All Articles Tagged "home office"

Latchkey Kids: How Young Is Too Young To Be On Your Own?

August 24th, 2016 - By Allyson Leak
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What do you do when the after school programs have closed their doors in your area and a babysitter isn’t in your budget? Well, according to a survey by America After 3PM, one in 25 kindergartners through fifth-graders care for themselves after school. The amount of self-supervised kids continues to jump each year. Latchkey kids let themselves in or out of empty houses and typically supervise themselves for a few hours each day.

Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking about giving your kids the keys after-school…

How old should a child be?

The first thing you should do is find out the legal age that a child can be home alone, it should be listed on your states website. Once you find out the legal age, the next thing to take into consideration is how mature your child is. Just because someone is 11 or 12 doesn’t mean they are ready. Although, a 10-year-old is younger, they could be very mature for their age.

Are they comfortable?

Leaving your child alone should be something they are very comfortable with. They will be taking on a lot of responsibility and if they are afraid it could turn into a bad situation.

Consider a part-time sitter

If you can’t afford a full time after school sitter, can you budget in a part-time sitter. Instead of leaving them alone for four hours at a time, can you leave them for two and let a sitter come for two. This way, if they are a little scared at first at least they can look forward to a sitter coming soon after they get home.

Set up busy work

It’s important to make sure that your latchkey child has productive things to do while home alone. Have a family meeting and come up with some rules to follow when they first get home. Have them start and finish their homework and then do a few chores and let them have leisure time afterwards. Just the homework and a few chores should take up about an hour or two of their time. Just so you can stay on top of things have them check in with a phone call every hour.

The following these safety tips might come in handy, too:

  • Does he know his full name, address, and phone number? Does he know your full name as well, and the address and phone number of your workplace, or other ways to reach you at work? (You might call every day to be sure your child has arrived home safely and that nothing at home is out of the ordinary. Children appreciate the sense of security this form of supervision provides.)
  • When he returns home from school every day, does your child know how to lock the door behind him? Can he remember to call you and/or a neighbor as soon as he arrives home, and then check in again at designated times?
  • Have you instructed your child never to enter your home if a door is ajar, or if a window is open or broken?
  • Have you talked about what to do if someone knocks at the front door while he is home alone? (The best advice: he should not open the door and should tell the person knocking that you are home but are busy and unable to answer the door.)

Work At Home Mom: Try This Affordable Home Office Makeover

April 18th, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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Tanvier Peart

Tanvier Peart

When my husband and then 15 month old son and I packed our bags and left the east coast for Oklahoma, it was quite an adjustment. Then baby number two was on the way in a couple of months, and so home projects were put on the back burner. One area that desperately needed help is my workspace, so here’s what went into my home office makeover.



Home Office Update Before, photo credit Tanvier Peart

Unlike our two-bedroom condo in New Jersey, I now have space to breathe that doesn’t include a shared room with my son. Yet this is what I’ve been working with for several months. Not pretty and not cool.

Seeing as I’m the only lady in the house, I wanted to add some “girly” colors along with quotes and Scriptures near and dear to my heart. As most folks know who freelance or own a business, there’s a certain amount of, well, uncertainty that comes with what you do. Nothing is guaranteed though the payoff can be quite promising.


Home Office Update, photo credit Tanvier Peart

Even though my space is still a work in progress, I’m happy to not have to look at bare walls each and every day. How the heck did I think I could pull creative inspiration when I’m in a bland space?

Home Office Update 2 - photo credit Tanvier Peart

I made the floral letter after receiving an Etsy purchase gone wrong. It’s amazing what you can do with a paper mache letter, craft knife, hot glue gun and faux flowers. I purchased all of my frames from IKEA (gotta love their RIBBA series) as anyone who loves pictures knows framing can cost a small fortune. Each of the art prints were purchased on Etsy and printed on matte photo paper from Shutterfly. I scooped up the Audrey Hepburn mini canvas at The Icing after randomly spotting it during a quick jewelry run. Who can pass up a sweet message for only $8.00?

All in all, the total cost of everything was under $100 once you factor in tax and shipping.

Home Office Update - photo credit Tanvier Peart

I’m also a fan of reusing what you have in new ways. The black and gold tray on my desk is from the Nate Berkus for Target collection that we kept in our old living room. Seeing as we brought none of our furniture from Jersey, it didn’t go with what we have now. I had some left over moss (love a touch of green) and figured why not add it in. The small garden rose is a leftover from the floral letter project. I also had the “believe” wall decal in my old home office area.

I still need a mail tray but otherwise don’t want to clutter my desk. This works for me and provides the inspiration I need each day to keep calm and carry on.

all images courtesy of Tanvier Peart

11 Home offices That’ll Make You Want To Work From Home Every.Single.Day.

February 4th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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One of the biggest professional perks of the internet is the ability to work remotely. And if you so happen to be in a profession where working from home is a regular thing, chances are you’ve set aside a specific space for taking care of business. But when you look at your work space, would you really call it a home office, or is it more like a table you cleared off just enough room for your laptop and coffee to sit without causing problems?

Sometimes it can be as equally hard to muster up the energy to work from home as it is to go into the office, but let these 11 home offices inspire you to create a room of your own where you can let your creative juices flow and be more organized and productive throughout the day. You’ll never want to go into an office again. Trust us.

What’s Black And White And Slayed All Over? These 10 Office Spaces

January 26th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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It can be hard to get inspired about doing work — especially if you’re not yet doing the work you’ve dreamed of. But there is something that can help, besides coffee: a gorgeous office space! It’s hard not to feel inspired when you’ve set aside a space of your own that’s organized, functional, and not to mention, pretty. When it comes to modern, practical design, there’s nothing more striking than a black and white motif (possibly with an accent color here or there) so check out these classic black and white office spaces from the ‘gram that’ll have you rearranging your home office by the end of the day.

Crack The Whip: 9 Tips To Stay Motivated While Working From Home

August 18th, 2014 - By Michelle Alerte
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For those with the ability to set their own schedule and work in their pajamas, learning to stay motivated is an invaluable asset. You, unlike many others, don’t have a boss breathing down your neck to “get ‘er done,” which is the good news. The bad: no boss means debates between getting a project completed or going to the park for ice cream on a sunny day not only feasible but dangerous to your career. MN understands, and we’re here to help you crack the whip on your motivation and get you focused on even the nicest of days. The ice cream can wait.

Why You Should Spend More On Your Website & Less On Your Office

March 31st, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our new column “Mommy Mogul”! This weekly article will cover issues of importance to moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.



Now before you go off the deep end thinking I am crazy for mentioning this, just know there is a reason behind what you might call madness.

The truth of the matter is many business owners (especially ones just starting out) spend way too much too fast on things they don’t need. Whether it’s stocking up on bulk supplies that will take you years to finish, or purchasing trendy office furniture, you can quickly use up hard-earned income without batting an eye. While it’s good to have a functional office, you do not want a ton of overhead when it comes to expenses. Instead you should consider putting more of your money into something that has the ability to make you money like a website.

Having a good business website these days can be one of the main determining factors for whether or not a person will click away, or become a potential client. In fact, it oftentimes can be considered a reflection of how you treat your business. Have you ever been turned off by a business website that was so vague and rickety you questioned the legitimacy of the company? Don’t let this happen to you.

This can be an expensive undertaking, but like most things there are affordable ways to make what you have work. There are way too many good resources out there for us entrepreneurs that teach the basics of building a website or offer simple templates you can use that will fit your budget (see “9 Budget-Friendly Website Builders for Your Business“). The point is you should do something that creates a professional looking online presence that will attract people to your company. You never know who is in need of your product or service.

Still not convinced? Here’s the breakdown on why you need to spend more on your website than office.

-Your office tends to be personal, your website is public. For the most part offices are kept behind closed doors. They are where the magic happens; our control room of thoughts. A website on the other hand is extremely public as it can be searched across the world.

-Your website is your virtual calling card. You want people to believe in your expertise and get excited about what you are trying to do which is why you need a good website. If you are going to spend money, put more towards creating a website that best reflects your brand. It will only make you look that much more professional.

-A website gives you access to people beyond your local reach. The name of the game when it comes to business is expansion — that is taking your empire to the next level by widening your reach. An online presence gives you the ability to attract a greater amounts of clientele and virtually sell your products.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to make your office place sparkle, but let’s save those affordable office styling tips for another day. Make sure the essentials are covered first.

The 10 People Most Likely To Be Audited. Are You One Of Them?

March 26th, 2013 - By C. Cleveland
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AP Photo/Susan Walsh

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Tax season is a time of joy and pain. For some, Uncle Sam is a kind friend who drops a check in the mail just in time for spring. For others he’s a cruel collector, shaking money out of your pocket for the government to spend. But, some taxpayers are destined to meet a worse fate. One where a representative of the IRS looks through every receipt in their possession and decides how much they really owe your government. Getting audited is a real and present danger.

Should you be afraid? According to Michael Rozbruch, founder and CEO of Tax Resolution Services, only about 1.1  percent of people who file a 1040, the most common tax return, are audited. That rate increases to 12.5 percent for people earning $1 million or more. Most audits are triggered by the kind and amount of deductions taken. If you fit one of these profiles, watch yourself. Uncle Sam may turn his attention to you.

The 9 Most Frequently Overlooked Tax Deductions

February 14th, 2013 - By Blair Bedford
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The 2013 tax season is here, and with many close friends, family members and acquaintances offering their personal services and advice, they might overlook a few of the tax deductions you could possibly qualify for.

Filing your taxes may seem simple enough, but make sure you are getting all you deserve from the year and take note of these commonly overlooked tax deductions before filing and completing your taxes for the season.

A Room of Her Own: Crafting The Perfect Creative Nook

May 1st, 2012 - By Erica RivaFlowz Buddington
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I’m not picky. When I told my real estate agents what I wanted in my new apartment, nothing was too specific. City? I didn’t care, as long as I could get to work. Space? Small to large, I only needed enough room for two people. View? Brick wall or park, it didn’t matter. However, there was one preference I had when it came to anything my significant other and I viewed. It had to have some sort of space for my creativity.

I didn’t care where it was: A quiet alcove in the kitchen, a larger than life extra closet in the hallway and/or an extra bedroom; I had to have somewhere for me. For as long as I can remember, I had to have my own personal creative space. As a small child, my parents had an extra walk-in closet in their bedroom that would become my drawing office. During my pre-teen years, my father created a mini-studio where I’d live out my femcee stage. In college, I had a special isolated space in my dorm or apartment where I could craft to my heart’s desire. Now, I’ve moved into a space with an extra bedroom that is now my current writing office.

Every woman should have her own creative nook. However, you’ll need more than just your crafting materials:

1)   You’ll need inspiration. I’ve got Brianna McCarthy, Frida Kahlo artwork and profiles of Junot Diaz and Langston Hughes. These people and images spark my writing every time I look at them. What motivates you? Adorn your space with it in frames, statues or whatever material reflects your stimulations.

2)   Music, music, music. Whether it’s an iPod dock, CD player or old-school boom box; you’ll need something that will give you a surround sound of your favorite tunes.

3)   Timepiece(s). An outdated piece that will inspire your development. Have something in your space that symbolizes the innovation and progression of your trade. I have an old and rusty blue typewriter in the corner of my space. A friend of mine, a comic book artist, has her grandfather’s sketchbook on her desk. When you look at it, let it remind you that many people made strides across tribulations so you could create freely.

4)   Shelves and boxes. If you’re the extremely organized individual, grab some interesting shelving from the container store, label, and categorize your things. If you’re the avid reader, align your books in a way that’s easy to find them: by color, topic or Dewey decimal.

5)   Clean slate. After every work session, try to put things back into their place. Going back to your workspace should be a freeing experience. Your nook should be free from clutter and madness; two things we have to deal with incessantly on the outside.

6)   Silence. Unless you’re playing music, try and minimize distractions. Keep the TV off, the cellphone away and alert everyone that you live with; that you need your space and time alone.

7)   Your tools. Plan to slowly purchase things that will make your office life easier. It’s annoying to have to jump from place to place to complete your tasks. Artists, collect the paintbrushes that will make your Picasso priceless. Businesswomen, buy electronic devices that will make your work easier. Don’t make a mad dash to Kinkos to print the presentation that you have to present in a few hours. Writers, keep your tools in this one space. It’s the most annoying thing to have to grab things you need to refer to/use, from all over the house.

8)   A comfortable chair. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Sitting in something intolerable for several hours could lead to stress, painful back spasms and the avoidance of your office. Invest, invest, invest.

9)   Peace of mind. Make sure you leave your issues somewhere else, before you enter your sacred space. Bring only the things you’ll need for crafting. Most importantly, bring your solitude.

Do you have to have your own sacred space to create? How did you design it?

“RivaFlowz” is a teacher and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz.

More on Madame Noire!

8 Unexpected Things You Can Write Off Come Tax Time

April 9th, 2012 - By Julia Austin
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"Woman stressed in front of computer"

It’s just a blip in time—a line you do or do not fill out, or a question that you answer either yes or no to—but it can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’m talking about missed deductions. Often, even if you have your taxes professionally done, your H&R (or what have you) expert doesn’t ask you questions that would save you tons of money. So, you’ve got to be prepared yourself. Be aware of these often over looked possible deductions. You probably qualify for more than you think.