Joey's Circle of Five!

[quote]Here I was, getting ready to go onstage... to supposedly convince and inspire thousands of people... to get unified and to fight the prejudice... you know, that I couldn't even inspire seven dancers. - Madonna TRUTH OR DARE, 1990[/quote]

Do you know that feeling when you want to change the world? When you want to inspire people? But you can’t even inspire yourself sometimes?

That’s how I felt a while ago. I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. How to begin. How to get the energy again.

Let me tell you about the months in my life in mid-2013 as a lot changed for me. I resigned my parttime job because I wanted to really focus on my company HAUS OF JOEY. I only want to work as a freelance illustrator. A lot of people around me told me also to quit my job. "Just do what you do best. You can do it! Just focus!" So I did. Without a real plan.

I forgot that I always had a job (since I was nineteen). I always had a boss. I always got my money at the end of the month. I had a rhythm every day: get up, go to work, own your money, go to home, spend some time with my husband, go to my friends, etc.

I loved it, but I was also used to it. It was regular. Normal. In control. And I love it to be in control. Cause I’m a control freak.

That all ended. Now I am my own boss.
Now I have make my own plans, my own choices, my own rules, etc.
Now I have to make my own money... Oi!

I started too positive. Too happy. Cause I had some money. No worries, right? I took some time to get in my new mood, my new rhythm. And it was hard. It felt like I was in rehab.

I’s always busy in my creative head, and I had to do a lot. But how to start? Where to begin?

And then I thought about one episode of Oprah. Rudine Howard suffered from lifelong anorexia, and Oprah followed her story from 1989 to her death in 1994. When Traci Gold appeared with Rudine (age 29 and 58 lbs.), Traci insisted Rudine could overcome anorexia by taking steps to “fill your mind.” Rudine heart-wrenchingly asked, “But how do you do it?” It changed Oprah’s way of thinking.

[quote]That is it. That is what everybody wants to know. How? This is the central question in life. - Oprah[/quote]

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing myself with this sad story, or the woman who suffered from this disease. It’s all about her question. How? How do you do it? How do you get a succesful business? What do you have to do?

The Organice Your Life®'s the Circle of Five

I thought about Organice Your Life®'s the Circle of Five. These 5 steps can help you to organize and improve your home, your finances, your career, your health, your relationships, and your good charitable work for others.

Why not start with that? Just to get back on track. So I did.

1. Organice Your Home

I cleaned up my atelier, my work office. Started with my administration, organiced all my old illustrations (hundreds!!!), pictures (thousands!), etc. It took some time but boy, I’m so happy I did it! Luckely my place at home was already organiced!

[threecol_one]1-HOME-1[/threecol_one] [threecol_one]1-HOME-2[/threecol_one] [threecol_one_last]1-HOME-3[/threecol_one_last]

2. Organice Your AGENDA

I started reading “Start from Your Heart”, a book about how to start your company in your own steps, with your own feelings. It helped me to get back to basic. Why do I want to get a successful business? What do I want to earn? What are my goals? For now? And for the next couple of years?

I’ve written everything down, and now I have my own manuscript about how to start my own company. And I did it in the way I wanted to do it. It felt so good. Cleaned up my head again.

2-AGENDA

3. Organice YOURSELF

I love to take care of my body and mind. But sometimes I need structure to get back the focus. I do not drink a lot, and don’t use any drugs. I’m trying to eat better (step by step, with the help of great Organice Your Life recipes), and I’m doing my exercises again. All at home. Low budget.

[twocol_one]3-YOURSELF-(1)[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]3-YOURSELF-(2)[/twocol_one_last]

My schedule? In the morning I start with the sun salutation and after that I do my push-ups, or use some dumbles. I run 3 times a week. It gives me such a nice feeling, and my body’s getting back in shape again!

[youtube id="n2VSdskq73g" align="center"]

4. Organice Your RELATIONSHIPS

Husband - I married the best man in the whole world! He supports me in everything, and he believes in me. Every Wednesday evening is our night, and we do something together: we’re going to the movies, having dinner outside, take a walk. Such good quality time.

Family - I love my brothers and sister. We talk almost every day (thank God for group whatsapp), and once a while we go out together. Crazy nights!

Friends - My friends are really important to me. I really take the time to visit them, to be around them. Good friends are gold. They give me positive energy and love, and I can really be myself around them.

5. Organice Your GOOD HEART

I’m trying to be a good person. A few months ago I found a wallet on the street. Couldn’t find a telephone number inside, but a lot of his (credit) cards. Found his name on the internet and called him, and he was so grateful I called him. I didn’t noticed the wallet was filled with a lot of money (I did not search for it), but when he came back to pick up the wallet he saw all the money was there (think it was more than 1000 EUR). He wanted to give me a reward. I didn’t want it, but he insisted. He gave me 200 euro (!) and walked away. I was flabbergasted. Okay, I could have all the money if I kept the wallet, but I’m not one of those people. It wasn’t mine and I believe in karma. I know this is just a little thing, but a good heart starts with simple things. Be kind. Be helpful. Be a human.

These five steps help me to focus. Focus on what’s important.

Challenge yourself and try it. It really helps!


Raw Chocolate Fondue

It is always time to celebrate, for instance with a delicious raw chocolate fondue!

[threecol_one]CELEBRATE:
*Love
*Life
*Connections
*Acceptance
*Beauty
*Antioxidants (LOL - seriously)
[/threecol_one] [threecol_one]REFRESH:
*Time out - recreation
*Hydrotherapy
*Massage - touch
*Nature
*Film, music or art
*Lovemaking (if applicable)
[/threecol_one] [threecol_one_last]RENEW:
*Commitments/vows
*Faith in yourself and others
*Your body, mind, soul[/threecol_one_last]

[hr]

Abigail in her 'Garden of Eden'

Below is a fondue idea from my book Model Chocolate which I love to enjoy during a big essential oil bath with my husband, sharing a pot of green tea if it's cold or a spicy exotic herbal/fruity drink such as 'Celtica' mmm!

Celtica
Celtica
Model Chocolate Raw Chocolate Fondue
Model Chocolate Raw Chocolate Fondue

Suitable for all kinds of love; take the opportunity to share a healthy raw chocolate experience with your single friends or couple besties, love of your life or soulmate.

RAW CHOCOLATE FONDUE idea

Fruit suggestions ~
Mango, cut into chunks
Strawberries, halved
Starfruit, sliced into stars
Fresh nectarines, pitted, quartered
Cherries, grapes or lychees, whole
Banana, sliced

OR any seasonal organic fruits of your choice - express yourself!

Fondue Dipping Chocolate

I love a plain raw chocolate recipe such as my Classic Dark (in the book) for dipping, or simply use any of your favourite raw chocolate recipes!

Prepare raw chocolate of your choice. While cacao or coconut butters are melting you can start chopping your favourite fresh fruits and making up a beautifully arranged platter. Place a couple of small forks on the side. Finish mixing up chocolate and serve in a small bowl at the centre of the fruit plate. No need to keep warm. Enjoy! The raw chocolate should thicken naturally as it stands depending on the weather. <3

Enjoy!

xxx Abigail


Autoimmune Generation

Below are a couple of pictures of me with my beautiful mum - Maria Grace. They were taken over a year ago, at a time when she was much more the vibrantly healthy person I remember. My mum has been struggling with an undiagnosed autoimmune condition for over 15 years now. Although she has some good days, she is progressively getting worse. The concerning thing is - I have also felt lots of things in my own body, which remind me of her symptoms.

"Prevention is better than cure" yes, but I believe in the body's ability to heal itself. Do you? I also believe that through our pains, sufferings, confusion or other negative life experiences may come beauty, healing, joy, and much knowledge worth having!

I haven't worked out all the answers, even for myself; but I do know that all manner of fruits, vegetables, alkaline water, superfoods, light proteins, greens (yes they are vegatables, but I've doubled up as I feel we all should be consuming way more of them!), sunlight, fresh air, exercise, rest, and trust create an environment for the body and mind which has proven to promote healing and wellness.

Something I haven't shared, even on my own personal blog is that all I know and do on a day-to-day basis is because of many years of seeking, experimenting, reading and believing.

Mum and Me

We are living in an Autoimmune Generation. But whatever you're going through today, whatever your parents have suffered before you - please don't give up! Don't despair.

Mothers Day

Instead, go for a brisk walk... make a green juice! Start filling up your day with all the vibrancy from nature available to you. Read all you can, and fight with all your being. Lets create a revolution that turns Autoimmune conditions up-side-down!

Love Abigail xxx


SUMMER IN OZ

What's your favourite season? Are you obsessed with Winter coats, layering and snuggly fireplaces? I must say the feeling of jumping into the car turning on the heater full blast whilst drinking copious amounts of green tea on the way home from a Winter surf is one of my favourite cold weather moments. So invigorating!

I don't know if it's because of my Portuguese heritage but I do utterly obsess over Summer! Absolutely. I love Spring too - as it heralds the onset of warmer days, exotic fruits galore and fresh flowers :)

Native cherry

Fruit picking besties

Exfoliation at its best!
Exfoliation at its best!

shadow love

Our tree in Summer
Our tree in Summer

Paradise

Above are a few random i-pics by me - you may have seen some on Instagram already.

It's Winter season down under, but wherever you are it's important to feel warm for healing, beauty, and life. Some of my favourite tips to stay warm and energised are:

*Cold showers - yes even in Winter (best taken after a brisk walk or some form or activity, and with warm clothes ready to put straight on) boost the immune system and strengthens will power, mind and heart. Keeps you young and toned too!

*Vigorous Exercise

*Sunbaths - when its out, strip off & lay in it!

*Raw foods - even if its just a fresh juice, or a carrot before lunch

*Spices such as Cayenne, Ginger, Garlic

*Chocolate :) always makes me feel warm inside!

Love Abigail xxx


2012 Year in review... hello 2013!

Freelance illustrator Joey Holthaus
Follow me, I'll be your river, river, I'm here to keep you floating
Follow me, I'll be your river, river, river, river, yeah
Wherever you're standing, I will be by your side
Through the good, through the bad, I'll never be hard to find
Emeli Sandé - RIVER LYRICS

 

Every Monday morning my lovely husband Mark sends me a WhatsApp message with a song that describes what he feels for me. "River", from newcomer Emeli Sande, was the first song I've recieved in 2012. It expressed what 2012 was all about for us. Especially how he supported me. "Through the good, through the bad."

2012 was mainly a year of saying goodbye. The older you get (yes, 33 and still counting), the more and faster you unfortunately facing death. This year I had to say goodbye to my dear father-in-law Wim (67). He died too early and unexpectedly. "Thinking from opportunities" was his motto. I miss him every day.

Sweet little Abel (son of friends) was only 5 days old. On May 17, Ascension Day, we all lifted up colorful balloons, including a personal message for him. Very special and touching.

Nightsister Hans B, the man who introduced me to the wonderful gay world when I was 17, lost his short battle with cancer. Bye bye sweetheart.

Balloons for little Abel

Mark was there for me, and I was there for him. On December 12, 2012 at 12 PM (what a coinsidence!), exactly one year after our registered partnership, Mark and I got inked! Now we share a common tattoo. It became the symbol of us together, the &-sign in the shape of a heart: never be parted.

Getting inked! Mark's wrist, Joey's bicep

In 2012 I asked myself which illustration style is the right one for me: what felt good to discover, to develop? What is really a "Joey"? I collected all my work, to get a closer look. I had so many!

I've made a selection, and found out that these are my best styles: Contemporary, Fluent, Sketch & Satire.

Contemporary Style Joey Holthaus- Lady Gaga 2012
Contemporary Style Joey Holthaus- Lady Gaga 2012

My discovery for my best style(s) this year gave me inner peace. I create illustrations for more than 20 years, and only now I realize what kind of style I have really developed.

In 2012 I did so many great things: the exposition in the Gallery room in hotel Modez for two months, the illustrations for Organice Your Life, Newmills, Modetuin, Mippies, Humanoid, eigen! Arnhem magazine and many more. Every day I love to work as a freelance illustrator!

Gallery Room 22 Hotel Modez Arnhem by Atelier Joey Holthaus
Gallery Room 22 Hotel Modez Arnhem by Atelier Joey Holthaus

Three weeks ago I was told that my illustration of Grace Coddington (creative director VOGUE USA) was the winning design of an i-D Magazine competition! What a great news to end a fabulous creative year!

Winner! Illustration Grace Coddington by Joey for i-D magazine

Hello 2013! Mode Biennale 2013 (MoBa 13) is coming to Arnhem, I want to go to Berlin, New York and maybe LA for some inspiration... Can't wait to start my creativity!!!

So what are your plans? What are you going to do? Share it!

 

Love,

Joey


OYL Holiday Party 2012

Last week, the Organice Your Life ® family and guests gathered on the 51st floor of the Time Warner Building to celebrate the annual Organice Your Life® Holiday Party!

Host was our top model contributor Valentina Zelyaeva, who invited all her model friends to join for a fun night of celebrating the Holidays. Founder Lonneke Engel was not present as her health did not permit her to. She was missed but was happy to hear everything went on smoothly thanks to Valentina, and organizers, OYL contributor Antoniette Costa and OYL friend Jackie Swerz.

Of course there is no OYL party without delicious organic food & drinks. We want to thank all our amazing sponsors including The Juice Press, Perrier Jouet, Hail Merry Snacks, Antica Espresso, Fiji Water for catering the party, and giving items for the goodiebags, which also included a the Clean Plates book, Burts Bees lipbalm and a VitaCoco drink.

Antoniette Costa took care of the live music with an amazing performance with live beatboxer, cello & violin players and background singers.

Everyone left the party inspired and we hope everyone will enjoy the Holidays and have a great 2013!

We at Organice Your Life® wish you "orgaNICE" Holidays and an Inspired 2013!

Our goodie bags are filled with amazing treats including Clean Plates, Burts Bees, The Juice Press, VitaCoco, Hail Merry.
Antoniette Costa Performing
Healthy Snacks
Jackie Swerz, musician Antoniette Costa and model Valentina Zelyaeva
More Healthy Snacks
Models Liza Yermalovich, Anastasia Krivosheeva, Kristina Romanova and Valentina Zelyaeva

Photo Credits: Josh Wong


For the Love of Food, Fashion and OYL

I love good food!! It is my no 1 passion. I also love learning about the human body, health/healing and wellness is a lifelong fascination of mine...and if you haven't guessed it - I love FASHION. I love this industry with all the gorgeous artistic minded people who come together to create absolute genius. I love models! Models are beautiful people yes, but they are also very intelligent and at times vulnerable, real people with real hearts which can be broken! I love life. I love making life a celebration daily. Don't you? Isn't it a wonderful thing that you and I have the power to choose health today? To choose delicious, vibrant, life giving foods? 

One of my favourite quotes in my new book MODEL CHOCOLATE is:

"Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this, eat well. Bring the same consideration to the preparation of your food as you devote to your appearance. Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress." 'Letters to Emily' Charles Pierre Monselet French journalist and author. (1825-1888) 

I'm excited for the 5 lucky OYL followers who will win a copy of my new ebook! Have you liked the OYL facebook page yet? I can't wait to share with you how easy it is to make your own delicious life giving foods which in turn give you more energy, while making you feel more inclined smile and be beautiful on the outside! When you take care of your body from the inside, even when it comes to treating yourself with lavish desserts, you feel so wonderful that it shows. Good luck!

Love and chocolate xxx Abigail

MODEL CHOCOLATE (Fb link) is a superfood chocolate book jam packed with over 70 sugar free, dairy free, gluten free recipes for every occasion to be made in minutes. No artificial sweeteners or processed foods, just lots of real cacao love! Eco fashions, models, and art makes this revolutionary cookbook unique, cutting edge and visually inspiring and uplifting. The book is also available for instantaneous download here.

Image above of Abigail from the book MODEL CHOCOLATE. Photographer - Damien Nikora, stylist - Tamzen Holland Chalmers, make up - Ashlea Penfold, creative director Sarah Chambers.


Fruit Juice by Joey

Choose your JUICE!

One day in October 2011, I quit drinking alcohol. I quit after the worst hangover E-VER.

The day before this hangover, I had a great party, and drank some beer. I didn’t drink too much, but my hangover on Sunday was terrible. My headache was so painful, and I couldn’t get out of bed.

Joey as ugly duck at Fairy tail Party
Joey as ugly duck at Fairy tail Party @ the 29th of October

I realized I did not want that feeling anymore.

It’s not that I drank every day. I only drank when I went out. I think the amount of alcohol was sometimes too much. And I think getting older is also not helping…

A lot of people ask me why I do not drink anymore. Some think it’s really brave of me, some do not understand. You don’t have to. It’s my own choice.

I didn’t have to quit drinking, but at that moment I thought it was the best.

After 307 days I have to say it’s hard not to drink. It’s not that I miss it, but everywhere you go it’s all about alcohol. When you visit a friend, when you go out, when there’s a celebration, when you’re having dinner, with holidays like New year’s Eve, and so on.

Everybody seems to be into alcohol, everybody’s offering you a glass. Here in the Netherlands it’s so normal to drink that it’s rare when you’re not drinking. Strange world.

I know I can try to drink one or two glasses, but I can’t. When I drink, I want more. And after more alcohol, I might get a hangover. And I don’t want that feeling anymore.

I want to live healthy, and I want to have control over my body. I want to prove myself I can do this.

So I choose not to drink alcohol anymore. Just to see how it feels, and if I could do this. And it feels awesome!

I try to change my life, and not drinking alcohol was one of my goals. If I could do this, I could change my life a bit more. Quiting alcohol was step one. Trying to get in shape was step two. I’m going to write about my fitness experience the next time.

Next step: the perfect body!
Next step: the perfect body!

What I’ve also changed is my thought about alcoholism. I’ve always been surrounded by alcoholics, and I always had one thought. Just stop. Just stop drinking. How hard can it be?

Well, now I know. It’s hard. If it’s hard for somebody’s who isn’t an alcoholic, how would it feels like for an alcoholic? I stop being prejudiced. I stop being like everybody else. I want to be different.

I’m not saying I am never going drink again. But I hope I’m strong enough not to go back in time.

So… what I’m still looking for are some new healthy juices I can drink when I go out!

My favorite right now is cranberry juice. Very refreshing, and it tastes great!

At home you can make your own juices (see all the healthy juices here on Organice Your Life), but going out it’s so hard to find some fine non-alcoholic healthy juices! Isn't it?

 

Fruit Juice by Joey
Fruit Juice by Joey

My favorite juice (or smoothie, whatever you call it) @ home: fresh strawberries, 1 banana, coconut water, pinapple juice. Just put in in a blender and mix it!

So I wanna hear what your favorite non-alchol drinks are! What do you prefer?

Can’t wait to hear from you: surprise me!

 

Love,

Joey


MODEL CHOCOLATE FOR OYL!

Hey OYL lovelies!

DO I have something special for you!!

A FREE recipe from my up & coming book - MODEL CHOCOLATE, exclusive to Organice Your Life readers...

Only I need your help to get my fb Model Chocolate page up to 400 likes (4000 would be better) So... at only 400 likes... Aka TODAY... I'm going to share with you a gorgeous simple raw choc recipe that looks like THIS... ♥

Thanks so much! Here's the link again... MODEL CHOCOLATE ~ RECIPE BOOK

Love & chocolate xxx Abigail


Proud to be Gay

Joey Holthaus has been a singer in a boy band called "All of Us" for many years. Today he works as an illustrator and fashion consultant in the Netherlands. He is sharing his experiences as an openly gay man with Organice Your Life®.

 

... "Hey, dirty F*GG#T!"... Damn! I just did my best to look like a cool dude today. I'm wearing my baggy trousers, old school sneakers, big hoodie, Diesel cap and it's all in traditional masculine colors. Thought I looked like a straight guy, but guess I was wrong. When I look up I see some kids laughing at me, some are giving me the finger. Grrrrrr. Just another bunch of kids who think they have the right to call me dirty.

Strange. Strange because I'm never ever been a dirty boy (well, not in that way). I take a shower every morning, wash my hair, put on my Aussiebum's (for the straight guys & girls: it's the Bjørn Borg for gay people) & some new fresh socks, and as a final touch my everyday (Malin + Goetz) fragrance. Why? Because I can't stand dirty stuff. I gag when I smell sweat, mold and unpleasant odors. I can't quite place have to disappear as soon as possible. I've heard too many dirty stories, told by my best friends, even though they know I can't stand them (so I run to the bathroom to throw up). I visualize every little thing. So funny, but not for me...

Well, I know that the kids are referring to that other 'dirty' something. You know, how gay people have sex. How they do it. Probably some of those kids also do it with their girlfriends, lovers, or maybe each other? But when gay people do it, they think it's more disgusting. That's why they call us dirty. And say f*gg#t. Right in your face.

I know that it's in fashion for straight people to have a*** intercourse. It's not a gay thing anymore, doing it "the Greek way". When I'm listening to all the many sex stories of my female friends (about their relationships) I know it's true, and they do like it (and quite surprising, some straight men too, if you know what I mean..)

Okay, back to the kids. I'm so surprised they outed me. When you look at all the straight men these days, I can't see a difference in style with the fashionable gay men of a few years ago. Famous metro men (like über metro David Beckham) set the trend, and half of the straight young men followed. It was hot to look good and fashionable for a straight guy. Before David, gay people created the most wanted styles in fashion. Now I can't spot the difference anymore. For me, a normal gay guy, it became very difficult to trust my "gaydar". I thought I had one, but these days I think everybody looks gay. Think my gaydar is really out of order...

Don’t get me wrong, I like to “dress up” for the nights, but my "Yoohooo... look at me, I'm gay" look lies far behind me right now.

I remember my first year in 1996 as a fashion student, when I transformed from a little young boy to a self-assured boy with waaay too much make up on my face. One of my classmates (and still my BFF) looked like the inspiration for Lady Gaga's looks nowadays (but in a so much better and creative way). He was the one who supported me to polish my nails. First I let them grow and then I polished them all black (how gothic). Then I used all kinds of colours and finally I was drawing all kind of little creations on my nails. How creative! My signature eyebrows before my first year Fashion Design looked like I was Bert's cousin (Sesame Street). An ugly unibrow.

During this first year I discovered the magic of a tweezer! First I pulled out a few hairs, then a little bit more, and then... Oi. I looked like I drew two stripes above my eyes. Yikes.

I also put too much make up on my face to cover up the rings underneath my eyes and pimples, and I've made my eyebrows more colourful with a black eyeliner. On top of that you must know that it was very hot to be a fan of the SPICE GIRLS (well that is, if you were a four-to-twelve year old girl, or a screaming young gay like me and my BFF), so imagine what we looked like. Dressed in shirts that were too small, low bootcut jeans,  high (20cm) plateau shoes and blond spikey hair (aaaargh!!!) I was clubbing in Arnhem's gay club Entre Nous every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Like every night we waited (after whining for a long time) till the DJ played our favorite song: "SPICE UP YOUR LIFE"! Shake it, shake it, shake it... ENCORE!

Okay, maybe I looked like a drag queen, but at that time (1996!) I had never been bullied openly on the streets. No one had ever called me "dirty F*GG#T", no matter how flamboyant my outfit was. It’s so sad that the times have changed.

May 2012: On the cover of Dutch magazine "L'Homo" you can see two straight famous Dutch male actors kissing each other, with their tongue. The magazine is telling us that you don't have to be ashamed when you kiss another guy.

                 * Cover Dutch gay magazine "L'Homo" 2012 *

This cover made headlines in Holland. In 2012! Why? Just because of that kiss. Even though Holland seems very accepting of homosexuality to the outside world, in fact gays get bullied here everyday when they walk hand in hand. Some gays get beat up on the streets when they come out of a club. When you kiss your boyfriend, EVERYBODY is watching you. Like you're an attraction at a carnaval.

That’s why "L'Homo" magazine had to make that cover. Those covers HAVE to make headlines. We HAVE to talk about it. We have to get used to it, because most of the people are sadly not.

I’m so proud of president Obama. Last week he told the whole world that same-sex couples should be able to get married. BAM! Thank u Mr. Obama. We (the gay people) just need that kind of support. So stand up with the president & sign here!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQGMTPab9GQ[/youtube]

 

So, how can I support myself and others gays? How can I tell the world that I’m an openly gay man for more than 18 years, and that I'm proud of it? That I love the way I'm living my life, and that I'm not ashamed for being gay? I think this self-made picture of me and my husband says enough:

 

I tweeted this picture to the magazine L'Homo, and they started a contest: Share your kiss & win! You can see Mark and I right here.

I am glad you all can see I'm gay. Looks like I haven't change a bit since 1996. Minus my nail polish, but plus spicing up (& organicing!) my happy life with my beautiful and gorgeous husband Mark.

Be proud. Be yourself.

 

X Joey

[poutsch id="1007131" width="490"]

 


The Art of Giving and Getting Back

It’s tax time!  I hope that in the last calendar year you contributed to a charity in some way, shape or form.  If not, start contributing now for next year’s tax return.

The Art of Giving and Getting Back – Making Smart Choices and Being Organize

If you are contemplating making a charitable contribution, make sure you make smart choices to maximize the benefits.  For example, when picking a charity you should inquire as to how the nonprofit is spending your money.  You would want at least 75% of a donation to go towards a program.  You can inquire about actual amounts of aid distributed and how the charity is fulfilling its mission.  If you are donating cash, you should write a check directly to the charity because if you pay with a credit card, charities lose 2% to 3% processing fees to the card issuer.  If you are shopping, be on the lookout for stores that donate a percentage of your purchase to a charity.  If you can’t afford to give money to many different charities, the smart choice is to focus on one or two charities so that your donation will have a greater impact.  Moreover, if you do not have cash to donate, giving your time or physical goods such as canned food and gently used clothing can have just as much of an impact.  Also, you should watch out for scams, which use names that are confusingly similar to legitimate charities.

If you have donated to charity, apart from helping others and boosting your own health and emotional well-being, on a practical level, your donations to charity are tax deductible expenses that can reduce your taxable income and lower your tax bill.  In order to be tax-deductible, you must ensure that you: (1) actually donate cash or property; (2) contribute to a qualified tax-exempt organization; (3) be able to itemize; and (4) meet record keeping requirements.  It’s time to use your organization skills and keep excellent records of your charitable contributions!

For deductions less than $250, you must obtain a receipt or letter showing the organization name, location, donation date, and item description, and you must keep a written record of:

  • The name and address of the organization to which you made your contribution
  • The date and location of the contribution
  • A reasonably detailed description of the property
  • The fair market value of the property at the time of the contribution, and how you computed the fair market value
  • Your cost or basis in the property
  • Whether there were any terms to your donation

For deductions more than $250 but less than $500, you must meet all documentation requirements for donations of less than $250, and ask for and keep a written acknowledgment of your contribution, with the following information:

  • A description of the donated property
  • Whether you were compensated for your donation
  • A good faith estimate of donated goods

For deductions more than $500 but less than $5,000, you must meet all documentation requirements for donations of more than $250 but less than $500, and you must make a record of how you acquired the property, the date of acquisition, and your basis in the property.

For deductions more than $5,000, you must meet all documentation requirements for donations of more than $500 but less than $5,000, and you must get a written appraisal from a qualified appraiser.

Donated items, such as cars, clothing, and household goods, must be in good condition.  You cannot make a deduction if the items are less than in good condition.  You should keep a detailed list of the non-cash goods you donated to charity, along with a description of their condition.

There are, however, contributions that are not tax deductible.  For example, contributions to political parties, political campaigns, or political action committees, individual people, professional associations, labor unions, chambers of commerce, or business associations, for-profit schools and hospitals, and foreign governments; and the value of your time for services rendered to a non-profit.  Therefore, make sure that if you want to claim a charitable deduction that the charity or philanthropic organization you select is a tax-qualified organization under IRS rules.

Charitable purchases are only deductible in the amount exceeding the worth of the item purchased.  For example, if you attend a gala dinner for $1,000 for a charitable organization, the deductible amount is equal to $1,000 minus the fair market value of the dinner.  If the cost of the actual dinner is $100, then you can deduct $900.  You should keep all documents for any and all of your charitable cash contributions.  You should have receipts from the charity, a cancelled check, or credit card statement to prove the donation.  Even though you don’t need to mail in the receipts with your tax return, in the event the IRS decides to audit you, you will then be able to show supporting documentation.  Generally, household and personal items may be deducted at their fair market value. A good way to get the fair market value of an item is to determine what the item would sell for at a garage sale, flea market, or thrift store.

I hope these general tidbits help you maneuver your way through your charitable contributions this year.  You should definitely consult a lawyer or tax advisor if you have questions regarding your specific situation.  If you make smart choices and keep organized, everyone will be able to benefit from your charitable contributions!

NOTE: The information contained in this article is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal or tax advice. The content is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author, and you should not act or rely on any information in this article without seeking the advice of an attorney and tax advisor.


Tisano (Cacao) Tea

SOO HAPPY right now :) soo amazed & elated at life, good people in this world & CACAO TEA. Well it doesn't take much to make a girl happy does it??? Just a little chocolate here or there, a flower or two (cacao flowers even better!). If you've read any of my posts, checked out my facebook page or twitter, you'd know that I'm pretty madly passionate about FOOD. Even more so, presently, about  CHOCOLATE! Not just any old chocolate will do though, I'm very specific. Fussy in fact! It must be organic for a start, fairtrade is also absolutely essential; as I won't indulge my chocolate fancies upon produce that directly causes children or families harm. Another thing, I ADORE raw chocolate. Raw chocolate is my current obsession. It's made from the purest form of 'chocolate', called CACAO. Packed with up to 360% more antioxidants times than regular cocoa (not to mention other nutrients) & containing less caffeine & with it's rich (yet mild at times, depending) chocolate flavour, it's superfood & what I consider to be the finest indulgence at the same time! Imagine my surprise & utmost delight when I received a parcel direct from NY this afternoon & opened it to find a new cacao product! I'm soo happy with it I will always keep it on my tea shelves from this day on (lol, read the tweets, I couldn't stop raving & taking phone pics)... & to think, that this special, unique chocolate product is made entirely from the raw cacao HUSKS. Well done Tisano Tea, on a beautiful product, & thank-you from the bottom of my heart, ever gorgeous Valentina! LOVE & CHOCOLATE XXX ABIGAIL