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The Good Life Report 4.8.2020

The Good Life Report 4.8.2020



"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."
- Ayn Rand


Mozarella Party Skewers

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 24 red and yellow cherry tomatoes
     
  • 24 bite-sized fresh mozzarella balls
     
  • 1 jar of green olives (24 olives, stuffed with pimentos or garlic, as preferred)

Directions:

  1. Thread 6-inch skewers with tomatoes, olives, and mozzarella onto the skewers.
     
  2. Create a domed shape with loosely crumpled aluminum foil. Poke spears in to arrange.

Recipe adapted from DinnerAtTheZoo.com[1]

Tips for Young or First-Time Workers: Don't Forget About Taxes

If your child or grandchild has recently secured employment, pass along these helpful tips from the IRS:
  • Don't be surprised when your paycheck is smaller than you expect. Employers withhold taxes and pay them directly to the IRS.
     
  • Keep in mind that all tip income is taxable, and you must report tip income over $20 monthly to your employer.
     
  • Even if you don't earn enough from your first job to owe income taxes, your employer must withhold Medicare and Social Security taxes from your paychecks.
     
  • Any money you earn from working for others is taxable. If you mow lawns, babysit, or earn money outside a regular job, you may be considered self-employed by the IRS.
     
  • Speak to your employer about whether they will be reporting your wages to the IRS. If you have questions, ask your parents or grandparents to put you in touch with a tax expert.
For more information about tax rules for first-time jobholders, visit IRS.gov or consult a qualified tax advisor. * This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.  Tip adapted from IRS.gov[2]

A Simple Fix for Skying Your Tee Shot

A tee shot that resembles an infield pop-up on a baseball diamond gets a hole off to a frustrating start. A hacker's mistake? Not necessarily. Even a golfer who has played thousands of rounds can hit one. The fix is usually simple.

When we tee up a ball, we tend to want to err on the high side. That said, we also want the bottom of the clubface to come into contact with the ball when we come through the impact area. If the top half of the clubface hits the ball, then a pop-up off the tee will occur. So, we must lower the tee so that the ball doesn't sit above the top line of the clubface, whether we have a driver, hybrid, or iron in hand.

Tip adapted from Golf Distillery[3]

Staying Close While Social Distancing

Over the past few weeks, the world has entered into uncharted territory. Many of us have rapidly transitioned from seeing and interacting with dozens of people on a regular basis to much fewer each day. While some people are more introverted than others, even the greatest solitude seekers have social needs. So, how can we stay connected while remaining far apart?

  • Prioritize initiating interactions with your friends and family who are far away. Send an email, text, or direct message. Call them, and maybe even send a letter via snail mail. If you have the technology available, have a virtual, face-to-face conversation. There are many free apps available for video conferencing.
     
  • Spend quality time with those in quarantine with you. Whether they're your parents, children, siblings, other relatives, or friends, find activities, like games and family meals, to nurture the bonds you have with the people sharing your home.
     
  • Seek out group activities online. Stream a class or lecture series. Join an online forum or message board. Attend an online watch party for a movie or show. Take a virtual museum tour. You might be surprised by what's available.

Being distant doesn't have to mean being isolated. There are ways for us to be close to one another, even when we're not.

Tip adapted from Success.com[4]

If You're Able to go Outside, Leave Only Footprints

Most of the country is restricted from going outside right now, but if you can, find a non-crowded hiking trail to get some sunshine and exercise. Here are a few tips to make your next hike a memorable, safe, and environmentally friendly one.

Pack out what you brought in. This should go without saying, but make sure that whatever food, beverages, and hiking equipment you bring along go back home with you. The local wildlife might mistake even small amounts of garbage as food. Even an orange peel, if not native to the area, can cause issues with the habitat. 

Stay on the trail. Many hiking trails and preserves are home to some of the most beautiful sights nature has to offer - and are also home to some of the most sensitive habitats. Leaving the trail can damage the fragile ecosystems that surround you. This is also a safety measure because if something happens to you, the park rangers won't know where to look.

If you'd rather not chance walking on a trail, you can still get out and take a walk around the block. There's so much beauty to be found around you.

Tip adapted from Green America[5]

[1] DinnerAtTheZoo.com, April 3, 2020.
[2] IRS.gov, May 20, 2019.
[3] Golf Distillery, April 3, 2020.
[4] Success.com, April 3, 2020.
[5] GreenAmerica.org, April 3, 2020.