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THIS ISSUE:  Advice for Chocoholics, Paying Less in Taxes
Hi there,
So, Valentine's Day has come and gone...and here in the Northeast, it was tough to get around, with over 2 feet of snow dropping in less than 18 hours!  I think it's possible there were some men (and women) who had some 'splainin' to do Valentine's night.
I hope you weren't one of them!

Just in time for the holiday, I received an email from Harriet, a reader, who asks:

"What strategies can be used if you are a chocoholic?"

I found it pretty ironic that at the very same moment I opened and read her e-mail, I was stuffing my face with some Hershey's dark chocolate my husband Chris bought me for V-Day.  :-)

Fortunately, although I'm not a chocoholic, I have devised some strategies for those times I do like to consume a Hershey's Kiss...or two...or three...or four.

1)  Simply compensate by cutting out some high-carb items like pasta or bread that you routinely eat.  I was at a party yesterday and stuck to the meatballs and salad, because I'd had quite a few pieces of chocolate since V-Day.

2)  Compare chocolates.  You might find one or two Hershey's Kisses have a lot fewer carbs than that entire candy bar you usually eat.

3)  Try chocolate graham crackers.  Mmmmm...they are so good.  But they can also be addictive, so watch out.

4)  Try "good-carb" chocolate snack bars, like the South Beach brand.  They're not as good as the "real thing", of course, but pretty close.  I always keep at least one in my purse.

5)  Know when you'll have your chocolate cravings and plan ahead for the extra carbs.  Notice you still get to eat your chocolate (versus dieting, which tells you to plan for alternatives).  You just have to cut back on some OTHER food items temporarily to get your chocolate fix in.

6)  Get chocolate in small doses, like those little squares in Hershey bars or the little Kisses themselves.  Same with candies like M&M's.  Don't leave them out in a bowl.  Keep themin a cabinet, and let yourself reach in for a few.  Then seal up the bag and put it back in the cabinet.

Thanks for the question, Harriet.  And if any of you out there have additional tips for chocoholics, write and let me know!


As you fire up the tax machine for 2007, you may be wondering how you can keep more of your hard-earned money.  Even though my background is in accounting and I don't mind doing taxes, it's still disturbing when I see how much we've paid and/or how much we still owe.

One of the best ways to reduce your tax bill:  start a small business.

Everything related to is a tax deduction for me.  

It's not as hard as you think to get a little business going. I used to think it was "too hard" and "too complicated".  Then I was forced into giving it a try, when daycare for three kids began to surpass paychecks and it was time to try making a "little bit" from home.
I've done medical transcription, party plan, virtual assistant and of course, online publishing (and at one point I did three at the same time!)
The possibilities are endless.

In case you also think it's "too hard" or "too complicated", or you're "too young" or "too old" or "too busy", let me highlight three people close to me that are running successful businesses, all from home, all with MASSIVE amounts of tax deductions!
They are all very different, with different backgrounds and different interests.   


Some of you already know Leo, as you may have found Real People Don't Diet by reading his awesome weekly newsletter. 
For those of you who don't, Leo's been my friend since kindergarten, and he sells a great program online that taught me and my husband how to structure and pay off our debts so that we will be debt-free (including our mortgage) in 15 years!  

After that, we'll have several thousand a month to save and invest, and if we do that for the extra 11 years we would have had on our mortgage, we'll have over a half-million dollars EXTRA in our savings account at retirement!  (That's at a savings rate of just 5%, which we'll probably beat if we invest in the stock market.)
Can you tell I just LOVE crunching numbers?

His site is:

Leo is a "real" person--I could publish his 1st grade photo online to prove it, but I'd like to be his friend for another 30 years, so I'll pass.

One of my fellow school and church moms, Tammy Matthews, started her own business out of frustration.

She had a hard time using standard daily planners to track her family's busy schedule.

She sat down at her kitchen table and sketched out a custom planner that met her needs.  It featured flip-out pages with lots of room to write--and that was just the beginning!

I've seen Tammy grow this from prototype (I was a tester) to finished product, complete with website.  Her company is Bizzimom Planners, Inc. and her website is  

I proudly own a large Christian Midnight Blue 2007 planner, and I'd bet you'd find one useful too.

Even if you don't need a planner, check out her site and her business:

YES, she really does live right down the road from me, and NO,  I'm not going to explain the candle incident in her downstairs bathroom this past summer.

Okay, so I'm really biased when it comes to Kevin.

He's my brother.

But it's been inspiring to watch him tell us as early as high school that he was going to be a stunt driver--and then see him go out and actually do it!

Besides being a stunt driver, Kevin became a certified expert off-road driver, first with Land Rovers and then with Hummers.  He taught at the prestigious Equinox school in Manchester, VT.

There isn't a 4x4 he can't master.  And there are plenty of "experts" he's pulled out of the woods.

In the process of teaching off-road driving, coordinating Hummer owner events and taking folks out for personal driving lessons and adventure tours, Kevin invented his own spare tire carrier that, well, does a LOT more than just carry a tire.

He produced a few of the carriers on his own, then contracted with a factory to make more.  Now he's featured in several catalogs and does a nice business, once again from home.

His Rat Cage website is and his driving school website is
And just in case you think you're too busy, Kevin is married, owns a home and handles both businesses while studying full-time to become a paramedic and volunteering as a firefighter.


How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

How do you lose weight?

One bite at a time.


If you own "Real People Don't Diet" you know it's very possible to keep eating what you love and still lose weight.  Make sure you visit and send us your success story!

If you don't own the book, visit the site and pick up a copy.  Read the story of how I lost weight--and two dress sizes--in about six months.  It's guaranteed to work for you, too.

If I can answer any questions for you, please drop me an e-mail at cate AT
Thank you so much for reading!

Keep it Real,

:-)  Cate

P.S.  Want to know my favorite source of recipes?  It's  I search by ingredients all the time, using whatever's left in the pantry.  For many recipes, you can get the nutritional information per serving right on the site.  Sign up for their magazine--it's fantastic, and it's fr e.

P.P.P.S.  My favorite cookbooks?  Anything by  I have to adapt some for my own personal tastes and weight-loss needs, but you can't beat the tried-and-true recipes, as well as the awesome decorating/entertaining/gift-giving tips throughout each volume.

P.P.S.  In case you missed the links, visit the sites of  three people close to me that have all started home businesses.  I'm not sure what's worse, having to lose weight or having to pay taxes.  Start your own small business on the side and pay less in taxes!

Leo at
Tammy at
Kevin at and

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Copyright (c) 2007 and Cate Brizzell

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