How to be Financially Proactive About Planning Your Wedding

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friends over at Blushington Blooms. Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

Tying the Knot Without Going Broke: A Financial Guide for Savvy Couples

TLDR: Practical tips for setting a wedding budget, saving strategically through side hustles and smart spending, and creatively cutting costs on venues, flowers, transport and more.

Getting married doesn’t have to break the bank if you can plan for priorities. If you must have a big reception with a dance and a DJ, you should. If you have to have a beautifully tailored dress and bridal party, allocate funds for that purpose. By listing your priorities, you can make sure that those items are fully funded for your enjoyment. 

What to do to prepare for your wedding financially 

Set up a bank account you can ignore, preferably one that offers high interest. If your family can contribute for your wedding, ask for their contributions early and load the account with that cash so you can earn interest on it. 

Start a side hustle and ask your partner to do the same. If you and your partner haven’t talked about merging your finances, now is the time to have a frank and open conversation. Load the funds from your side hustle into your new bank account. Make this bank account easy to load 

and hard to empty; don’t get a debit card for this account until you’re ready to start making purchases. 

How to get the best deals for your wedding 

Consider going off-season. May and June are often popular for weddings, but you may find that your favorite venue is over-booked or quite expensive. Consider also using non-traditional venues. 

Find out what flowers are in full season around the date you plan to marry. Seasonal flowers will be cheaper and more abundant; you can use these flowers to decorate your reception space. Save your floral funds for your bouquet and for your bridesmaids to carry. 

Limousine rentals can get quite costly. Again, plan early. Check in with your parents friends and your aunts and uncles. Does one of them have a classic car that they would be willing to rent to you or lend you? You may actually be able to ask to borrow a classic car or even a horse and carriage as your wedding gift from a family member or friend. 

How you can save money prior to your wedding

If you live on your own, now may be the time to bring in a roommate or even move back home. You and your partner may live together; it may be time to move into a smaller apartment to save money for your big day. 

Now is also the time to set up a budget together. Financial stress and conflict can do a great deal of damage to your relationship; financial conflict is actually a big contributor to many divorces. If you and your partner can save up and get through the financial pressure of a wedding, you can manage your next financial challenge with ease! 

If you’re in your 20s, you may be just starting out in your career or just out of college. Don’t fall into the trap of easily available credit for new furniture or a new car. You and your partner need to stay liquid until you’re married and ready to build a home life together. 

Tips and tricks for saving for your wedding 

Make a list of things you want to have done for your wedding. Do you want to lose weight before your big day? Focus your budget and your diet on cheap, filling foods that are low in calories. 

Maybe your goal is to have a big family gathering as part of your wedding. While you’ll likely want a caterer for your actual wedding reception, it may make more sense to have a potluck for your rehearsal dinner. If the weather and outdoor space will work, consider putting together a rustic outdoor gathering of hearty salads and grill up burgers and hot dogs. 

You can add picnic table coverings in your wedding colors. Get online and look for paper plates and plastic cups that will match your bridesmaid dresses. Clean-up will be simple and you can keep costs low. 

You don’t have to have a fairytale wedding with an unlimited budget to have an amazing day. Your grandmother’s dress can be altered to suit your shape and style. Revel in the financial skills you and your partner are building together!

Stress Less, Age Slow: The Link Between Stress Relief and Anti-Aging

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friend Ashley Nielsen. Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

The Fountain of Youth Lies in Stress Reduction

TLDR: Prolonged exposure to stress hormones like cortisol can contribute to premature aging and age-related diseases. Prioritizing stress management through lifestyle changes may be a key to maintaining youthful vitality.

In today’s fast-paced world, stress seems to be an unavoidable part of life. From demanding work schedules to personal responsibilities, stress can creep into every aspect of our lives, affecting not only our mental well-being but also our physical health.

While we often associate stress with temporary discomfort, mounting evidence suggests that the impact goes beyond fleeting feelings of unease. In fact, chronic stress has been linked to a myriad of health issues, including accelerated aging. However, amidst the chaos of modern living, there’s a silver lining: stress relief may hold the key to slowing down the aging process.

Understanding the stress-aging connection

To understand how stress influences aging, it’s crucial to delve into the intricate mechanisms at play within our bodies. When we experience stress, our bodies initiate a physiological response known as the “fight or flight” reaction. This triggers the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare us to confront or evade perceived threats. While this response is beneficial in short bursts, prolonged exposure to stress hormones can wreak havoc on our health.

One of the primary ways stress accelerates aging is through oxidative stress. When cortisol levels remain elevated over extended periods, they can lead to an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals, unstable molecules with unpaired electrons, can cause damage to cells, proteins, and DNA, contributing to premature aging and a host of age-related diseases. Additionally, chronic stress has been shown to shorten telomeres, protective caps at the ends of chromosomes that safeguard genetic material. Shortened telomeres are associated with cellular aging and an increased risk of age-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease and dementia.

Furthermore, stress can impair the body’s ability to repair and regenerate tissues, hindering vital processes for maintaining youthful vitality. From compromised immune function to diminished collagen production, the effects of stress on the body’s repair mechanisms can manifest in a myriad of ways, including sagging skin, weakened muscles, and impaired cognitive function.

The role of stress relief in anti-aging

Given the profound impact of stress on the aging process, it’s clear that effective stress management strategies are essential for maintaining youthful vigor and vitality. Fortunately, numerous techniques have been shown to mitigate the detrimental effects of stress on both your body and mind.


Regular physical activity is a potent stress-buster and anti-aging tool. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a yoga class, or a gym session, find an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your routine. Exercise not only reduces stress hormones like cortisol but also boosts mood-enhancing endorphins and supports tissue repair and regeneration.

Mindfulness practices

Incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily life to cultivate inner calm and resilience in the face of stress. Whether it’s meditation, deep breathing exercises, or mindful walking, taking time to anchor yourself in the present moment can help alleviate stress and slow down the aging process at a cellular level.

Prioritize sleep

Quality sleep is essential for both stress management and healthy aging. Aim for seven to nine hours of restorative sleep each night, and establish a relaxing bedtime routine to signal to your body that it’s time to unwind. Create a sleep-conducive environment free of distractions, and consider incorporating relaxation techniques such as gentle stretching or reading before bed.

Nourish your body

A well-balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense foods can support your body’s ability to cope with stress and maintain youthful vitality. Focus on incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your meals. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and limit your consumption of caffeine and alcohol, which can exacerbate stress.

Foster social connections

Nurture meaningful relationships with friends, family, and community members to provide emotional support and buffer against the effects of stress. Make time for social activities, whether it’s a coffee date with a friend, a family dinner, or joining a hobby group. Strong social ties are associated with lower stress levels, improved immune function, and increased longevity.

Set boundaries

Learn to say no to excessive commitments and obligations that contribute to feelings of overwhelm and stress. Prioritize your own well-being by setting boundaries around your time, energy, and resources. Delegate tasks when possible, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed. Remember, it’s okay to put yourself first and prioritize self-care.

Engage in relaxation techniques

Incorporate relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, or aromatherapy into your daily routine to promote relaxation and stress relief. Experiment with different methods to discover what works best for you, whether it’s taking a warm bath, listening to calming music, or practicing gentle yoga poses.

Seek professional support

If stress becomes overwhelming or persistent, don’t hesitate to seek professional support from a therapist, counselor, or healthcare provider. Therapy can provide valuable tools and techniques for managing stress, improving coping skills, and enhancing overall well-being. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Be creative

Channel your stress into creativity by engaging in activities that spark joy and inspiration. Whether it’s painting, writing, gardening, or playing a musical instrument, creative expression can serve as a therapeutic outlet for stress relief. Lose yourself in the flow of the creative process, allowing your mind to unwind and your spirit to soar.

The mind-body connection

Knowing is just half of the battle when minimizing stress and supporting slower aging. By understanding the connection and prioritizing the methods we’ve outlined to reduce stress, you can feel young in your best years of life. 

By incorporating these actionable methods into your daily life, you can effectively reduce stress levels and slow down the aging process. From regular exercise and mindfulness practices to prioritizing sleep and nurturing social connections, there are numerous ways to cultivate resilience and promote healthy aging. Take control of your stress levels today and reap the benefits of a more youthful, vibrant tomorrow.

So embrace aging and minimize stress for your health and sanity. 

About the Author – Ashley Nielsen

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music. 

Living the Chick Life: Tips and Tricks for Happy Hens and a Coop to Crow About

three brown and black hens with gray metal fence at daytime

Photo by Annie Williams on

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friends at Stromberg's Chickens.  Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

The Eggcellent Guide to Backyard Chicken Keeping

TLDR: This comprehensive guide covers everything from choosing the right coop size and location to providing enrichment and maintaining a healthy flock, ensuring a rewarding experience for both you and your backyard chickens.

So you’ve decided to join the growing flock of backyard chicken enthusiasts? Welcome! Raising happy hens isn’t just about fresh eggs (though those are a delicious perk), it’s about creating a thriving little society in your backyard. 

Here are 12 tips and tricks to get you started on living the chick life:

1 – Size Matters

It’s generally recommended to have at least 3 to 5 square feet of space per bird inside the coop if they have access to an outdoor area, and 8 to 10 square feet if they do not have outdoor access, especially if you plan on having a larger flock or if you want to raise happier and healthier chickens

Providing more space helps reduce stress among the chickens, which can be particularly important for certain breeds or in warmer climates. Pecking order squabbles and aggressive behavior are more likely to arise in cramped quarters, leading to potential injuries or even fatalities.

It’s important to observe your hens regularly for signs of overcrowding, such as feather pecking, bald spots, or general unrest. If you notice these issues, adjust the coop size or reduce the flock numbers accordingly. 

In addition to indoor coop space, outdoor run space is equally important for allowing chickens to exercise and engage in natural behaviors like foraging and dust bathing. 

Remember, a happy and comfortable environment leads to healthier and more productive chickens, so prioritizing their well-being by providing adequate space will pay off in the long run.

2 – Coop Condos

Vertical space allows for more hens without sacrificing floor space. Build tiers with ramps for easy access, ensuring sturdy construction that can hold the weight of your feathered friends.

Rotate flock access to different levels to prevent dominant hens from monopolizing prime roosting spots.

3 – Location, Location, Location

While sunshine is vital, consider prevailing winds and potential noise disturbances. Locate your coop away from noisy areas like busy roads or property lines to minimize stress for your hens. 

Strategic landscaping with wind-blocking shrubs can create a cozy haven.

4 – Fort Knox for Feathered Friends

Remember to consider a predator’s determination. Bury chicken wire fencing at least 2 feet deep around the run to deter digging predators. 

Consider a hardware cloth overhang around the top of the coop to prevent aerial attacks from hawks or owls. Invest in motion-sensor lights and alarms for added security.

5 – Nest Egg Essentials

Free Brown Hen Near White Egg on Nest Stock Photo

Photo by Alison Burrell on

Nesting box placement matters. Avoid drafty corners or areas with high traffic. Provide comfortable nesting material like a mixture of chopped straw and wood shavings, and refresh it regularly. 

Offer a variety of nesting box styles—some hens prefer open boxes, while others prefer enclosed spaces.

6 – A Balanced Diet is Key

Chickens love variety! Supplement their feed with locally available fruits and vegetables. Squash, melons, leafy greens, and even leftover cooked (unseasoned) rice or pasta are all welcome additions. 

Research what’s safe and seasonal in your area to create a delicious and nutritious smorgasbord for your flock.

Trivia: Hens need extra calcium for strong eggshells. Providing crushed oyster shells or a calcium supplement ensures they get enough.

7 – Hydration Stations

Chickens are messy drinkers, and constantly refilling waterers can be a chore. Invest in an automatic watering system with a drip line or nipple drinkers to ensure a steady supply of clean, fresh water. 

In freezing climates, heated chicken waterers are a lifesaver to prevent ice buildup, keeping your hens hydrated throughout winter.

8 – Bedding Basics

The deep litter method involves building a layer of absorbent bedding like wood shavings or chopped straw. Microorganisms break down manure, creating a natural heat source and reducing odor.

Simply remove a few inches of the top layer every few weeks and add fresh bedding, maintaining a comfortable depth for your hens to scratch and dust bathe in.

9 – Let There Be Light

Light is crucial for egg production in hens, as it directly influences their reproductive cycle. To maximize egg laying, consider investing in timers for your coop lights to ensure a consistent light cycle that mimics natural daylight hours, typically around 14 to 16 hours of light per day.

When setting up the lighting system, make sure to use warm-colored LED bulbs, which are more energy-efficient and closely resemble natural sunlight. Position the lights to evenly distribute illumination throughout the coop, avoiding dark corners where hens might feel insecure. 

Additionally, consider using dimmers for the coop’s interior light source to create a calming atmosphere at night, which helps reduce stress and promotes better rest for the hens. It’s important to transition gradually between light and dark periods, as abrupt changes can startle the birds and disrupt their natural rhythms.

10 – DIY Dust Bath Blend

brown hen on brown sand during daytime

Photo by Mike Cox on

Commercial dust bath mixes are convenient, but creating your own allows for customization. Combine sand (play sand works well), diatomaceous earth (a natural pest deterrent), and wood ash (ensure it’s completely cool) in a large container within the run.

Replace the mixture regularly for optimal dust bathing fun.

11 – Get Crafty with Enrichment

Boredom busters are essential for happy hens. Get creative! Hang colorful hanging baskets with treats hidden inside, offer them a mirror to spark curiosity, or create a “pecking playground” by scattering dried corn cobs or whole peppers in the run. 

Rotate enrichment activities to keep your hens engaged and prevent feather picking, a sign of boredom or stress.

Fun Facts: Each hen has her personality. Some hens are more dominant, while others are shy. This diversity makes having hens a fascinating experience as you observe their interactions and behaviors.

12 – Become a Coop CSI

A keen eye goes a long way in maintaining a healthy flock. Regularly check for signs of illness (lethargy, ruffled feathers, pale combs), injuries (limping, difficulty walking), or external parasites (mites, lice). 

Early intervention can prevent the spread of disease and ensure a speedy recovery for your feathered friends.


In conclusion, raising backyard chickens is a rewarding and enjoyable experience that involves creating a healthy and vibrant environment for your feathered friends. Following the outlined tips and tricks, you’re sure that your chickens are happy, healthy, and productive.

Protect Your Online Business Dreams: Avoiding LLC Legal Landmines

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friend Rob Lora over at Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

The Online Entrepreneur’s Guide to Airtight LLC Protection

TLDR: From drafting an ironclad operating agreement to picking the right state to zealously separating business and personal affairs, this guide covers the must-dos for LLC perfection.

You have a vision. A calling to create, to build, to make a difference through your online venture. You’re ready to pour your heart and soul into making it a reality.

But before you take the leap, there’s a crucial step you can’t afford to overlook: properly forming and maintaining your LLC. Neglect this legal foundation at your own peril.

The Importance of Properly Forming and Maintaining Your LLC

Imagine your LLC as a fortress protecting your personal assets from the risks and liabilities of your business. But like any fortress, it’s only as strong as its construction and upkeep.

Securing Personal Liability Protection

When you establish an LLC, you’re erecting a barrier between your personal and professional life. Your personal assets – your home, your savings, your family’s financial future – are shielded from potential business debts and legal judgments.

But this protection isn’t automatic or absolute. It requires diligence and care in how you set up and run your LLC.

Setting a Strong Legal Foundation for Growth

A properly formed LLC isn’t just about defense; it’s also about offense. It’s a springboard for growth, a signal to customers, partners, and investors that you’re serious about your business.

Cutting corners now might save time and money in the short term, but it can cost you dearly down the road. A solid legal structure from the start paves the way for a thriving future.

Common Mistakes When Organizing an LLC (And How to Avoid Them)

Let’s dive into some of the most frequent missteps entrepreneurs make when organizing an LLC, and how to sidestep these legal landmines. While the guide is based on Oklahoma, many of these principles apply no matter what state you’re in.

Skipping the Operating Agreement: A Recipe for Internal Disputes

Your operating agreement is the rule book for your LLC. It defines the rights, responsibilities, and relationships of the members. Neglecting to create one is like setting out on a road trip without a map or GPS.

Key Provisions to Include in Your OA

At a minimum, your operating agreement should spell out:

  • Ownership percentages
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Voting procedures
  • Profit and loss allocation
  • Buyout and dissolution terms

Having these key issues agreed upon in writing can spare you from disastrous disputes and misunderstandings later.

Choosing the Wrong LLC Formation State

Not all states are created equal when it comes to LLC formation. Some have higher fees, more stringent requirements, or less favorable tax treatment.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Where to Form Your LLC

Before you automatically form in your home state, consider:

  • Where your business will primarily operate
  • State filing fees and ongoing costs
  • State taxation of LLCs
  • Legal requirements for out-of-state LLCs doing business in your state

An ounce of research now can save you a pound of headaches later.

Neglecting to Keep Business and Personal Finances Separate

Commingling personal and business funds is one of the quickest ways to undermine your LLC’s liability protection. If you treat your business account like your personal piggy bank, a court could decide your LLC is a sham and “pierce the corporate veil.”

Best Practices for Maintaining Financial Boundaries

To keep your business and personal finances distinct:

  • Open a dedicated business bank account
  • Get a business credit card
  • Pay yourself a salary from your business account
  • Keep meticulous financial records
  • Never use business funds for personal expenses

Blurred financial lines can lead to blurred liability lines. Keep them crystal clear.

Failing to Stay Compliant with State Requirements

Forming your LLC is just the beginning. To maintain its good standing and legal protections, you must keep up with ongoing state obligations.

Annual Reports, Licenses, and Other Ongoing Obligations

Depending on your state and industry, your LLC may need to:

  • File annual reports
  • Obtain and renew business licenses and permits
  • Pay franchise taxes or other fees
  • Update the state on major changes (address, registered agent, etc.)

Falling out of compliance can lead to late fees, penalties, even dissolution of your LLC. Make compliance a non-negotiable priority.

Legal Pitfalls That Can Sink Your LLC (No Matter What State You’re In)

Some legal traps can ensnare LLCs regardless of their state of formation. Here are a few to watch out for.

Inadequate Capitalization: Ensuring Your LLC is Properly Funded

An LLC that’s running on fumes is more vulnerable to creditor claims and legal challenges. Make sure you inject enough capital to cover foreseeable expenses and weather potential dry spells.

Not Following Corporate Formalities

Treating your LLC too casually can backfire big time. Skipping annual meetings, not keeping minutes, or making major decisions without proper votes can all be used as evidence that your LLC is a sham.

How Skipping Meetings and Record-Keeping Can Haunt You

If you’re ever sued, the other side will scour your records for any hint that you’re not respecting the corporate form. Sloppy or nonexistent record-keeping is a glaring red flag.

Mishandling Contracts and Agreements

Signing contracts in your own name instead of the LLC’s might seem like a small detail, but it can expose you to personal liability.

Signing in Your Own Name vs. the LLC’s

Make sure all contracts and legal documents are signed by the LLC, not you as an individual. It’s a simple but crucial distinction.

Accidentally Dissolving Your LLC

Yes, you can inadvertently dissolve your LLC, often without even realizing it. Failing to file annual reports, letting your registered agent lapse, or ignoring other compliance obligations can all lead to administrative dissolution by the state.

What Actions (Or Inactions) Can Unintentionally Close Your Doors

Other potential dissolution triggers include:

  • Extended periods of inactivity
  • Failure to pay franchise taxes or other fees
  • Operating without a valid business license

Stay vigilant and proactive to avoid an accidental business ending.

Piercing the Corporate Veil: When LLCs Don’t Protect Personal Assets

In certain cases, courts can disregard the LLC structure and hold owners personally responsible for business debts and liabilities. This is known as “piercing the corporate veil.”

How Courts Determine Alter Ego Liability

Factors that can influence a court to pierce the veil include:

  • Commingling of personal and business funds
  • Undercapitalization of the LLC
  • Failure to follow corporate formalities
  • Using the LLC for fraudulent or wrongful purposes

If a court finds the LLC is merely an “alter ego” of the owner, the liability shield can crumble.

Real-World Examples of LLCs Losing Their Liability Shields

Case law is littered with cautionary tales of LLCs that lost their protection due to owners’ missteps. From construction companies to restaurants to real estate firms, no industry is immune.

The common thread? Treating the LLC as an extension of the owner rather than a separate legal entity. A painful and costly lesson.

Preserving Your LLC’s Liability Protection: A Checklist for Online Entrepreneurs

Properly forming and maintaining your LLC isn’t rocket science, but it does require consistent care and attention. Use this checklist to help safeguard your online business dreams:

  • Draft and sign a comprehensive operating agreement
  • Choose the right state for formation based on your unique factors
  • Open dedicated business banking and credit accounts
  • Keep business and personal finances strictly separate
  • Stay on top of annual reports, license renewals, and other compliance tasks
  • Sign contracts and legal documents in the LLC’s name, not your own
  • Hold annual meetings and document major decisions
  • Ensure your LLC is adequately capitalized
  • Monitor your LLC’s status with the state and address any issues promptly

Your online empire is counting on you to build it on a rock-solid legal foundation. Don’t let preventable missteps turn your dream into a nightmare.

About the Author

Written by Rob Lora, a business professional with extensive experience in workforce solutions and a keen eye for market trends and industry dynamics. 

For the Skimmers – Here’s a Quick Rundown of What Was Shared in This Post

– Draft a comprehensive operating agreement that covers ownership percentages, roles, voting procedures, profit/loss allocation, and buyout/dissolution terms. This prevents internal disputes.

– Choose the right state for LLC formation based on factors like fees, taxation, and where you’ll primarily operate. Don’t just default to your home state.

– Maintain complete financial separation between business and personal accounts/expenses. Commingling funds can undermine your liability protection.

– Stay compliant with ongoing obligations like annual reports, licenses, and fee payments. Falling out of compliance can lead to penalties or inadvertent dissolution.

– Follow corporate formalities – hold meetings, keep minutes, properly document decisions. Lax governance can be used against you in court.

– Ensure your LLC is adequately capitalized upfront. Undercapitalization increases liability exposure.  

– Always sign contracts and agreements under the LLC name, not your personal name.

– Monitor your LLC’s active status closely. Simple oversights can trigger accidental administrative dissolution.

– Be vigilant against “piercing the corporate veil” by courts who may disregard the LLC structure if owners fail to treat it as a truly separate entity.

The key is treating your LLC with respect from day one by formalizing operations, maintaining separateness, and staying compliant. Proper formation and maintenance allows the LLC to serve its vital asset protection function.

How to Turn Your Backyard into an Oasis

How to Turn Your Backyard into an Oasis - Blog Banner
Learn how to turn your backyard into an oasis of your very own in this quick post from our bloggy friends at Elite Pools. Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

Your home is your palace. You want to design every aspect of it to be relaxing and rejuvenating for you and your family. One area that you never want to overlook during this design process is your backyard. In fact, we’re going to help you turn it into your very own relaxing oasis.

Start With a Deck 

If your backyard is lacking in functionality, it can be challenging to determine where to start your oasis design. A great first step is to build a deck. The feature not only increases the overall value of your home, but it helps to carve out some definitive space. A deck will elevate your family from the natural landscape and provide a more enhanced feeling of privacy. 

Install Lights and Speakers 

Next up, you need to light up your backyard. Simple string lights can help to set a more relaxing ambiance on those summertime evenings. If you have an existing fence on your property, consider outlining your entire backyard perimeter with some ambient low lighting to help better define your space. It can be extremely relaxing to have that low light and the comfort of knowing that you can see what’s going on in your yard. And don’t forget to include those outside speakers. They can allow you to enhance your atmosphere and speed up that feeling of relaxation. 

Consider a Water Feature 

How to Turn Your Backyard into an Oasis - Pool Design Two

You can’t go wrong when it comes to integrating water into your backyard oasis. Water helps to provide a feeling of relaxation and comfort. You have a plethora of options when it comes to determining what water features you want to use. Pools, spas, waterfalls, and even fountains are all great options. Being able to relax in your spa or pool can further help to melt the stress away from your body. Adding a waterfall or fountain to your pool can promote that relaxation even further with the background water flowing. 

Plant Bug-Repellant Blooms 

You can’t have a backyard oasis without some beautiful flower blooms to set the tone. While you may be tempted to choose plants solely off of their bloom color, think again. You first want to look for plants that are well-proven to be bug-resistant, such as citronella grass. By having bug-repelling plants, you can spend less time being distracted and avoid the feeling of bug spray on your skin. Try to find a good mixture of bug-repellant plants and those that have stunning aesthetics.

Designate Shaded Areas 

You can have a beautiful outdoor oasis. However, if there’s no shade, it’s going to deter you and your family from using the space during the hot daytime hours. Do yourself a favor and carve out some designed shade. You have many different options at your disposal, depending on your unique landscape. You may be able to utilize the shade of an old oak tree to create a sunless sitting space, or you may want to install a canopy over your deck to give it a nice, cool location to avoid the sun. 

Create Areas of Interest 

If you truly want your backyard to feel like an oasis, you need to create areas of interest. These are simply small locations where designated activities can take place. Some examples of areas of interest include a cooking area, firepit, pool, spa, flower garden bench, and even gaming table. When you have multiple people visiting, they can break up into smaller groups and utilize these different areas of interest. These areas help to create more opportunities in your backyard oasis and keep it interesting for everyone. 

The Many Benefits of Having a Backyard Which You Can Relax In 

In today’s environment, it seems like everyone is burning the candle at both ends. Taking the time to relax your body and, more importantly, your mind is an absolute necessity to live a healthy and fulfilled life. Having a backyard oasis ready to go is a great way to encourage you to relax. There’s no planning needed. Simply head out back and enjoy the beautiful oasis you’ve created for yourself. 

Having an area gives you the perfect location for hosting friends and family for outdoor meals. This is a great way to promote social well-being and keep everyone interested in coming back. Even better, having items like flowers in your backyard oasis allows you to pick up a new gardening hobby that has been proven time and time again to promote relaxation and clarity.

Famous Ashley Grant Appears on Uploading By CastMagic

Famous Ashley Grant Featured on Uploading By CastMagic Blog Banner

What’s up my bloggy friends? I’m so excited to share that last week I was featured on an awesome podcast hosted by my bloggy friends over at CastMagic in an episode titled “Write to Connect: Ashley Grant from RSS & GoDaddy on Engaging Audiences with Content“.

Please note - This post does contain affiliate links that provide me a commission if you buy a subscription with no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Blain and Ramon of CastMagic welcomed me onto their show Uploading to dive deep into all things content creation. We kicked things off by chatting about my background, from how I got my start freelance writing back in 2007 to my journey writing for a variety of publications and businesses over the years.

One of the key topics we dug into was what makes a piece of great content. My biggest piece of advice? Write for your audience, not yourself. Think about what value you’re providing them and craft your content around answering their questions and meeting their needs.

Related: Start your own podcast for free today!

We also talked about the importance of infusing your own unique voice and story into your content, even when writing for a business. People connect with authentic stories, so don’t be afraid to get personal and share yours over and over. New audience members may not have heard it before.

Another hot topic was how to balance writing for SEO with writing content that truly engages readers. My take is that you need a blend of both – include the keywords and information people are searching for, but focus on showcasing expertise and fostering a real connection too.

Of course, we had to discuss how AI is transforming the content landscape. Using AI tools like CastMagic to repurpose your own unique content enables you to efficiently create a variety of content pieces that are authentic to your voice, as opposed to just using AI to generate generic, random content.

I had a blast nerding out about all things content with Blaine and Ramon. Be sure to check out the full episode below and subscribe to Uploading for more great conversations! And as always, keep writing to connect with your people.

Check out the full episode here:

Time stamps of the key takeaways from this episode

00:00 My accidental business card success story.
03:09 I started with a local restaurant story, and then pursued writing for various publications and websites, including,, Godaddy, and
07:50 Summaries at the beginning of articles drive attention. Bloggers are removing fluff to provide concise answers.
10:22 Emphasizes storytelling, audience connection for content.
13:20 Personal branding is about sharing your unique story to create a genuine connection with your audience.
19:45 Leverage CastMagic for content repurposing to save time and reach wider audience.
22:51 Google update targets spam content, domain penalties, unique AI-powered content creation.
24:38 Written and existing media need authenticity and can be used collaboratively for distilling thoughts.

What IS CastMagic?

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How to Pitch a Collaboration That’s Hard to Refuse

How to Pitch a Collaboration That's Hard to Refuse

Want to pitch an irresistible collaboration? Learn the key elements of an effective proposal and how to offer enticing mutual benefits to seal the deal.

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friend Indiana Lee. Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

Collaborating with peers, partners, and coworkers is a great way to enhance your operational efficiency and share the burden of your responsibilities. Effective collaboration brings out the best in people, too, as folks can share their unique skills and talents when working together. 

However, if you have ever engaged in a group project at work, then you will know how hard it can be to convince people to collaborate with you. This is understandable, as many people mistakenly believe that group projects will put a disproportionate burden on them. 

Rather than growing frustrated with peers who turn down collaborative opportunities, learn to pitch group work in a way folks cannot refuse. This respectful, enticing approach to collaboration will build a buzz around your project and help you bring in the insight and expertise of more people. 

Understanding Effective Collaboration

When you invite folks to collaborate with you, you should already have a good sense of what, exactly, they will do. This is crucial, as you cannot afford to waste people’s time when they join in your efforts. Similarly, people who join your team should not be expected to shoulder more than their fair share of the work. Before you send out proposals, be sure that you understand the basics of effective collaboration, including: 

  • Culture: Do you have a clear sense of values driving your efforts? Do you welcome new ideas, and will you take the time to get to know your teammates? 
  • Goals and Roles: What do you aim to achieve, and who will do what tasks? This ensures no one takes on too much and will help you get more from your people. 
  • Leadership: What kind of leader are you? How do you plan to motivate and engage your co-collaborators? 
  • Communication Lines: How can folks get in contact with one another? What tools and tech will you use to ensure everyone is on the same page? 

Answering these questions will put you in a great position to write an enticing collaboration proposal. A little preparation shows that you are in a good position to lead these efforts and can be trusted to spread the workload evenly amongst your peers. Defining your goals and roles early on will be crucial when writing your proposal, too, as these details will form the backbone of your pitch. 

Writing Proposals

Once you have established some goals and identified key responsibilities, you will need to write a project proposal. A formalized proposal shows your co-collaborators that you are well-organized and ready to lead a team of people. In general, an effective project proposal contains key elements, like: 

  • Summary: Introduce the problem that you are trying to solve as clearly and concisely as possible. What will the impact of your project be on the wider problem? How will this introduction entice your stakeholders? 
  • Background: Dive a little deeper into the problem, including data and key details where relevant.
  • Solution: Propose a solution that includes a vision statement, core responsibilities, and a proposed schedule. This gives people an understanding of the scope of the project and the work they may be asked to complete. 
  • Resources: What will you need to follow through on your vision? Are you waiting for funding? What costs do you expect to incur? 

Conclude your proposal with a persuasive summary. Re-emphasize the impact of your project and foreground the benefits that you can offer to folks who join your team. This will help stakeholders remember your pitch for days and weeks to come and will help you build an emotive appeal. 

If you are pitching to individual people, be sure to personalize your pitch. Learn more about the person you are asking to collaborate with and figure out what motivates them. Researching your potential co-collaborators will impress your stakeholders and will ensure that your pitch is relevant to their needs and aspirations. 

When writing your proposal, remember to keep your pitch as concise as possible. You do not have to share every detail of your project up-front. Instead, use time-saving tools to speed up the writing process, and focus on helping potential co-collaborators understand the need for teamwork. This will get folks to jump on board quickly and can help you create a culture of collaboration and cooperation. 

Mutual Benefits

Unless you are working on a charitable project that requires altruism from participants, you probably need to offer some mutual benefits to the peers you ask for help. Foregrounding the mutual benefits of your collaborative efforts will tip the scales in your favor and help build buy-in amongst folks who were previously on the fence. 

If you offer financial incentives, be sure to manage your financial system with transparency. Use tools like document management systems and regularly reconcile your accounts. This will help you manage a budget and remain financially compliant. This is crucial if you plan on offering dividends or financial benefits to the folks who have joined your team. 

Benefits do not have to be financial to be enticing. Sometimes, folks will join your project to gain experience and add something to their CV. If this is the case, be sure to endorse these team members as fully as possible. Write praise-heavy reviews on their LinkedIn profiles and give them qualifications or certifications based on their efforts.  

You can also offer noteworthy experiences to your co-collaborators. For example, if you are running a project that will garner public attention, consider concluding with a virtual summit and inviting your team members to speak. This will give folks a chance to practice their public speaking, help them network, and will innately boost the credibility of their CV. 


Pitching collaborative projects can be tough if you do not know how to communicate persuasively. Get the ball rolling by writing a proposal that is clear, concise, and properly organized. This will show folks why their efforts are important and will entice your peers into joining in. Follow through on this pitch by offering lucrative incentives. This will draw more people into the fold and help you share the workload amongst your peers. 

* Blog banner via Unsplash

About Indiana Lee

Indiana is a freelance technical writer, and is available for hire. Click here to find her on LinkedIn.

8 Benefits of Real Estate Investing


If you’re curious about real estate investment like I am, read this post to learn the top advantages of diving into real estate.

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friend Megan Isola. Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

Top Advantages of Real Estate Investing

Many people consider investing in real estate because it’s something tangible and understandable. Everyone needs somewhere to live and work, so investing in rental properties and other types of real estate might seem like a great way to grow your wealth since it’s fairly resistant to other market fluctuations. Veteran investors often diversify their investment portfolios to mitigate risk. For instance, if the stock market is down, it doesn’t necessarily mean the housing market is. 

Of course, investing in real estate isn’t for everyone. It’s a major financial and time commitment that’s not suited for individuals who prefer a more passive income stream. If this is the case for you, there are other ways to invest in real estate that don’t require you to hold physical property.  

However, if you decide to invest in physical property, you can expect the following benefits:

Additional income

When you invest in real estate, you can expect an additional monthly income. Whether you rent commercial buildings, houses, apartments, townhomes, or anything else, you can increase your monthly income without necessarily having a second job. Of course, being a real estate investor can feel like a second job if you’re handling all the tasks involved on your own, so that’s something to consider. 

When you purchase a rental property, you effectively become a landlord. If you want to avoid managing the day-to-day of your rentals, you can hire a property management company that can do it for you, but this will take a big chunk out of your income.


Most investors choose real estate because it tends to appreciate in value over time. While it’s certainly possible for any asset to depreciate in value, as long as you’re in the right location and continue with the proper upkeep of your property, you can expect its value to increase over time. More appreciation means more equity, allowing you to sell the property for much more than you purchased it for should you choose to. 

Hedge against stock market risks and inflation

The stock market can be volatile, so you don’t want to invest all your money into stocks even though they often yield higher returns than other investments like bonds and certificates of deposit (CDs). When the stock market is down, you can still rely on real estate because it’s less volatile and more predictable; as a landlord, you can predict how much you earn in rental income every month. 

Real estate investments can also protect you from inflation. Home prices tend to increase with inflation, allowing you to sell an investment property for much more than you purchased it for. 

Low Risk

Investing in real estate is considered relatively low risk compared to other more volatile investments like stocks. If you want the highest possible return on your investment without worrying about market volatility, you’ll prefer real estate over stocks. However, you shouldn’t put all your investments in one strategy. 

You should have a diversified investment portfolio that allows you to hedge against different risks. For instance, while real estate properties tend to appreciate value, they can depreciate. The area might no longer be safe or feasible for businesses, individuals, and families to pay a premium for it, forcing you to reduce your rental prices or how much you sell a home for. When and if this happens, you’ll want to have other investments to fall back on and help you recoup any losses. 

Working for Yourself

Many people earn their living from real estate investments alone. They become landlords or house flippers who solely work for themselves. Real estate investment has a low barrier to entry, allowing you to get a mortgage loan or residential hard money loan and begin investing as soon as you can afford the down payment and ability to repay the loan. This is easier said than done, but you can slowly build wealth over time in other ways before investing in real estate. 

Financial Security

A steady monthly income is great, but financial security is better. When you own rental property, you know where your monthly income is coming from. Your tenants are legally required to pay rent, and if they don’t, you can take them to court, so you’ll always have a paycheck coming your way. When you have a steady flow of cash, you can reinvest in your future, which may include retirement. 

Investing in real estate provides long-term financial security because it’s highly likely the property will appreciate over time. Of course, there’s no guarantee with investing, but doing your research about a location and property can mitigate risk. 

Potential Tax Advantages

Investing in real estate comes with some tax advantages if you own rental property. While technically, as a landlord, you’re self-employed, your income isn’t subject to self-employment tax, which is 15.3 percent of your earnings. You may also be eligible for tax breaks for depreciation, maintenance repairs, insurance, property taxes, and other business expenses.

Wealth Building 


Investing in real estate isn’t just about earning more money per month. Instead, it’s an avenue to building wealth over time. When you invest in rental properties, your mortgage payments are covered by rental income. However, you should always charge more than the base mortgage payment to earn additional monthly income. 

That additional income can be put away into a savings or retirement account and accrue interest, making it a relatively passive way to earn more money. Yes, there’s a lot of work involved for investors who have hundreds of tenants. However, if you only own a few rental properties, you don’t have to expect a maintenance concern or emergency every day of the week, allowing you to earn an additional income on top of your existing job salary. 

Should You Invest in Real Estate?

Investing in real estate is a big undertaking, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to invest in physical property. While there are benefits to holding property, especially rental property or homes you intend to fix and flip. There are other investments available if you’re interested in real estate. We recommend discussing your options with a financial advisor to help you make the right decision based on your financial situation. 

About the Author


Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends. 

Everything You Need to Know About Packing for a Spa Vacation

Everything You Need to Know About Packing for a Spa Vacation - Blog Banner

Trying to figure out what to pack for your next spa vacation? This post might help!

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friends over at Oak Haven Resort & Spa. Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

Packing Essentials for a Spa Vacation

When it comes to rest and relaxation, there is nothing better than a trip to a spa. The next time you decide to treat yourself, plan a multi-day trip to your nearest spa resort to soak in all the best rejuvenation treatments they offer. You’ll come home looking and feeling better than ever.

To get the most out of your special spa getaway, you’ll want to make sure that you pack all the necessities as well as any extras to enhance your trip. Planning ahead will take the stress out of your vacation and let you focus on yourself. Spas will typically provide basic items for guests to use but you may wish to bring the things you are comfortable and familiar with. Some of these items you probably already have, but if you don’t own them they are easy to obtain from online sellers. Keep this list handy when preparing for your next spa vacation.

Tips and Tricks for a Spa Vacation

Every destination has its special hidden secrets that insiders know about. If you take a bit of time to do some online sleuthing, you’ll find out what the expert travelers know about top resort destinations and luxury spa resorts. Want to know how to prepare for a hot yoga class? Curious about what happens during a couple’s massage session?

You are one online search away from learning all there is to know about these and other top spa and resort offerings. With a little education, you will be better prepared to select the wellness sessions, fitness classes, and other opportunities available to you. You will fit right in and feel like a pro from the moment you arrive. 

Everything You Will Need for a Spa Vacation

To feel truly prepared for your upcoming trip to a spa resort, you will want to pack correctly. Consider factors such as weather and time of year as well as your intended activities. Beyond that, this handy list will help you get started: 

1. Loungewear

Loungewear is all about comfort – easy to wear, easy to clean, and easy to pack. Think about natural fibers and a loose, easy fit. Your chosen loungewear can be easily thrown on as an outfit all its own or worn over a bathing suit for a walk to the pool or beach. 

2. Layers 

Some spa destinations can be cool in the morning and evening. If this applies to the place you are heading to, consider packing a cardigan or light jacket. A long-sleeved shirt is another good option.

3. Slippers

A fresh pair of bedroom slippers are a must for going back and forth between treatment rooms. Slip-ons are the easiest to put on and take off. 

4. Flip-flops

Aside from slippers, you’ll also want a pair of cute, easy-to-don sandals to take you from place to place.

5. Reusable water bottle 

Go green with your favorite reusable water bottle! You’ll want to stay hydrated at all times so remember to pack at least one high quality for yourself. 

6. Workout clothes 

Many spas offer fitness classes to get the blood moving and keep the mind active. Sneakers, athletic socks, leggings, and a fitted top are great choices for classes like these. 

7. Bathing suit 

Even if you don’t plan to swim, everyone has a hard time resisting the hot tub. Pack your swimsuit, your favorite wrap, and your wet bag just in case. 

8. Toiletries/Personal Care Items

While many spas provide basics, some travelers prefer to bring their own favorite shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, sunscreen, etc. Especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies.

9. Electronics/Entertainment

Don’t get us wrong, the whole point of a spa vacation is to unwind and recharge. But, let’s face it, nowadays we all bring our cell phones with us. You might also want an e-Reader such as a Kindle or a bluetooth speaker for tuning into some guided meditations while you’re tapping into your inner zen. Don’t forget the chargers too! 

Related: Check out the post Planning the Perfect Spa Getaway 

The Art of Packing Light: Avoid Overpacking for Your Spa Getaway

While it’s tempting to pack everything you might possibly need for your spa vacation, overpacking can actually detract from your relaxation. Lugging around heavy bags and sifting through clutter in your room can cause unnecessary stress. Remember, the goal of a spa getaway is to unwind and simplify your life, even if just for a few days.

To avoid overpacking, start by laying out all the items you’re considering bringing. Then, critically evaluate each one. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” If you’re unsure, chances are you can leave it at home. Stick to the essentials on your packing list and resist the urge to throw in extras “just in case.”

Keep in mind that many spas provide amenities like robes, towels, hairdryers, and basic toiletries. Check with the resort beforehand to see what’s available so you don’t bring duplicates. If you do forget something, most spas have sundries for purchase or can direct you to a nearby store.

When it comes to clothing, focus on versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. Neutral colors like black, white, and beige are easy to coordinate. Choose fabrics that are lightweight, quick-drying, and wrinkle-resistant for easy care and packing.

By packing light, you’ll have less to keep track of and more space in your bags for souvenirs or mementos from your trip. Plus, you’ll start your spa vacation feeling calm, collected, and unburdened by excess baggage – both literal and figurative. Embrace the art of packing light and enjoy the tranquility that comes with simplicity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Packing Essentials for a Spa Vacation

Packing for a Spa Vacation - Flowers and Towels

1. What should I pack in my carry-on bag for a spa vacation?

Pack your essential toiletries, medications, and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag. This way, if your luggage gets delayed, you’ll still have your basics. Don’t forget to include any valuables or electronics you might need, like your phone, charger, and ID.

2. Are there any items that I shouldn’t bring to a spa?

Most spas have a dress code, so it’s best to leave any revealing or offensive clothing at home. You should also avoid bringing any food or drinks, as many spas have their own dining options. Leave any valuable jewelry or excessive cash in your room safe or at home.

3. What kind of shoes should I pack for a spa vacation?

Comfortable, slip-on shoes are a must for a spa vacation. Pack a pair of flip-flops for the pool or beach, slippers for walking to and from treatments, and sneakers if you plan on using the fitness center or going on any outdoor excursions.

4. Should I bring my own toiletries or will the spa provide them?

While most spas provide basic toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, if you have specific products you prefer, it’s best to bring your own. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin or allergies.

5. Do I need to bring a bathrobe or towels?

Most spas provide guests with robes and towels to use during their stay. However, if you prefer your own, feel free to pack a lightweight robe and quick-drying towel. Keep in mind that the spa will likely have laundry services available if needed.

6. Is there anything special I should pack for spa treatments?

If you’re planning on getting any specific treatments, like a massage or facial, you may want to pack any personal items that will make you more comfortable. This could include a hair tie or headband, contact lens case and solution, or your own facial products if you have sensitive skin.

7. What should I pack for workout classes?

If you plan on taking any fitness classes, pack appropriate workout gear like leggings, a breathable top, sports bra, and sneakers. Don’t forget a water bottle to stay hydrated and a small towel if you tend to sweat a lot.

How Not to Forget Anything for a Spa Vacation

Now that you have the essentials, you don’t want to forget anything. Make a list with everything you need, then check it off as you pack. This will help you verify that you have remembered all your important items.

Depending on how long you intend to be gone, a large canvas tote bag, overnight bag, and small piece of luggage are probably all you need to bring. These should hold everything and even leave you some room to spare in case you do any shopping.

7 Tips to Write a Lease Agreement

write-lease-agreement- man-in-blue-long-sleeved-shirt-signing-paperwork

Thinking about becoming a landlord? Then you need these tips on writing a lease agreement!

The following is a guest post from my bloggy friend Ashley Nielsen. Interested in having a guest post on my website? Click here for my guest post submission form.

Tips on Writing a Lease Agreement

When becoming a landlord, you should always provide your tenants with a lease that protects your rights and theirs. A lease agreement is a legally binding document with the terms and conditions of property rentals. 

Lease agreements benefit landlords because they ensure a tenant cannot disrupt other tenants with noise, treat the property disrespectfully, or cause others problems. Meanwhile, a lease also protects tenants by setting clear expectations about what the landlord is responsible for, including snow cleanup and trash pickup, while setting clear rules for how tenants can use their homes. Unfortunately, most landlords aren’t lawyers, so writing a lease agreement or a rental agreement can be difficult and downright confusing. Here are a few tips to help you write a lease. 

Start With an Outline

Outlining your lease will help you understand all the necessary components and pieces of information that need to be laid out for tenants before they sign. Each section should start on a new page with a header and have subheadings when applicable. The sections you should include in your lease are:

  • Leased Property: Information about the property, including whether it’s a house, apartment, or condo, along with the name of the landlord and the location
  • Duration or term: The duration of the lease, which can range from a month to a year or more. You can also include your policy for renewing the lease. 
  • Rent amount: The total amount the tenant will pay, including base rent and additional fees for pets or parking spots. You should also include when rent is due, the accepted form of payment, and any other information about what’s included or not included in rent. 
  • Deposit fee: The amount someone pays for the security deposit and how they can get a refund when there’s no damage at the end of their lease. You should also define what qualifies as damage to the rental. 
  • Utility costs: If utilities are not included in rent, you should define the typical cost of utilities or how tenants can set up their utilities with the power company. 
  • Late fees: Fees for penalties on late rent payments that should state when a tenant will be charged a late fee. You may choose to include a grace period, especially if payment dates fall on a weekend or holiday. 
  • Tenant Responsibilities and Rights: The legal rights of tenants according to the state should be outlined in your lease, along with the responsibilities they have to the property, including the use of the property, cleanliness, and following local health and safety guidelines. 
  • Landlord Responsibilities and Rights: Landlord rights and responsibilities when renting units, including maintaining the property, making repairs, and following all local laws. 
  • Lease Termination: Explains how someone can terminate their lease before the agreed-upon date. Most landlords define circumstances in which a tenant can cancel the lease, including paying any fees. Additionally, the termination section should cover what happens when the landlord chooses to terminate the lease, including situations when they can, like failure to pay, property damage, illegal activity, and other lease violations. 
  • Governing Law: The governing law is the section of the lease that states the law the lease follows, usually with a stipulation that the law overrides the lease if it’s incorrect without invalidating the entire agreement.
  • Additional Property or Community Rules: Many landlords choose to add additional rules for the property or community. For example, if an apartment complex allows dogs, they may have a rule stating that dogs cannot be near the pool and all residents must pick up after their dogs on walks. 

Talk to a Real Estate Lawyer

write-lease-agreement- man-and-woman-reading-paperwork

To write a legally binding contract, you must follow local and state laws regarding tenant rights. Many laws dictate the types of terms you can have in your lease agreement, and they vary, so you can check your local laws or hire a real estate lawyer to help you understand the types of information allowed in your lease. If you want to save time and hassle, you can hire a lawyer to draft your lease agreement for you or ask them to review the lease once you’ve finished writing it to ensure everything stated can be upheld in court. 

Specify Pet Policy

If you allow tenants to have pets with restrictions or additional rules, you must specify them in your lease. You can also cover your bases by specifying that you don’t allow pets in units and the consequences for the tenant if you discover they’re housing a pet. Your pet policy can be as strict as you want, including restrictions for types of dog breeds, number of pets, the types of pets allowed, and weight restrictions. Of course, you can also completely prohibit animals in the unit. 

Add Right of Entry Information

Every state has a Right of Entry stimulation that tells landlords how much notice they have to give tenants before entering their homes. Knowing this law can help you avoid a potential lawsuit, but you should also include it in the lease to ensure tenants understand the law and that you have the right to enter their apartment as long as you give them notice.

Specify What to Do in Emergencies

Emergencies happen after hours, and a landlord can’t be present at all times waiting for them. Instead, you can specify what tenants should do if they have a maintenance issue that’s an emergency, like a broken pipe or flood. Since you must be available to respond to these types of situations, you can give tenants an emergency phone number where they can reach someone for help immediately. 

Activity Restrictions

Landlords can include their code of conduct in their lease to help tenants understand what type of behaviors are expected of them. For example, you can prohibit loud music after a certain time or prevent tenants from allowing unauthorized pets to enter their homes. In addition, activity restrictions give tenants a clear idea of what they’re not allowed to do, helping to prevent them from lease violations. 

Have Clear Payment Terms and Conditions

Your lease might already state how much rent a tenant owes at the beginning of the month and the types of payments you accept. However, it’s always a good idea to add a page about payments to your lease to ensure they know where to look when they have questions. You can give them a page that discusses how security deposits work and how they can pay rent, along with instructions for how to pay rent online or after hours. 

Final Thoughts

Before allowing someone to move into your rental property, you need to set clear terms and conditions with them to ensure they’re following the law and know their rights while also protecting your apartment and your reputation. A lease is beneficial for landlords and tenants because it lays out the different expectations for one another to prevent misunderstandings down the line.

About the Author


Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness or financial tips. During her free time she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.