So far behind…

My last blog post was 4 months ago. So much has happened since then and I feel confused. Do I write a post summarizing all the important milestones of the last 4 months or do I write different post outlining the steps we have taken and the obstacles we have overcome to get to this point?  I wonder who my audience is and the purpose of this blog. I pondered that for awhile in deciding how I would “catch up” on this blog I have ignored. Am I writing to educate, entertain or is this an ego blog; purely for my own self gratification? For purposes of full disclosure, yes, this blog is to stroke my own ego and keep a record of this adventure for the future. I can only HOPE to educate and entertain along the way. So I concluded that I will jump into my wayback machine and make blog post as if I’m sitting in my home in the United States, 4 months ago, prepping for this big day.. And in Mexico,  2 months ago, on the beach enjoying a Margarita…And that long journey from Phoenix to LAX to Miami and then Colombia.  Stay tuned

Changing the Face of Diversity in Tech: Our CBC Tech 2020 African American Inclusion Plan

This is very cool!

Taskrabbit Blog

Diversity — of thought, of ethnicity, of gender, of sexual orientation — any way you define it, it’s an essential piece of shaping ideas that can impact the world in meaningful ways. In the world of technology, it’s common knowledge that we don’t have enough of it. Underrepresentation of minorities and women has run rampant within the tech industry for decades, and though companies have continued to discuss the issue, creating new roles to address disappointing hiring statistics, the problem still persists. At TaskRabbit, the importance of diversity and inclusion has been a part of our DNA since day one, with a workforce that’s 58% female, 11% African American, 5% Latino, 11% Asian, and 11% LGBTQ. Even so, we know there is so much more to do.

We always have to ask ourselves what doing more truly looks like. How can we address these issues in a way that…

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No Travel for You if you Owe money to this agency…

On February 11, 2017, while we were sleeping, our right to travel freely was revoked by the new administration. A new law took effect that allows the Internal Revenue Service to prevent American citizens from traveling abroad if they have a tax liability of $50,000 or more.

“26 USC 7345: Revocation or denial of passport in case of certain tax delinquencies

(a) In general

If the Secretary receives certification by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue that an individual has a seriously delinquent tax debt, the Secretary shall transmit such certification to the Secretary of State for action with respect to denial, revocation, or limitation of a passport pursuant to section 32101 of the FAST Act.

(b) Seriously delinquent tax debt

(1) In general

For purposes of this section, the term “seriously delinquent tax debt” means an unpaid, legally enforceable Federal tax liability of an individual-

(A) which has been assessed,

(B) which is greater than $50,000, and

(C) with respect to which-

(i) a notice of lien has been filed pursuant to section 6323 and the administrative rights under section 6320 with respect to such filing have been exhausted or have lapsed, or

(ii) a levy is made pursuant to section 6331.”

A, B and C must occur before the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service may send a certification to the Secretary to revoke or limit your passport. Some exceptions apply, such as:

  1. You are paying pursuant to an agreement to which you are a party under section 6159 or 7122 of the code, or
  2. You requested a due process hearing or one is pending. Basically you requested a hearing arguing that you either don’t owe the debt, you don’t owe that amount, or you were never given proper notice, or
  3. You filed a joint return because you are/were married and you request that you, as a spouse/ex-spouse, be given relief for numerous reasons under section 6015 (b) and (c) of the code.

This new tax law affects U.S. citizens living within the states and abroad. Make sure your tax liability is satisfied or you have a written repayment agreement and that you file your taxes each year. Right now the amount is $50K but that is subject to change. So protect yourself and your family. Stay diligent with your taxes for you and your businesses. If you have not filed your taxes for prior years, now is the time to do so. I’m sure the next revocation law will pertain to student loan debt, so watch out for that as well.

[Click here for full text of the law]

 

Travel Deal

Costa Rica is famous for its fabulous beaches and green pastures.  It is a very calm and relaxing country. Plenty of horseback tours, mountain biking, boogie boarding, snorkeling, diving, kayaking or scenic driving.

playa-blanca-manzanillo-overall-1

Groupon is having a one of a kind deal on a trip to Costa Rica from one of these cities:

Fort Lauderdale
Orlando
Chicago
Dallas
New York City
Houston
Washington, DC
Buffalo
Atlantic City
Philadelphia
Los Angeles
San Francisco

costarica_panoramic_v_1

The details of this Groupon deal is below:

  • Daily breakfast at all hotels
  • Guided Rainforest hike in Arenal; surcharge applies for the week of Easter
  • Economy automatic car rental for duration of trip

Hotel (7 nights)

All of the above from $729.00 and is based on Double Occupancy.

Click the link below for this amazing deal

Groupon

Information is from Groupon website. The writer of this blog does not receive a commission on this deal.

Social Media: The ultimate esteem booster

Before social media, I had a problem with every part of my body. Day to day, I loved and hated different parts of my body depending on the lighting in my bathroom, mirror angle or what I was wearing. But now that I post pictures daily, now that I show my body with no filter, now I love and appreciate every part of my body. At first I didn’t understand why that was. Am I that vain or so self conscious that my love for self is gauged by how others take to me, how they view me? I didn’t think I was “that girl”.

Then it hit me: So what if I am “that girl”. So what if I enjoy the likes and the comments I get on my pictures, on my post and status. So what if I like attention from random people who wouldn’t recognize me on the street but took a second out of their day to like my photo. OR the family and friends that I handpicked to view all my post and pictures because I know they won’t say anything negative. What’s wrong with that? If you don’t step into the world of social media, and you have a problem with your body image, you are only going to hear the voices in your head. You will only hear the self defeating, passive-aggressive commentary you are so used to hearing throughout your life. If you don’t come from a place of constant love, attention, reassurance and comfort then yeah, its okay to make a world that you control, where “everyone knows your name”.

And it will be difficult, at first, to look pass the perfect body images that are displayed on social media but you and your friends and family don’t look like that. You are all beautiful though but I suggest you don’t add Beyonce, Jlo and Nikki Minaj to your twitter, gram and facebook feed. Just add your beautiful friends and family. That is the 1 area of your life, where you can control the images and the negativity that you are subjected to. The 1 area where you can delete and MUTE people who you just don’t want to hear from.

You got that judgey sister with the selective amnesia on her own shit: DELETE

You got that passive-aggressive parent: DELETE

You got that friend that post every single police killing and it brings you down: DELETE

You got that guy friend that post pictures of big booty girls all day: DELETE

You need to control your own narrative in this world that you make up for yourself. Keep your social media limited to people who love you and enjoy what you enjoy. If you post a pic on instagram, use hashtags to draw people in that like what you like. If you have a facebook page, keep that page limited to people that share your viewpoint, that love you and support you. If you have a twitter account, keep it light. Share positive things that can be retweeted and liked. If you have this wonderful  Wordpress blog, then write. Write your thoughts and feelings daily. Use the categories and tags to gain support for your blog. Make it public for all to see or private; private just for you.

AND if you feel that your legs are not slim enough, your ass is not big enough, your hair is not curly enough, your skin is not clear enough or your stomach is not flat enough, share those thoughts and then, Share your photos!! Someone will like it!

Share it with me! I will love it!

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Kill Time and Have Fun

Ninja Mole Smash is a fun, interactive game for kids and adults of all ages. The objective is to smash the ninja moles determined to take eat your crops with your hammer. The best mode is Hostage. In Hostage mode, you must hit the Ninja and avoid hitting the hostages […]

via Best Game on Google Play — Law School Trivia App

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men

“No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it.” – Robert Burns

To determine what countries we will visit during the first year abroad, we researched flight amounts, visa requirements, safety and housing.

Visa Requirements – All the countries have a strict visa requirement and if they find you in the country without a visa or pass the time you can stay there without a visa, you can be deported or imprisoned.  We don’t want to stay in a country with a strict visa requirement during the first year of our time abroad. South America and the Caribbean are just as flexible as the United States and the cost of living is cheaper.

Plane ticket prices – The ticket prices, of course, was the most important factor in deciding where we would spend our first year. It made sense to remain on one continent before moving on to the next but the cost of moving within the continent was more expensive than we anticipated. Of course these prices are speculative. We plugged in some potential travel dates and countries to determine prices. We realized that a flight from Colombia to Brazil, one way, is over 800.00. We had to find out if Brazil is a country that is on the must-see list or if we can pass on it lol. Surprisingly, our list went down by half once we started looking ticket prices.

Safety – Of course safety is an important factor.It took a lot to maneuver the online propaganda and fear. Every country but America is dangerous of course. And only the cities with white skin people are the safest. So we decided to look at claims of kidnapping of Americans, how these kidnappings took place and the warnings issued by the embassies.  We looked at violent crimes against tourist and police behavior. More importantly, we spoke with people who lived in these countries to get first hand experiences.

Housing – This category was easy because of airbnb.com and homeaway.com. However, in the Caribbean countries, the cost tripled on these websites.  So we looked at deals on resorts. Surprisingly, when we weighed in the cost of food and entertainment, living on the resort was cheaper.

We narrowed our list:

COLOMBIA – First stop. We don’t need a visa if we stay for 90 days or less. Medellin is pretty safe and we found a 6 bedroom house on airbnb.com for 1k a month.

bogotanight

Panama – travel from Colombia to Panama on a plane is 100.00 each or we can take a bus. It is riddled with petty crimes but very little kidnapping claims. Some violence but no more than America. We found a 5 bedroom home on airbnb.com for 950.00 a month.  No Visa is required and we can stay for 6 months, but we are only staying for 2.

panama

Costa Rica- beautiful and very safe country. Here we plan to settle into a rural area where we can pluck fruit off the trees. It will be a relaxing 30 days, staying in a 5 bedroom house, with no A/C lol for 750.00 a month. The bus runs only on the weekday and it stops at 4PM. No Visa is required but we will need a Yellow Fever vaccine since we are coming from Panama and Colombia.

costa-rica

Jamaica – no Visa requirement for 6 months. In Jamaica we are staying at a resort for 45 days, may extend to 2 months. The owners of rental homes in Jamaica charge an arm and a leg to rent their homes to travelers. We saw a few plantation style homes for rent lol. Kinda pricey and creepy, not really something I can stay in for that long. Safety in Jamaica is similar to the other countries. Beware of pickpockets,  be safe at night, don’t travel alone, etc etc. We are looking forward to exploring the island.

jamaica-firefly

Dominican Republic- a tourist card and a valid passport is required for the Dominican Republic. We are hoping to stay for about 3 months but we are slated for 2 right now. During our last visit to DR we made contact with a developer who purchased and renovated apartments there. We will need two separate units but the price for a 3 bedroom is 650 a month and a 2 bedroom, 550 a month. It is a gated community in Puerto Plata. Puerto Plata is relatively safe. My biggest concern is being mistaken for a Haitian and the prostitution that is legal there (I have sons) but we love DR and want the kids to experience this lovely country.

dominican-republic-nature-and-scenery__banner-large

After the first year, we head to Canada and then Africa!!

Flight Mode

We purchased our tickets to Colombia! Yeah!!! We spent weeks going through all the articles and newsletters discussing tips and tricks to finding the cheapest ticket. We browsed through all of the major flight websites, priceline, cheaptickets, expedia, etc and finally found a path that eased all of our concerns.  I noticed something interesting about these websites that I never noticed before.  For example: cheaptickets and expedia have a limitation on the amount of tickets you can purchase at one time. That limit is 6 and there are no guarantees that you can get your family on the same flight if you need more. Priceline allows for the maximum of 8 tickets.   If you buy directly from the airline websites, you have the same issue. You can’t buy more than 6 tickets online, you must call it in.

Then of course the issue of appeasing to all concerned in the group. Some were concerned about the amount of time we spend on one plane. So the more layovers, the better. I was concerned about flying within Colombia. I wanted a flight from Miami directly to Medellin. That was difficult. All the cheap tickets flew into Bogota and then to Medellin.  I was concerned about taking a small plane with all of us and our bags. My concern is not based on any hard facts, just an overactive imagination.

In my mind the plane looked like this:

5794620-3x2-940x627

The rest of the crew expressed concerns about the layover so we picked a ticket with a 10 hour layover in Miami. Figured we could check out a new city. So finally we found the perfect cheap tickets lol. We drive from Phx to California. Then from California, we fly back to Phoenix. From Phoenix we fly to Miami, where we wait for 10 hours before heading to Colombia.

2 days later…

An email from Priceline changing our tickets. NOW we are flying from California to Phoenix where we wait here for 10 hours to board a plane for Miami. From Miami, we will have 45 minute delay before we board to Colombia. All of this saves us $2400.00 in ticket prices BUT that trip is going to be a beast.

Pretty sure we will arrive in Colombia like this:

hard-night-party-was