liner now than when the emo trend originally became popular. Like many of the original emo fashion trends it has faded into the background.

Tight clothing is still very much in style with the emo culture, though much of it has taken a more modern look. Stripes are popular in emo fashion as well as stars, hearts, skulls, nautical stars, and sparrows. Emo females typically wear more trendy fashion as opposed to the original vintage style.

Piercings have also seen an expanded horizon. Many emos have gone from a single lip piercing to snake bites. Hip piercing has also recently become popular.

There’s really no telling how much more the emo fashion style will evolve. Unlike many other fashion styles the stability of emo culture changes as time passes. Some imagine that it will fade out completely with time. Until it does though, it will certainly be interesting to keep an eye on the rising and falling trends

CNC Cutting Machine Financing Has Never Been This Convenient

The CNC cutting machine is an immensely useful tool that is used in several industries which involve usage of heavy machines as well as require precision. Metal-works, shipping, electrical and test equipment industries are the ones which fall under this category.

Uses of a the machine: A good basic CNC cutting device does both plasma and oxy-fuel cutting. Refinements on a basic cutting machine might provide it with the ability to perform other functions like spotting holes in order to facilitate drilling, side or end cutting and routing wooden shapes. Further refinements, could enable it to do water jet-cutting too.

Skilled Operators are a Must: The operators of the present-day device should be as adept as traditional craftsmen. Since the machine is specialized and computerized, only skilled personnel can operate it. The operators of the CNC cutting devices include the men and women who design and make cabinets, woodwork, signs, and a whole range of metal, solid surface and plastic objects. The manufacturers who employ these operators know how important it is to have a good quality CNC cutting machine, since a skilled operator and a high-quality machine together would ensure excellent results.

Requirements of a Good CNC Machine: A good quality machine has a cutting table that covers the area bound by a length of four feet and a width of eight feet, which can handle satisfactorily a standard 4 x 8 plate of metal, wood, plastic, glass or stone.

A table which is not of the sufficient dimensions will hinder the work of the operator since he has to repeatedly reposition the plate. In their jargon, this repositioning is called indexing. Since the operator would spend a considerable amount of time indexing the plate, he would lose out on the time allotted for the actual cutting. This would have a direct impact on the output, which in turn, would translate into fewer products on the shelf.

Thus, a manufacturer has to be a smart buyer in order to avoid the vicious reaction between a bad purchase and poor sales volume. A wise manufacturer would recognize the fact that a good sales volume reflects the well-planned purchase of a CNC cutting machine. The manufacturer also has to look out for proper after-sales service facilities to ensure proper maintenance. Retrofitting the lost/damaged parts of the machine is hazardous for your machine as it reduces the performance of your machine. Not only is it time-consuming to operate the machine, but it also has direct detrimental impact on the quality of work. If your operator is constantly indexing then he has less time to produce goods, thereby decreasing your output. So ensuring the proper maintenance of your machine is instrumental to a great performance.

CNC Cutting Machine Financing: Due to their specialized features, these machines are high-priced. This becomes a major impediment to small-time buyers. However, this problem has a solution in the form of CNC cutting machine financing facilities.

These days, numerous financing companies provide debtor-friendly finance schemes for you to go ahead and buy the equipment you need for your business. These finance schemes ensure hassle-free procurement of such equipment, thereby ensuring the use of good quality products and higher sales volume. Since these machines are digitized now, they guarantee accurate and high-quality work. If you need a machine, you know you can get one right away, thanks to CNC cutting machine financing. So your dream CNC cutting machine is just a scheme away!

Fashion, Style and Authenticity

Youths fulfill an important function within society. Youths are frequently referenced as the future of a nation. The idea that the upcoming generations will achieve more than the previous generations is an important driver for political and social policies. However, despite their ultimately important role in human society, the legal and political status of youths is precarious. While they are fully human, they are not independent and they face significant limitations of their freedom imposed by their parents, elders and government.

In the young adult’s search for meaning and identity, both individually and within the larger societal context, words like “fashion,” “style,” and “authenticity” become highly significant. They do not merely refer to the trappings of style in clothing and personal appearance but to behavior, preferences, and choices as well. These concepts have become center points of Pakistani youth culture, because adolescents and young adults naturally seek definition and self-identity, making the idea of being in style and being authentic appealing. It gives adolescents and young adults a sense of belonging to their social group as well as a sense of self-identity.

Fitting into one’s social group is one of the most important components of youth culture, and a sense of style is one of the primary ways that youth achieve this. Style, especially, is a means for youth to not only define themselves but to define the boundaries of their group.

Interestingly, while youth like to think of themselves as independent and having a unique identity, the definition of style that they adopt is inevitably created by someone else and very often that “someone else” is a form of media. For instance, pop music is singularly formulaic in that it incorporates a standardized format of rising and falling notes, structure, and theme. Even alternative forms of music follow a specific format. Nevertheless, even within a standardized form, individuals create identity, both social and individual, through the choices they make regarding those forms. Using the ‘tool’ of style, then, youth culture defines itself by the choices it makes regarding the music, clothing, activities, and preferences.

Individual authenticity, on the other hand, can be compromised for the larger sense of group identity that style creates. Whereas some adolescents may not necessarily like the styles they see, they adopt them anyway, adhering to them because it helps them feel that sense of belonging.

Social and individual identity can coexist and commingle in everyday life. Nevertheless, very often problems arise because the young adult has a much stronger and well-defined sense of the identity of social groups, both their youth culture identity and that of the larger mainstream culture, than they do their own individual identity. Lacking this sense of meaning on an individual level, the styles and fashions of the social group disrupt their own authenticity by precluding individuality and the natural differences of opinion that arise between people. As a result of suppressing their own individuality or of mindlessly adhering to social norms, young adults can end up feeling hypocritical and meaningless.

Style, then, often supersedes authenticity in youth culture. Nevertheless, style can give young adults a sense of identity that they may not feel or know individually. Likewise, the choices that young adults make in style helps them form their individual identities through allowing them to present a unique expression of who they are and to what social group they belong. The relationship between style, authenticity, and youth culture is a dynamic one in which both the individual and the culture play an active role in the formation of identity and the expression of authenticity. While this balance between individual and social identity, between the activity of style on the individual and that of the individual’s authentic self, can and does get disrupted in the lives of young adults, the process of identity formation and individual expression continues unabated.

Perhaps more important is an implicit sweeping statement which runs throughout their lifetimes. Youths in their engagement with politics are essentially represented as either middle-of-the-road democrats, secular and absorbed into mainstream Western societies, or as radical and possibly violent. This is a gross over-simplification at best, but one which is unfortunately common to much supposedly expert opinion. The reality is that youths’ understanding of the relationship between their beliefs and their political engagements is as highly diverse as anyone else. One just needs to look on the Internet to get a taste of diversity: consider the thoroughly non-political Western-style pop videos of second – and third generation Europeans from the Indian subcontinent; European and North American youth who use punk, metal and experimental electronic music to express their uncompromising positions on Palestine, or who find no contradiction between being a radical bra-burning feminist. Similar range of expressions can be found in other e-contexts such as MySpace and Facebook, or indeed the Middle Eastern bloggers who have become central to the new media in the region. It can be considered an acute and the cumulative psychological effects of government, media, and social exclusion, and the resultant internal exile on the psychology of youth in the Diaspora.

Going Green on Home Furniture

The campaign for living an Eco-friendly lifestyle has never been so intense compared to how it was in the previous years. One definite reason for this is because we can now obviously see the earth’s deterioration and feel its impact on our lives. Where else could there be the best place to start green living but right in our own homes.

For the exterior of the house there are Eco-friendly construction or building materials that can alternatively used to create an Eco-friendly home. As for the interior, there are of course some green alternative such as Eco-friendly home furniture and decorations. Going green for furniture could be done in three possible means. First is to buy used home pieces. Second is to create your own pieces and choose organic and green materials. Third is to buy brand new sets which are guaranteed to be made from Eco-friendly materials.

Whichever of the three is chosen, there are some guidelines to keep in mind so as to ensure that that the furniture will really be a contribution for a greener earth. Thrift stores are generally selling low cost items for the home, some are pre-used home furniture and furnishings. Other places where second hand home furniture may be bought are garage sales and antique shops.

Most furniture for the home is made of wood. However, look for a kind of wood that is quick to grow compared to other trees like mango or bamboo or other kinds of woods which comes with certification from the Forest Stewardship Council or FSC. This FSC is a nonprofit group that promotes preservation of all forests worldwide and sets healthy wood standard for use in the industry. Recycling is always a good alternative when it comes to greener living at home or in any other areas. When it comes to home furniture, there are times when a new furniture is not at all needed. Sometimes all the furniture needs is repainting and refurbishing and it will again look like new.

Choose a paint or varnish that is non-toxic, add a few pieces of new and highlighting hardware like knobs. Upholstering is also another means to make the furniture look brand new. Use seat covers that are made or organic cloth and fiber instead of leather. Vintage cloths would be nice to cast a classic interior home style. Leather seem like a good option when it comes to durability for it will definitely last long. However, various elements in the environment are affected with the processing of leather. Leather comes from animals pastured and allowed to graze in cleared forests. The raw material needs to be processed in factories thereby consuming energy and fuel. So leather is not a good option for Eco-friendly home furniture.

Buying local produces is also a helpful way in living a green lifestyle. There are stores nearby that produces, creates and makes their own furniture pieces out of locally grown materials like bamboo. Buying local product also lessens the cost and the need for shipping fees and fuel costs.

IRS Takes Action to Ensure Accurate Tax Preparation by Preparers

The IRS has been sending out letters to income tax preparers for the past few years reminding them of their obligation to prepare accurate tax returns on behalf of their clients. During the month of November, the IRS started sending out letters to more than 21,000 tax preparers across the country. The reason for these letters is because the returns prepared during the past tax season have shown a high percentage of inaccuracies and misinterpretations of the tax law. The agency will be focusing on preparers who prepared a large number of individual returns with Schedules A (Itemized Deductions), C (Profit or Loss from a Business), and E (Supplemental Income or Loss) during the past filing season.

The letter contains an enclosed documents related to Schedules A, C and E. The documents address some tax issues that the IRS review considers to have been misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Tax return preparers are expected to be knowledgeable in tax law. They are expected to take the necessary steps to file an accurate return on behalf of their clients. These steps include reviewing the applicable tax law, and establishing the relevancy and reasonableness of income, credits, expenses and deductions to be reported on the return.

In general, preparers may rely on good faith client-provided information. However, they can not ignore reasonable inquires if the information furnished by their client appears to be incorrect, inconsistent with an important fact or another factual assumption, or is incomplete. Tax preparers must make appropriate inquiries to determine the existence of facts and circumstances required as a condition of claiming a deduction or a credit.

Both the tax preparer and their clients may be adversely affected by incorrect returns. These consequences may include any and all of the following:

• If their client’s returns are examined and found to be incorrect, they (the client) may be liable for additional tax, interest and penalties.

• Preparers who preparer a client’s return for which any part of an underestimate of tax liability is due to an unreasonable position can be assessed a penalty of at least $1,000 per tax return.

• Preparers who preparer a client’s return for which any part of an underestimate of tax liability is due to recklessness or intentional disregard of rules or regulations by the preparer, can be assessed a penalty of $5,000 per tax return.

The letter further goes on to state that preparers in addition to their responsibility to exercise due diligence in preparing accurate tax returns for their clients should also be aware of the IRS’s tax return preparer requirements. This includes entering the Tax Preparer Identification Number on all returns prepared for compensation and adherence to the electronic filing requirements.

IRS revenue agents will be conducting 2,100 compliance visits nationally with members of the tax preparer community. The purpose of these visits is to make sure that preparers are complying with the current return preparer requirements and to provide information on new preparer requirements effective for the 2012 tax season. These visits are expected to start in November 2011 and be completed by April 15, 2012.

Taxpayers should be careful when choosing a tax preparer. While most paid preparers provide honest and excellent service to their clients, there are some that make common mistakes or engage in fraud and other illegal activities.

Reputable preparers will ask to see receipts and other documentation when preparing a tax return. They will ask numerous questions to determine whether expenses may be claimed as deductions or qualify for favorable tax treatment. By choosing a reputable preparer you can avoid additional taxes, interest and penalties that could result from an examination of your tax return.

In summary, the IRS continues to monitor tax return preparers. They are looking to make sure they are in compliance with tax return preparer guidelines and they continue to review tax returns in which there has been shown a high degree of inaccuracies and misinterpretations of the tax law.

Bags – Fashion Style

Bags, bags and more bags! Whether you’re going out to the nearest grocery store or for a formal evening out, a bag is a must for any lady. This season, bags in different shapes and sizes are ‘in’, but it is important to realize that if the most fashionable bag is worn on the wrong occasion and most importantly with the wrong type of outfit it will only make you look silly. Small clutch bags give an elegant and chic look and are a must for a formal evening out or a lunch with friends. The small clutch bag gives a graceful and chic poise to the lady holding the bag and looks awesome with long shirts and caprice. Small pouch bags also look great, as they are no hassle to carry and comfortable that makes them all the more better for formal occasions. Since saris are also favorite outfits on formal evenings and clutch bags, pouches are a must for an “all-out elegant look.”

If you are all for the glamorous and glitzy look then clutch bags with stones and embroidery will do the job for you. So for a classy touch go for petit bags and purses to complete your look. The huge metallic bags are the most popular bags this season and are definitely en vogue! They were in vogue last winter’s as well but their fashion has not worn out. In fact, huge bags are all the more in fashion this summer. They look good with any casual outfit like a Tee-shirt dress and jeans, A-line frock dresses or your casual day to day wear. These bags are useful for those who go to college, university or work as they are spacious enough to carry your make up kit and you can fit in just about anything – maybe even your pet Chihuahua! They are also lifesavers for moms with infants as the mother can not only keep her make-up and accessories but also her babies ‘accessories’. You have a lot of choice in these bags, as they are available in metallic colors as well as in any other colors with or without artificial stones, chains and buckles. Just be careful that you don’t buy an over-accessorized bag because it just ends up looking very cheap. The best thing about these bags is that they look good on just about anyone. However, keep the bags large enough – do not go for the ultimately over-size bags that will surpass your outfit and undermine your personality. This can be a total disaster as it will make you look like a huge metallic piece of leather and you don’t want that!

A much better choice for a bag to take on a semi-formal GT would be the bamboo bags. These bags can be found in almost any color but personally one finds them better in natural earthy ones like beige, brown or black. Stylized with diamantes, stones, sequins, and beads these bags come in different designs. Bamboo bags look casual yet give a graceful feel to the over-all look. Worn with a semi-formal clothes and stilettos, it definitely looks chic.

Well, that’s just about it for the bags in vogue this summer but one thing you need to be really careful about are the fake designer bags that can be found very easily these! Please do not buy bags that have Gucci and Armani drooling over them. Besides people have become so aware of fashion these days, you can tell an original from a fake. So to save yourself from embarrassment stay away from fake designer bags!