Monthly Archives: October 2016

Keeping up with Mileage


Tax deductions, we all need them, right? For many of us, miles driven for business are deductible on our tax returns. According to the IRS, beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be 54 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 57.5 cents for 2015. 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 23 cents for 2015.

An easier way to document miles is right here on our smartphone. I recently learned about this helpful app from The Rayna Corporation’s Lori Gonzalez (thank you). Lori seems to have a shortcut for just about any business task. It’s good to know people like her. The application, MILEIQ, downloadable from Google Play or The APP Store, has automatic drive detection; making it easy to capture every mile I drive – yes, automatically. Every drive can have a purpose; “a swipe is all it takes.” I will mark them as business, personal, medical, charity or any custom category I wish to label. I can log any additional details that will be needed for reporting mileage expenses to any specific job or simply mark for two categories: business and pleasure. Deducting mileage for my art business will be easy to prove. Since the IRS requires you keep a log when you are taking the deduction, there will be a lot less effort in documenting from now on.

Anything that makes life easier, and every dollar counts, right?

About Renee Bates

Renee is an artist focused on growing a newfound ability to express herself through oil painting, recently leaving her role as executive director of the non-profit, Greenways for Nashville. Renee is inspired by nature and enjoys hiking, birding, and the garden. She contributes to HerSavvy, a blog featuring writings from a group of well-informed women wishing to share their support and experience with others. Married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, enjoying flora and fauna is a family affair.

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Four Reasons to Celebrate the Battle of Hastings


October 14th was the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.  The town of Hastings is most famous these days as the setting for the television series “Foyle’s War.”  Back in 1066, William the Conqueror invaded England and fought King Harold near Hastings.  William won the battle when King Harold died after he was shot through the eye with an arrow.

There are many reasons to celebrate the Battle of Hastings today.  It truly did change the course of history.  Here are four of my favorite reasons for celebrating it.

  1. The English language changed forever when Norman French was combined with the early English spoken by Anglo-Saxons and Danes (of the Viking invasions). That’s why we have so much duplication in modern English, such as “sheep” and “mutton” for the same animal.
  2. Popular tourist sites were built by the Normans. The White Tower in the Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror.  Windsor Castle (the current queen’s favorite home), Dover Castle and Richmond Castle were all built by the Normans.  In fact, they were such prolific builders “Norman” castles are an architectural style.
  3. The Domesday Book gives us a snapshot of the economy and people of medieval England and parts of Wales. The book is a census compiled in 1086 on the orders of William the Conqueror.  Thanks to this “Great Survey” we know who lived in England, where they lived and what property they owned.
  4. The Bayeux Tapestry is a beautiful work of art that tells the story of the battle. Its style is instantly recognizable and constantly imitated as in the opening credits of the movie “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.”  Recently a group of enthusiasts created a final scene showing William’s coronation, which is missing from the original tapestry. The new addition is called the Alderney Bayeux Tapestry and it’s gorgeous.  See for yourself at

About Norma Shirk

Norma started her company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, to help employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy. Visit Norma’s website:

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The Other Side of the Couch – Are You Sleeping?

I slept.

For the past five nights I have slept through the night (with minor interruptions which did not lead to staying awake, tossing and turning, or a complete inability to go back to sleep at all).  I wake up refreshed.  I have energy during the day and don’t find myself wanting to nod off around 2 in the afternoon.  The need for a nap is gone.

This experience – the experience of normal sleep – is elusive for millions of people in this country, and indeed around the world.  Somehow the idea that sleep is a luxury has taken hold, and some people even pride themselves on how little sleep they “need”.  Many young people routinely pull “all-nighters” to study for exams, and social engagements for many millennials often don’t even begin until 10.  Many people believe that they can “catch up” on lost sleep by sleeping in on the weekend.

However, the real impact of lost sleep is a cumulative disaster.  Shift workers who are required to work at night, or worse, to change their shifts routinely, experience health-related illnesses at a significantly higher rate than the rest of the population.  Sleep experts recognize the essential process that sleep provides, which is a kind of sweeping of the brain, for lack of a better explanation.  When we sleep, our brains automatically use that time to clear the brain at a cellular level of elements that are unhealthy at a cellular level.  This has implications for many brain-related issues, and in fact may be significant in the problems with aging populations with dementia.  If sleep mechanisms stop working, it may be that toxins build up, causing damage that is unseen and invisible until a harmful process is far along.

Some of the basics of taking care of sleep involve steps that many people in our wired world may find challenging.  They include:

  1. Regular time to go to bed and wake up, even on the weekends
  2. Low or no light in the bedroom, and twilight light leading up to bedtime (an hour before)
  3. NO SCREENS an hour before bed, and no screens in the bedroom (sorry, TV addicts) – electronic devices emit a kind of light-wave that interferes with sleep processing
  4. No strenuous exercise at least two hours before bed

These basic steps make taking care of this basic need much more manageable.

Why am I excited about sleeping?  Because I haven’t!  It’s been a couple of months since I had surgery that made it difficult to breathe – the surgery was actually meant to help me breathe, but the recovery complicated that process.  These last few nights have shown me that the surgery did help, that I am close to fully recovered, and that sleep is going to be a lot easier!

Take it from me – sleep is a wonderful process that needs to be respected and preserved.  Do your level best to make it work as naturally as possible – your health depends on it.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP:

Susan is a communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, and proud native Nashvillian. She has been in private practice for over 30 years. As she says, “I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.”  Contact Susan at

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A couple of wise and savvy women gave me some advice not too long ago that has proven invaluable and I’d like to share it with all of you.  I presented the notion that, for me, it’s tough to decide on a path because choosing one direction always means saying “no,” to another.  And since I have many interests, I often feel stuck deciding which to pursue at any given moment.  But the advice these fab friends gave me has really helped me get “unstuck.”

The first piece of advice was very concrete, maybe a bit obvious but it had eluded me.  Make a list of choices and then just pick one.  The key is to give myself a timeline, six months, a year, whatever, to try something and see how it goes. The timeline helps me feel less panicky that I have to live with my plan forever and never have the chance to move on.  It also helps to alleviate the guilt I feel when I don’t complete something and gives me permission to change the plan.

The second piece of advice was more introspective, but nonetheless helpful.  For a creative type like myself, or for someone with lots of interests, choosing one thing (or two, or more) means living with loss.  Loss of the path not taken, of the possibilities not pursued.  Most people are okay with that type of loss, or just don’t see it as such.  For me, the fear of leaving something behind is paralyzing.  But allowing myself to feel the loss, to grieve the interests not pursued, actually helps keep my life in perspective.  Nobody can do everything she wants.  Whether because of lack of skill, talent, resources or opportunity, some dreams are just that: dreams that fuel our imagination and keep us excited about living.

So, how have I applied all of this sage advice?  As always, I am constantly bombarded by new and exciting ideas, new paths to consider.  Should I stay home and write?  Should I partner with a friend in a new business venture?  Should I find a more secure, stable job?  The list goes on.  But these days when my mind starts to whirl, I remember my muses and stop for a minute.  I put pen to paper to create my list of priorities, think about a timeline for each and contemplate what is a real possibility and what is merely a dream that fuels me.  I can give myself permission to take a chance, the time to keep some options open and also allow myself space to grieve the losses.

For now, I have chosen to both pursue a new business venture and continue my writing career.  For now.  Because as surely as the seasons are starting to change, so too will my interests change, and now I have some tools to work that through.  And by the way, I think my dream of singing on Broadway may just be a dream.  But…you never know…

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors.  Check it out at  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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