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Easy Ways to Save on Your Taxes

Taxes

Resourceful taxpayers will always look for strategies to reduce yearly tax obligations. You should see the positive side. Many options remain open for Americans hoping to cut back on taxes or probably add to the number of refunds without breaking the rule of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Remember the revenue agency modifies its policies time and again, so deductions and credits also vary.

Know the Fundamentals

Ignorance of how things should work can cause you problems in the long run. To avoid this predicament, learn the essentials of federal tax legislation which includes saving tips. By claiming more deductions, you can get more refunds once the tax year ends. Spouses who get married or have a new baby also qualify for extra tax breaks. The government allows certain concessions like expenses taken away from gross income to lower taxable earnings. Other often- ignored tax cuts consist of deductions from the following:

  • Relocation expenses
  • Transportation costs while doing volunteer work
  • Payments in looking for employment
  • Charitable contributions

Eligibility for Earned Income Tax Credits

This type of credit benefits taxpayers with low and moderate incomes. The IRS laid down the guidelines for taxpayers who can claim Earned Income Credits:

  • Receive regular earned income
  • United States citizen or resident alien for the whole tax year
  • Hold a valid Social Security Number for the taxpayer, spouses (for joint filing), and qualifying dependents on your returns
  • Investment income must no go beyond $3, 450
  • File a tax return with the following status: Married (filing together); Single; Head of Household; or Widower even if the IRS does not require you to submit returns.

Contribute to Individual Retirement Accounts

Pay contributions to your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or 401K. The tax due depends on adjusted gross income (AGI). You need to make adjustments, or you owe the government more. Reduce the overall amount by depositing pre-tax contributions into tax-deductible IRA. You decrease AGI as well as the amount you owe (taxes) by increasing contributions to your 401K. Two years ago, maximum 401K and Individual Retirement Account contribution limits consisted of $5, 500 and $18, 000 in that order for taxpayers (49 years old and below).

Anybody with age 50 years and above can add $1, 000 to the IRA cap and $6, 000 to the 401K ceiling. You do not pay capital tax gains while your money grows annually. The IRS does not require payment of income tax on any money withdrawn from these accounts. However, you fall under a lower income tax category upon retirement. Thus, you pay a reduced rate on these withdrawn funds.

Save for Retirement

Think short-term. Increasing your retirement contributions voluntarily while getting a lower take-home pay can disrupt your finances. Nonetheless, you get a couple of benefits from this approach. First, you augment retirement benefits. Second, you bring down tax burdens. The money you channel into specific retirement accounts means tax deductions with certain limitations.

Fund your Flexible Spending Account

Take advantage of the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) that employers offer to reduce your tax payment. The Internal Revenue Service permits channeling of tax-free USD from your paycheck directly into your FSA annually. Last year, the IRS-prescribed limit reached $2, 600. This year, the threshold increased to $2, 650. However, you need to spend that money during the current calendar year for medical and dental bills, daily first-aid stuff, pregnancy testing kits, acupuncture (needle treatment), or breast pumps. Your dependents also qualify. In fact, individual employers allow employees to carry a maximum of $5, 000 to the following year.

Funding for Dependent Care FSA

The DFCSA refers to a pre-tax benefit account for paying off entitled dependent care services including pre-school, summer camp, (before or after) school programs, and child or grownup daycare. This employer-sponsored scheme also reduces your tax bill. The IRS excludes a maximum of $5, 000 from your pay that the employer will redirect to the Dependent Care account. It benefits parents with children below 13 years of age. Make sure to check out the plan’s documents carefully.

Use Health Savings Accounts

Health Savings Accounts stand for tax-exempt programs utilized in paying costs of hospitalization. You can ease your tax load if you own a high-deductible health care policy by contributing to the HSA. All contributions qualify for tax reductions with tax-free withdrawals provided you earmark them for authorized medical expenditures. Last year, the ceiling for contributions stood at $3, 400 for the self-only, high-deductible health cover. The cap for 2018 increased to $3, 450. For family coverage, the 2017 rate stayed at $6, 750 and rose to $6, 900 this year. Many employers offer the HSA, but you also have the choice of opening a private account in an accredited bank.

Become a Full-Pledged Entrepreneur

You can also save on taxes by starting your enterprise. Business owners can control their tax payments. If you are an entrepreneur, you may keep more funds in the company instead of declaring the money as revenues. Business proprietors also consider specific activities as expenditures. Tax specialists offer services to assist startups or small enterprises in dealing with the rules of the IRS on certified expenses. Neophytes will need professionals to guide them through the long and tedious processes. Part-time or outsourced work provides substantial tax deductions for the following:

  • Office supplies
  • Vehicle mileage
  • Computers
  • Phone services
  • Internet access
  • Business travel and meals
  • Part of home utility bills

The Broad Objective

Look at the bottom line with the magic words being SAVINGS and TAXES. Try to prepare your tax returns instead of hiring an accountant or bookkeeper unless you have a flourishing business with lots of requirements and financial concerns. You can save a great deal by performing this function than pay another person. Besides, you need not get stressed about things like beating tax filing deadlines. Review the guidelines for the Internal Revenue Service published online. You will surely learn plenty of tips from the agency’s website.

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Hops & Props 16th Annual Craft Beer Festival

Every February, craft beer enthusiasts look forward to the Hops & Props Craft Beer Festival at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. This year the event changed hands and the Galaxy Events Company organized the event. Even though the homebrew clubs and some local breweries were absent from the event, the festival was more spread out and showcased a few new vendors. Here are highlights from this year’s event.

Cryo Cream

Looking to add a little sweetness to your day? Cryo cream uses liquid nitrogen to whip up ice cream, caffeine and other delicious confections. Watch your favorite frozen treats emerge from the cool smoke. Cryo Cream is truly revolutionizing ice cream making and is available for special events and parties.

Maple Craft Foods

Breakfast lovers were able to snag some sticky and sweet treats from the Maple Craft Foods booth. Some of items for sale included Blueberry, Salted Caramel, and Bourbon Barrel Maple syrups, maple candies, fresh waffles and pancake and waffle mixes.

Bra Pong

I’m sure you’ve heard of beer pong before or even played in college or at a house party, but have you heard of Bra Pong? Pure Romance was spicing up the game promoting their parties and line of lotions, candles and other products, perfect for bachelorette parties.

New Breweries

Some new breweries present at Hops & Props included Braven Brewing Company from Bushwick, Icon NYC from Astoria and Five Boroughs Brewing Company from Brooklyn. Mill House Brewing from Poughkeepsie and Rootstock Ciderworks represented upstate New York. Mill House Brewing Company poured Cucumber Blessing, this beer is trip to the spa in your mouth. If you are looking for something light and refreshing to drink when the weather gets warmer, definitely pick up a six pack of these. Six Harbors Brewing from Huntington poured their Bay Hill Blues, which was finished off with a few fresh blueberries; watch out Blue Point Brewing, a new blueberry beer making a splash on the local scene.

 

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Unique Valentine’s Day Date Ideas on Long Island

Valentine’s Day is a romantic day to spend with your significant other. Many people go to an overpriced dinner, crowded movie and buy red roses and a heart shaped box of candy, so cliché. This year surprise your Valentine with one of the unique date ideas below.

Be Mine Valentine’s Day Beer and Wine Couples Tour

Date: February 18-11am
Cost: $160 per couple
Website: LIBeerBus.com
Phone: (631) 913-3817

If you’re a craft beer-loving couple, join Tapped Enterprises for a Valentine’s Day Beer and Wine tour. This five hour tour includes round trip transportation, a wine tasting at Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard, a beer tasting at Jamesport Farm Brewery, gourmet fromage from American Cheese Shop, decadent chocolates, a couple photo and Valentine’s Day candy.

The Cast of Beatlemania – Beatles Love Songs

Date: February 14-8:00pm
Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts
2 East Main Street
Smithtown, NY 11787
Phone: 631-724-3700
Cost: $50
Sing along to the most famous love songs written by The Beatles performed by the cast of Beatlemania. Hold your Valentine’s hand and let these Brit Rockers serenade you with their most iconic hits.

Shakespeare In Love

Date(s): February 3 – March 4
Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts
2 East Main Street
Smithtown, NY 11787
Phone: 631-724-3700
Cost: $20 – $35
The highly acclaimed movie Shakespeare In Love (a film that won seven Academy Awards) has been adapted from screen to stage. Sweep your date off her feet with a Shakespeare’s sonnet and take her to see this timeless romantic tale.

View the Planets & Moon through a Telescope

Date(s): December 18, 2017 through May 3, 2018 7pm – 8:30pm
Northport Harbor Park
Bottom End of Main St. at Woodbine Ave.
Northport, NY 11731
Phone: 631-486-4818
Cost: Free Event Website: Visit telescope.hereweb.com for any last-minute cancellations
There’s nothing more romantic that gazing up at the stars. Northport Harbor Park offers free telescope gazing and lessons on how to navigate the night sky. Go to Staracle.com and you can even name a star after your date for free.

Cross-Country Skiing in the Parks

Date(s): December 15, 2017 – April 30, 2018 1pm – 5pm
Heckscher Park
Prime Ave
Huntington, NY 11746 (Map)
Phone: 631-486-4818 (Call first, they only do this is there is sufficient snow.)
Cost: Free event
Spend Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart on the slopes. Learn how to cross-country ski on Long Island from an experienced ski instructor. Avoid lift lines, long road trips and expensive tickets. Master the ski basics including walking and turning. Equipment will be provided.

Long Island 2018 Valentine’s ChocoVino Chocolate Wine Sensational Tasting Experience

Date: February 14-8pm
Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead
431 E Main Street
Riverhead, NY 11901
Phone: 631-208-9200 x 426
Cost: $195.00 plus tax per couple ages  21+ (reservations required)

Spend your Valentine’s Day enjoying a five-course dinner, sipping on wine and indulging in sweets at the Valentine’s ChocoVino Chocolate Wine Sensational Tasting Experience at the Long Island Aquarium. Satisfy your sweet tooth with decadent desserts while viewing soothing sea exhibits.

 

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How to Celebrate Galentine’s Day with Your BFFs

Galentine’s Day, a holiday for ladies celebrating ladies, was created on an episode of Parks and Recreation. The concept is to show love for your gal pals on February 13, the day before you spend Valentine’s Day with your spouse or boyfriend. This holiday went from fiction to tradition, finding a niche among real-life women. Commemorate your relationship with your BFFs and kick it breakfast style just like they did in Parks and Recreation. Plan an epic brunch for your girl squad with the helpful tips below.

 

Girls Brunch

Brunch is the best type of party, it is early enough for everyone to attend and still have time later in the day for whatever they need to do. There is no better way to start the day than enjoying a good meal and drinks with your girls.

 

Invites

Send out an e-invite to everyone you want to attend and to get a headcount on how many ladies are coming. Thoroughly plan every detail to guarantee success. Make lists and be meticulous about every item being handled.

 

Dress Code

Tell your friends to dress comfortably so they can sit on giant floor pillows (like Beyoncé’s house on MTV Cribs) for more intimate conversations or they can dress up and you provide adequate seating for everyone.

 

Tablescape

Create a beautiful tablescape using greenery from the backyard or a local nursery. Break out the china and silverware and use a pink festive tablecloth and napkins – cloth, not vinyl or paper. You can even put down place cards so everyone knows where to sit.

 

Drinks

Mimosas are a standard for brunch, but you can create your own signature drink. Your girls will appreciate the thought and personalization that went into creating your cocktail. As each guest arrives, greet her with a glass of champagne and tell her why she is special to you.

 

Food

Put out a nice spread of options for your friends. Purchase assorted canapés, pre-made frittatas, sausages, assorted breads and fresh fruit.

 

Set the Atmosphere

Create a festive atmosphere, by bringing the outdoors in by filling your party space with greenery and flowers. Make a playlist that everyone will enjoy and remind them of special times and adventures spent together.

Load an electronic frame with assorted pictures from the various occasions you have gone to together and have it streaming on a large screen TV or a blank wall. This will remind everyone of all the fun times spent together.

 

Gifts

In advance, pull names and ask each person to bring a gift to the person whose name they pulled to shows how special she is to her. Present gifts to each other, with each person sharing the reason she chose the gift for her friend. Most likely, you will need a box of tissues because it might get emotional.

Follow the tips above and plan a Galentine’s Day that you and your girls will treasure for many years to come.

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Romantic Restaurants on Long Island

This Valentine’s Day, sweep your sweetheart off her feet, by taking her to one of the most romantic restaurants on Long Island with great atmosphere and outstanding cuisine and cocktails.

Barto Restaurant

1024 Northern Blvd

Roslyn, NY 11576

(516) 277-2828

Barto’s menu is influenced by Italian, French, Asian and Spanish cuisine. They use fresh seasonal organic meats and produce, fresh herbs and the best spices from around the world to make delicious steak and seafood. They have specialty craft cocktails and a large variety of wines by the glass or bottle. Their dining room is sustainably designed with reclaimed and energy efficient materials. Your date will truly be wowed by Barto’s food and scenery.

 

Jean- Georges at Topping Rose House 

1 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike

Bridgehampton, NY 11932

(631) 537-0870

Topping Rose House is a casual yet contemporary restaurant located in the Hamptons. They are open year-round and serve farm-to-table cuisine using seasonal ingredients grown on the premises as well as locally sourced fish and meats. The restaurant is located inside a luxury hotel and has a pool and spa as well as other amenities if you are looking to extend your date.

 

Jedediah Hawkins Inn

400 S Jamesport Ave

Riverhead, NY 11901

(631) 722-2900

Jedediah Hawkins Inn is an elegant boutique hotel with a restaurant and speakeasy. They carry the freshest local seafood, herbs and produce from their garden and eggs from their chickens. They have a large selection of local wines and micro brews in their romantic yet laid back atmosphere. Plan a sleepover date and enjoy all that Jedediah Hawkins Inn has to offer.

 

Grey Horse Tavern

291 Bayport Ave, Bayport, NY 11705

(631) 472-1868

Grey Horse Tavern is a farm to table restaurant that uses the best local, seasonal, sustainable, and humanely raised ingredients to make their hand-crafted cuisine. The carry a selection of the finest wines and craft beers from Long Island as well as worldwide. They serve up creative house-made cocktails made with ingredients grown in house. If you want quality food that will not break the bank, Grey Horse Tavern is the place to go.

 

The North Fork Table & Inn

57225 Main Rd

Southold, NY 11971

(631) 765-0177

The North Fork Table & Inn is rated Long Island’s best Inn & Restaurant. For Valentine’s Day, the restaurant creates a lovely shared dining experience. The menu consists of a steak for two, along with several sides, including green pea hummus with taro chips and risotto fritters.

 

Autentico

124 South St

Oyster Bay, NY 11771

(516) 922-2212

Autentico makes Italian cuisine that is Mediterranean inspired using farm fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Their Valentine’s Day dinner menu consists of crab cocktail with wasabi sauce, risotto with lobster strawberries, and balsamic vinegar of Modena, branzino with seasonal vegetables and a saffron sauce. For dessert, they have a traditional Neapolitan baba ‘au rum, topped with pastry cream and fresh pomegranate.

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Best Chocolate Shops on Long Island

chocolatier

In 1861, John Cadbury created the first heart-shaped box of chocolates and this Valentine’s Day tradition continues today. During the month of February, many of us are focused on romance and finding the perfect Valentine’s Day gifts. This year don’t settle for a card store box of generic chocolates, surprise your date with the best chocolates and confectionary treats made locally on Long Island.

Chocolate Works

916 Old Country Road
Garden City, NY 11530
(516) 833-9198

2350 Merrick Road
Bellmore, NY 11710
(516) 900-1119

371 South Oyster Bay Road
Plainview, NY 11803
(516) 252-3855

6401 Jericho Turnpike
Commack, NY 11725
(631) 486-8888

143B Main Street
Stony Brook, NY 11790
(631) 675-9366

Chocolate Works is known for their decadent chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolates and truffles. They also have handmade milk and dark chocolate heart boxes, perfect you’re your Valentine. For Valentine’s Day, they make a box, made of Belgian chocolate that is filled with delicious candies. If you are looking for a non- chocolate treat, consider a snapshots in sugar, they are a sweet way to capture a special moment in your relationship.

Kron Chocolatier

24 Middle Neck Rd

Great Neck Plaza, NY 11021

(516) 829-5550

Kron Chocolatier uses an old Hungarian family recipe to make their chocolates. They offer a plethora of delectable sweets that are all handmade and hand-packaged. For Valentine’s Day, indulge your sweetheart with long stem gourmet chocolate roses, edible chocolate heart boxes filled with gourmet chocolates, Budapest Truffles and solid chocolate lips in milk, dark or white chocolate.

Schwartz Candies

169 Voice Rd

Carle Place, NY 11514

(516) 294-2831

Schwartz Candies have been featured on the Food Network TV show Unwrapped. They were founded in 1939 and still dip their chocolates traditionally by hand. Their marshmallow heart is dipped in semisweet chocolate and come in boxes with eight assorted flavors, vanilla flavored marshmallows or vanilla flavored marshmallows with a caramel bottom. If you are looking for an eclectic mix, Schwartz’s also has assorted miniature hearts filled with caramels, almonds, apricots, creams and truffles.

Emile’s Candies

229 Merrick Rd

Oceanside, NY 11572

(516) 766-4402

Emile’s Candies is a third generation, 50 year old establishment, making their candies the old fashioned way, to ensure freshness and quality. They have a large assortment of heart-shaped Valentine’s Day boxes that you can fill with chocolate dipped creams, crisps, crunches, nuts, caramels, fluffy marshmallows and exotic fruits.

Bon Bons Chocolatier

319 Main Street

Huntington, NY 11743

(631) 549-1059

Bon Bons Chocolatier have been creating handmade chocolates for over 30 years in small batches that are fork-dipped by hand. Everything is made fresh to order including their signature chocolates and unique shaped candies. Make Bon Bons your one stop shop for Valentine’s Day, besides candy, they also carry cards, gifts and seasonal tableware.

Morgan’s Bay Confections

9 Post Place

Babylon, NY 11702

(631) 224-5959

Morgan’s Bay Confections in Babylon is well-equipped to fulfill all of your chocolate needs. If you cannot visit their shop, they can even ship goodies to you. For Valentine’s Day, try their decadent stuffed strawberries, dipped in chocolate and stuffed with cannoli cream.

Lazar’s Chocolate

350 Wheatley Plaza

Greenvale, NY 11548

516-484-1987

Lazar’s Chocolate family recipe dates back over 70 years ago to Europe and is still being used today. Surprise your Valentine with a Chocolate Non Pareil Heart Pop made with a Swiss-style of chocolate. This oversized milk chocolate lollipop is coated with beads of sugar for color and crunch. Looking for something more traditional? Try their milk chocolate heart candies, chocolate lips or a heart box filled with chocolates.

Sayville Chocolatier

6 Main Street

Sayville, NY 11782

(631) 589-6713

Sayville Chocolatier has been Sayville’s Premier Chocolate Shop since 1980. For Valentine’s Day they have fresh dipped chocolate strawberries, chocolate hearts and baskets. One of their stand-out items is their chocolate high heels filled with luscious truffles. If your Valentine has allergies, they also carry some nut-free sweets so he or she won’t feel excluded on this special day.

Afresh Approach LLC

82 Park Ave

Bay Shore, NY 11706

(631) 647-3535

Afresh Approach provides a wide selection of gourmet candies and delectable treats. Every treat is made by hand the old fashion way with loving care by experienced confectioners. They craft the best personalized chocolates with the themes and flavors that you desire. If you and your Valentine are expecting wedding bells, they are also known for their handcrafted wedding favors.

Kerri’s Kandies Inc

2160 NY-112

Coram, NY 11727

(631) 696-4947

Kerri’s Kandies is a family owned and operated store that uses pure couverture chocolate for all of their handmade creations. For Valentine’s Day, consider their chocolate puppy, truffles, chocolate dipped fruit (including strawberries) and large variety of fudge. If you are looking to make your own chocolates, Kerri’s carries chocolate melting wafers, molds, sticks, bags and custom printed ribbon for your DIY needs.

Ralph Rotten’s Candy & Nut Shoppe

2425 Middle Country Rd

Centereach, NY 11720

(631) 981-3051

Ralph Rotten’s Candy & Nut Shoppe has been operating under new ownership since November, but they are still whipping up the same delicious confections like they have the past 31 years. One local favorite is their chocolate covered gummy bears that are coated in rich Belgian chocolate. They offer a variety of Valentine’s Day baskets, trays and a pretzel boat filled with an assortment of goodies.

Kilwins Babylon Village

130 Deer Park Ave

Babylon, NY 11702

(631) 482-8551

Kilwins Port Jefferson

109D Main St

Port Jefferson, NY 11777

(631) 509-6555

Kilwins provides their customers with high quality products and a friendly atmosphere. Some of their trademark chocolate items include their hand dipped chocolate strawberries, Mackinac Island Fudge and chocolate dipped pretzels. If you’re craving something sweet that isn’t chocolate, try Kilwins Original Recipe ice cream. They have over 40 different flavors and even make ice cream cakes too, a perfect way to cool off after a hot date.

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Tips for Buying Jewelry for Valentine’s Day

jewelry

If you have a Valentine, you probably feel pressured to find the perfect gift. Jewelry is a sure way to make your sweetheart feel special. Here are some key tips to help you make this special purchase.

Know Your Valentine’s Style

Keep in mind your Valentine’s unique style, when shopping for jewelry.

  • Observe and know what he/she looks for in jewelry
  • Take note of what he/she currently wears
  • Listen for comments about pieces that he/she wants
  • Notice reactions to jewelry he/she sees on others and in advertisements
  • Talk to your significant other’s friends and family to see if he/she has mentioned anything

Learn the Latest Trends

Educate yourself on the hottest jewelry trends. Tune into commercials, flip through magazines, and scan ads on social media. Browse online, but make purchases in person so you know exactly what you are getting.

Do Your Research

Once you know your Valentine’s style and the current trends, it’s time to research individual pieces.

How to make the perfect purchase

  • Don’t buy the first thing you see
  • Ask questions about the source of the metal and stones
  • Be wary of vendors who try to pressure you into spontaneous purchases
  • Compare to see which retailers offer the same or similar products at better prices or higher quality
  • Read customer reviews about the product, the store, and the designer

Stick to Your Budget and Negotiate
Don’t break the bank finding jewelry for your Valentine. Jewelers have a large supply in preparation for the holiday demand, which means they are focused on sealing a deal.

How to avoid overspending and falling in a sales trap

  • Decide on your budget and stick to it.
  • Avoid sale items; this is a way of getting rid of low quality and outdated merchandise.
  • Negotiate. When you find a piece you want to buy, find an imperfection so you can bargain. Say that there are other pieces at other stores that you are interested in at lower prices. Utilize this technique: offer a price lower than you are actually willing to pay. Then, offer a price you are actually willing to pay. This will seem like a much better sell compared to your initial offer.

Know the Return and Refund Policy
No matter how much research you do, or how great of a selection, there is always a chance that your gift might not be the right fit for your Valentine. Sometimes it’s because of style or it might break immediately. Know the vender’s return and refund policy before purchasing. Avoid sale-priced items since they are often final sale. With jewelry, you might be offered store credit rather than cash refund. Make sure there are other things at that store your Valentine would enjoy. Know the time frame for refunds or returns and the reasons you are permitted to return an item. Sometimes, stores will only honor returns for damages, not for dissatisfaction.

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Date Night Outfits for Him & Her

Date night is just around the corner and you may have the place and activities picked out, what about your outfit? Have you ever considered a “him & her” duo idea?

Be that fashionable couple that knows how to make a lasting impression. Step out in style with these date night outfit ideas

 

A Fancy Date

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear fancy date night? Typically, it’s being wined and dined at an elegant restaurant. This is a dressy date night and your outfit needs to reflect it.

You can never go wrong with that little black dress hanging in the back of your closet, it’s sexy, but classic. Black dresses are chic and slimming, if your dress has ruching, it will hide imperfections and hug your curves. Combine with understated jewelry, such as a dainty necklace, a bracelet, and earrings. Grab your pumps or strappy heels, a matching black clutch, and you’re ready to go.

A fitted dress, or a bodysuit with a knee-length skirt or a pencil skirt and heels all are fabulous looks. A tulle skirt would also work if you want to embrace your inner Carrie Bradshaw. Once you have selected your outfit, pick out your footwear and jewelry. Add different textures and prints to a monochromatic outfit by adding bold shoes and accessories. Make a statement, but remember balance. A velvet slip dress, with a faux fur jacket and black sock booties is also a trending outfit, perfect for date night.

A fancy date outfit for a man is a well-tailored suit, the most classic look in fashion history. A fresh, crisp shirt beneath the suit jacket is a must, keep in mind solids are better received than stripes. Men can even wear a turtleneck under their suit jacket during winter months. A black pair of polished Oxfords and a nice watch will help complete this look. Be sure to wear waterproof shoes or boots during cold, wet months.

 

The Him & Her Outfit

When it comes to turning any outfit into “his & hers,” remember color coordination. If you wear a black dress, he should wear a black suit. Are you wearing silver jewelry? He can wear a silver tie. A pocket square can also match the color of a dress. Remember to wear colors and styles that look best on you.

If you’re trying to stray from black, darker shades like navy, burgundy and charcoal are perfect for men’s suits and blazers. This will also ensure you don’t get turned away at the door at fine establishments.

The Comfy-Casual Date

A comfy-casual date includes dinner and a movie, ice cream, touring a museum, etc. Of course, you don’t want to dress too fancy for these situations, but you also want to keep it classy.

If you’re a skirt-wearing girl, you have a few different options. Keep it casual but chic with a skater skirt, an A-line or a button-up mini skirt. Combine with a bodysuit or blouse, stockings, booties and a leather jacket. If you’d prefer pants, try a pair of skinny jeans and a blouse or bodysuit. Pair with thigh high boots or booties for a stylish winter date night look. Accessories such as a purse, necklace, and rings will bring the look together.

For men, a casual date look can be achieved with a button-up shirt or a sweater and a pair of dark washed designer jeans. A nice pair of sneakers is also a good idea, especially if there is walking involved.

 

The Him & Her Outfit

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake wore matching denim outfits 16 years ago that are still being talked about today. Consider colors and styles when planning him & her outfit combinations.

Got tickets to a rock show? Wear matching leather jackets. Have daytime date? Wear matching denim or bomber jackets. Going to a craft beer bar? Wear flannel shirts and boots. Going to a comic convention? Wear matching superhero shirts. Looking for an outfit that is less extreme? If you’re wearing a blue skirt, he could wear a blue shirt, or you could wear a black blouse or bodysuit to match his black jeans.

 

The Activity Date

Activity dates (taking a scenic walk, ice-skating, going to a sporting event) tend to be more laid back. Typically you don’t have to worry about dress codes with these dates, but always remember good hygiene. A showered, perfumed date with fresh breath will always be better received than half-hearted preparation.

Women have lots of options when it comes to dressing for a casual date; it all depends on the activity and your personal style. Skinny high-rise jeans look great paired with a casual bodysuit or crop top and a pair of sneakers or flat boots. You’ll want sturdy, practical shoes with this outfit. For men, activity outfits are easy and fairly standard. A worn pair of jeans, t-shirt, plaid shirt, bomber jacket or denim jacket and sneakers all work. 

 

The Him & Her Outfit

Activity outfits should be cute and comfortable. If you are going ice-skating wear matching accessories like hats, scarves and gloves. If you are going to a sporting event, you can wear matching jerseys and jeans. Have a workout or physical date planned? Try matching athleisure outfits. Going to play tennis? You can wear matching white sneakers.

If matching isn’t your thing, you could wear graphic tees clothing that finishes each other’s phrases, or simply go together. If you want to coordinate but be less obvious matching, wear complementing jackets, the same style sneakers in different colors, or themed graphic tees. You both could wear matching or similar hats, such as beanies or baseball caps.

There are many ways to create “his & hers” outfits for a unique date night. Hopefully, this article provided a few ideas or at least sparked some creativity for your own date nights. Have fun creatively expressing your relationship and having fun on date night. Go Team Sexy!

 

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Ways to Follow-Through with Your New Year’s Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

Making a New Year’s resolutions is easy; sticking with it is the real challenge. Studies show that only 8 percent of people actually reach their goals. However, with the right game plan, you can achieve your resolutions. Here are some helpful tips on how to follow-through on your New Year’s Resolutions.

Create a Plan

Many people set resolutions that are too broad, for example, lose weight, stay fit & healthy, get organized, spend less & save more money, etc. Instead of saying you want to lose weight, say you want to lose X amount of pounds in X amount of time. To stay fit, I will work out for an hour each day and pack a healthy lunch Monday through Friday.

A good goal is something you can measure, achieve within the year and that is relevant to you. Your goal needs to be measurable otherwise there’s no way to know if you achieved it.

Surround Yourself with Support

The people you associate with can either help you or hold you back. That’s true for life in general and it’s especially true when you have new goals that you’re working on. You’re more likely to be successful in your resolution if you spend time with positive people who help you stay on track.

Avoid Pitfalls

There are going to be things that allure you into giving up on your goals and falling back into your previous routine. If you’re changing your eating habits, it could be fatty foods or alcohol. Trying to quit smoking? Cigarettes will be a huge temptation. If you’re focusing on eliminating debt, you could find yourself wanting to splurge on an expensive item.

Temptations will always be there, but do your best to remove them from your life. It’s much easier to stick to your plan when you make it hard to deviate.

Resilience is Key

Change is one of the most difficult things to do. When you’re use to a routine, it takes consistent effort to change it over the long haul. It’s important to realize that you might have the occasional lapse when you give in to temptation. Don’t beat yourself up about it or wallow in negativity. Instead, get back to your new routine and avoid letting one mistake drag you down.

Reward Yourself

When you have one goal that’s going to take you months to accomplish, it’s easy to lose focus. Set up smaller goals for yourself along the way to your ultimate goal. Rewarding yourself for small milestones can help you stay on track; just make sure the celebration doesn’t go against your resolution.

Embrace Your Future Self

Adjust your priorities by thinking about your future self. Consider what will make you happier in the future; this will help you stay disciplined and focused.

Achieving a New Year’s resolution is no small feat, it takes time and dedication. If you follow the strategies listed above, you’ll improve your life by accomplishing your resolutions every year.

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Indoor Activities to Keep Kids from Bouncing off the Walls

indoor activities

Is the cold weather keeping you cooped up? Have no fear, the cure for cabin fever is easier than you think. Indoor play can be as fun as you make it and a snowy day is a good excuse to use your imagination and try something new. Whether you enjoy getting crafty or you prefer something more physical–there’s a way to satisfy your inner boredom–no matter the size of your group. Here is a list of the best indoor winter activities for kids and families on Long Island.

Indoor Play Places

Sky Zone Trampoline Park

111 Rodeo Dr

Deer Park, NY 11717

(631) 392-2600

https://www.skyzone.com/deerpark

Sky Zone Trampoline Park is a place you will never stand still. Embrace your inner acrobat while freestyle jumping in the trampoline courts. Slam dunk like your favorite NBA basketball player inside the Sky Slam. Enter the ultimate dogeball championship with your friends. Show off your gymnastic skills flipping into a foam block pit. Whatever you decide, you will enjoy wall-to wall aerial action at Sky Zone Trampoline Park.

 

Air Trampoline Sports

1850 Lakeland Ave

Ronkonkoma, NY 11779

http://www.airtrampolinesports.com/

Air Trampoline Sports has something for everyone including aerobics, dodgeball and basketball. They has over 16,000 square feet including a foam pit, 3 dodgeball courts and 2 basketball slam dunk lanes, for hours of endless fun.

 

Kangaroo Kids Inflatable Party Center

1015 Grand Blvd

Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 871-8762

http://www.kangarookidsparty.com/

Kangaroo Kids is a great place to bring kids if they have lots of energy to burn off. Live it up in an entertainment room filled with tunnels, slides and a bouncing room. Channel your competitive spirit with complimentary basketball shooting, foosball and air hockey.

 

Fun Station USA

40 Rocklyn Ave

Lynbrook, NY 11563

(516) 599-7757

http://funstationusa.com/
Fun Station USA is a place filled with a plethora of indoor fun including video games, laser tag, bumper cars, flight stimulators, roller coaster stimulators, a play maze and much more. This is great place if you can’t decide on just one indoor activity or if your kid usually gets bored after doing one thing.

 

Fun 4 All

200 Wilson St

Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776

(631) 331-9000

http://fun4allpark.com/home.html

Fun 4 All is a great indoor play place for the entire family. Families can explore different worlds through giant inflatable’s, creative and scientific displays and interactive games as well as slides, bouncers and game machines. There is also a climate-controlled all-age mega playground that has swirling slides, a 5-tier trampoline, tree house, tunnels, bouncers, and much more. Fun 4 All, is a great place to families to spend time together and play.

 

Safari Adventure

1074 Pulaski St

Riverhead, NY 11901

(631) 727-4386

https://www.thesafariadventure.com/

Safari Adventure is known for being one of the cleanest children’s play centers on Long Island. This four-level play area is filled with enormous bouncers and over 30 videos games. There is also a sensory calming spa which is great for hyperactive kids, children with anxiety or anyone looking to relax. Kilimanjaro, an African themed structure, is the softest play unit on the island. There are also cargo nets, tunnels and other fun obstacles to tackle at Safari Adventure.

 

The Sandbox Playspace

51 Gibson Ave,

Huntington, NY 11743

(631) 421-1600

http://www.sandboxplayspace.net/

The Sandbox believes play is the soul of childhood. The Sandbox Playspace is a great place to gather, play and connect. The play area has handcrafted toys made of natural materials such as wool, silk and wood. The Sandbox is perfect for young children, 5 years and younger.

 

Laser Bounce

2710 Hempstead Turnpike

Levittown, NY, 11756

516-342-1330

https://lilaserbounce.com/

Laser Bounce is an interactive play arena for kids. Enjoying bounce houses, obstacle courses, laser tag and a ball pit and games all under one roof.

 

Q-ZAR 

151 Voice Rd

Carle Place, NY 11514

(516) 877-7200

https://www.qzarny.com/

Qzar is known for being “the game that runs on adrenaline not batteries.” Enjoy an intense workout while listening to upbeat music while testing your laser skills in a 4,000 square foot battlefield. This game requires skill and strategy, just like a video game.

Museums

Long Island Children’s Museum

11 Davis Ave

Garden City, NY 11530

(516) 224-5800

https://www.licm.org/

Did you know that playing promotes healthy childhood development? Activities and programs at Long Island Children’s Museum help children master skills and discover new passions. Programs are available for children from pre-school to high school that teach how to craft, cook and dance.

 

Children’s Museum of the East End

376 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike

Bridgehampton, NY 11932

(631) 537-8250

https://www.cmee.org/

The Children’s Museum of the East End was started by 7 mothers who want to provide more educational opportunities for children on the East End of Long Island. The museum has educational exhibits and programs as well as other art and community workshops that foster learning and spark imagination.

 

Cooking Classes

Celebrations In the Kitchen

63 E Old Country Rd

Hicksville, NY 11801

http://www.celebrationsinthekitchen.com/

Cooking is an important life skill; it also teaches kids basic math skills through measuring and sequencing. With shows like “Chopped Junior”, “Kids Baking Championship” and “MasterChef Junior”, more kids are becoming interested in cooking and baking. Celebrations in the Kitchen, offers cooking, baking, and decorating classes for kids and adults. They are also allergy-friendly and can provide nut-free, dairy-free and egg-free parties.

 

Kitchen Time’s Party Place

691 Broadway

Massapequa, NY 11758  

(516) 795-4980

http://kitchentime.net/

Kitchen Time’s Party Place has been in operation over 30 years. They offer cooking parties for children, adult cooking classes and other special activities. They provide 2 hours of fun and instruction for all ages. Kids will love their Frozen themed baking parties and events.

Roller Skating

Hot Skates

14 Merrick Rd

Lynbrook, NY 11563

http://hotskates.com/

Hot Skates is a Long Island landmark since 1980. Enjoy gliding across the maple wood skating surface, while listening to music on a state-of-the-art sound system. They also have a professional grade video system, making it a great place to watch sporting events while skating.