Category Archives: From the Experts

Leave It To Me Photography_Room Inspiration_Wall Galleries Feayure

From the Experts: How to Design your Wall Gallery with Kylene Cleaver

What do you do with the images you have captured? Have you tried to design a wall gallery?

Why should you have professional portraits captured? Because these memories are not only for you to enjoy now, but for future generations to have tangible evidence that you were here.

Once you have the images, how do you display them? For my clients I take into consideration the design of their home, who they are as a family and where the images will be displayed in the home. Also remembering the gift prints for grandparents, relatives and display on end-tables/nightstands.

When working with clients, I ask for a image of their wall with the measurement of something in the picture. This way I can show them a true-to-size wall gallery of their memories. It truly helps to see what would look best and fit the space in which they would like to display their precious memories.

Leave It To Me Photography_Room Inspiration_Wall Galleries 1 Leave It To Me Photography_Room Inspiration_Wall Galleries 2 Leave It To Me Photography_Room Inspiration_Wall Galleries 3 Leave It To Me Photography_Room Inspiration_Wall Galleries 5 Leave It To Me Photography_Room Inspiration_Wall Galleries 6

Kylene profile

Leave It To Me Photography is a Philadelphia based custom portrait and wedding photography studio. Kyle Cleaver specializes in capturing the joy of life’s moments while bending light to her will and creating heirloom pieces of art that her clients will treasure for years to come. http://leaveittomephotography.com

From the Experts 3 - Tax Tips with Sue Pellegrino

From the Experts: Tax Tips with Sue Pellegrino

We are so excited to bring you a new post From the Experts!  April 15th is drawing closer and we hope today’s post will save you some money this year on your taxes.

Here at Once Upon a Time Creation, our mission has always been to support your love of family as you treasure special moments, both big and small. I love to hear the stories behind your cherished keepsakes and understand, through all of you, that each stage of life presents us with new challenges. As life twists and turns, there is always a new experience that keeps us on our toes, reminding us that the more we know, the more there is to learn.  I truly believe that “it takes a village” and that we are all in this together. 

To support you in those big events and small moments, we are partnering with experts in their field to bring you advice on topics relevant to today’s family. We have a fantastic line-up in store for you!

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us,

Signature

tax breaks

Taxes, taxes, taxes!  Yes, it is that time of the year. Are you  scrambling to gather your documents and receipts to file online or meet with your tax professional?

As you rush to get your taxes done, don’t miss deductions that could significantly increase your refund.   Below are some of them.

  • Moving related costs.  If you relocated in the last twelve months, you might qualify to deduct moving costs.  You are able to deduct the expenses of moving your individual possessions, along with your trip expenses to the new location provided that you are relocating a minimum of 50 miles from your prior home.
  • Student loan interest.  You could deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest paid.
  • Home office expenses.  Don’t be afraid of this one.  Especially if you have a home-based business.  If you have a home office and satisfy the following checks, you can take the deduction.
    • Consistent and exclusive use of the office for business reason
    • The office has to be the primary location of your home business
    • When you are an employee, the home office has to be for the benefit of the employer, and you cannot pay rent for any portion of your house to your employer for the business purpose
  • Charitable contributions.  These consist of charitable payroll deductions, cash donations to your place of worship, funds given to door-to-door charities and charitable mileage.  Don’t forget estimates for clothes and household items donated to groups like Goodwill.
  • Job-hunting costs.  If you’re among the millions of unemployed who were looking for a job in 2015, then you can deduct some costs you incurred.  Deductible costs include, but aren’t limited to:
    • Transportation expenses incurred as part of the job search, including 57.5 cents a mile for driving your own car plus parking and tolls
    • Food and lodging expenses if your search takes you away from home overnight
    • Cab fares
    • Employment agency fees
    • Costs of printing resumes, business cards, postage and advertising
  • Health insurance premiums for the Self-Employed.  This deduction is available whether or not you itemize and is not subject to the 7.5% of AGI test.  

Because the federal tax law changes every year it’s best to consult a tax professional to be certain you are not missing any deductions or taking a deduction that simply is not allowed.  Having your files, documents and receipts in order can relieve stress come April 15th.  If it’s not something you like to do, there are solutions, such as using an online accounting system or hiring a bookkeeper to do it for you.

Sue Pellegrino is a certified bookkeeper and an IRS appointed tax filer.  She helps individuals and businesses with keeping efficient records all year long and guides them through the income tax process.  Please contact Sue at suepell1@verizon.net or 610-220-7441 to discuss how she can organize your paperwork or home office.  

From the Experts 2 - Protecting Your Family through Wills and Trusts with Alison Gross and Once Upon a Time Creation

From the Experts: Protecting Your Family Through Wills and Trusts with Alison Gross

We are so excited to bring you this new blog series…From the Experts!  This second post is about something we don’t like to think about, but is so important: Protecting Your Family Through Wills and Trusts. 

Here at Once Upon a Time Creation, our mission has always been to support your love of family as you treasure special moments, both big and small. I love to hear the stories behind your cherished keepsakes and understand, through all of you, that each stage of life presents us with new challenges. As life twists and turns, there is always a new experience that keeps us on our toes, reminding us that the more we know, the more there is to learn.  I truly believe that “it takes a village” and that we are all in this together. 

To support you in those big events and small moments, we are partnering with experts in their field to bring you advice on topics relevant to today’s family. We have a fantastic line-up in store for you!

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us,

Signature

From the Experts 2 - Protecting Your Family through Wills and Trusts with Alison Gross

No one likes to think about dying—especially once you have kids.  It’s hard enough to find a babysitter that you trust, much less think about your kids navigating the world without you.  When you aren’t prepared, though, not having a Will and Trust created for your children can be the kind of thing that keeps you up at night.  Taking care of your estate planning gives you the reassurance that your children will be protected if something happens to you.

First, you want to make sure that you have guardians designated.  A Will can do that for you; without one, the courts will make the decision for you, and it is possible it would not be the person or people you would have picked.  Sometimes clients tell me that they aren’t ready to complete their Wills because they can’t decide who to name as guardian.  But a guardian designation is not final.  If you change your mind about the guardians named in your Will in the future, you may change the designations through codicils to your Wills or by executing new Wills.  It’s better to have something in place than nothing at all!

Wills and trusts can also protect any money you leave your children.  In Pennsylvania, when someone leaves over $25,000 to a child, the courts must get involved to appoint someone to manage the money for the child.  The court then supervises that person and his or her management of the money.  This requires hiring a lawyer, and spending money on legal fees and court costs.  It is much simpler and less expensive to create a trust in your Will that will name a trustee that YOU choose to manage your money if something happens to both parents.  Also, money left directly to children without a trust will be paid to them when they turn 18.  Even the most responsible and mature 18 year old would likely be overwhelmed by being responsible for your life savings.  A trust can be written to last until your children are older, while still giving your trustee the power to manage the money and spend it on your children’s education and living expenses.

Estate planning is an investment in your family’s future.  It ensures that, even if the unthinkable occurs, you are leaving your family with a well-ordered estate plan that saves them time and money and ensures that they are protected.  The right estate planning attorney can make the process easy and straightforward, and taking care of these important documents now will leave you with one less thing keeping you awake at night!

Alison Gross is a lawyer and mom of three that helps you protect your families through Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney.  Please contact Alison at alison@altmangross.com or 215-435-8524 to discuss how she can help you with your Estate Planning and guardianship designations.  Learn more at: www.altmangross.com.

 

Going Back to Work After Baby with Nicole Pica and Once Upon a Time Creation

From the Experts: Going Back to Work After Baby with Nicole Pica

We are so excited to bring you this new blog series…From the Experts!

Here at Once Upon a Time Creation, our mission has always been to support your love of family as you treasure special moments, both big and small. I love to hear the stories behind your cherished keepsakes and understand, through all of you, that each stage of life presents us with new challenges. As life twists and turns, there is always a new experience that keeps us on our toes, reminding us that the more we know, the more there is to learn.  I truly believe that “it takes a village” and that we are all in this together. 

To support you in those big events and small moments, we are partnering with experts in their field to bring you advice on topics relevant to today’s family. We have a fantastic line-up in store for you starting with a post many can relate to…Going Back to Work After Baby.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us,

Signature

From the Experts 1 - Going Back to Work After Baby

Going Back to Work After Baby

You had a baby…how wonderful!!! You now have an adorable, snuggly, perfect, precious little person to take care of; what an amazing feeling!! You’re flooded with immense joy and love for your little one and you don’t necessarily want to leave them. What should you do? Some women take a 6 week maternity leave, some may take an extended leave and some leave the workforce for a few years. Some women don’t have a choice, as their financial situation requires them to return to work almost immediately. Women that have a choice still struggle with what that choice should be.

Having a baby is a life changing event and many women face uncertainty and difficult decisions in their professional future. While you’re out of work, here are some things to consider:

Don’t disappear. I know, sometimes the whole day goes by and you realize you haven’t even had a chance to brush your hair, how are you supposed to keep in touch with people? Even though you’ve just been robbed of 23 hours of your day and you’re functioning on little sleep, continue to grow your network and make it a point to keep in touch with colleagues, clients and other members of your network. It’s important to keep this cohesiveness going particularity if you’re taking an extended maternity leave. Set up a lunch date or phone call and bring the baby along…who doesn’t love babies?!

Stay up to date. Continue to keep up on industry news. One way is to follow LinkedIn’s pulse for articles published by various professionals. Plan an evening where you can set aside some time to create your own post so you can contribute to industry news and remain an active player in your field. You can also follow news, companies and individuals related to your industry.

Take care of yourself. There are days when you feel like nothings getting done and you’re pretty much walking through tar all day. No matter how draining the day is, you want to take care of your body and soul. Staying motivated can be difficult with the time constraints on your new life, but even just a few minutes a day can keep you on point. Find support amongst other new moms in the same situation so you don’t feel so isolated…have a laugh and a cry with them.

Challenge yourself. Challenges are beautiful opportunities for growth. There is no challenge too little. If you’re working out, throw in an additional 10 push-ups, run an extra mile. It may not seem like much, but you’ll be mentally rewarded for going the extra mile (pun intended). If you’re reading a book or have been meaning to research something, take 15 minutes before bed to do so.

Take inventory. We all know how your body changes after baby comes! Double check your work clothes and make sure they fit! Instead of buying a new wardrobe, consider purchasing a few belly bands (if you don’t already have them), they run about $12-$15 each. Utilizing the belly band will allow you to add adjustments to your pre-pregnancy outfits. Consider your new schedule and think about any adjustments you may have to make to your routine, such as packing your lunch, getting a shower or prepping your coffee at different times now.

Give yourself a break. It’s going to be a tough transition that will probably bring you to tears. You just spent practically the last year attached (literally) to your baby. Leaving him/her is not easy. Try to look at the positive though (paycheck, hot coffee, you’ll most likely be able to finish your lunch and you’ll definitely be able to go to the potty alone). Your baby will be back in your arms before you know it. Consider starting back to work mid-week instead of on Monday so you only have a few days till the weekend. If you’re having a hard time take some pictures, tissues, and a baby blanket with you to work. Don’t feel guilty for working.

Going Back to Work After Baby with Nicole Pica and Once Upon a Time Creation

Nicole Pica is a Career Strategy Advisor and the Founder of Reinvent U, LLC. She works with individuals seeking to enhance their marketability, develop their brand, and obtain a new career opportunity. Nicole is a former staffing consultant and has been involved on over 130 separate hiring decisions. In addition to career planning, she uses her background in biology to create methods of change that focus on well-being and stress reduction for those in career transition.