Posts Tagged ‘Community’

It’s that time of year again when everyone, it seems, is traveling. I’ve already had two trips this spring, I’m leaving this week for a leadership training, and it now looks like I’ll be traveling a few days each month through the end of the year. Thus I started thinking about how I can save some money (since I’m also losing income while traveling) and decided to put together my list of how to save a few dollars on the essentials.

So here are my tips for cheap(er) vacationing!

  • Sign up for (or update) AirBnB*! Then spend some time finding the perfect place to stay. AirBnB offers all different price points, amenities, and locations that can save you a lot in accommodations.
  • Pack a cooler! A cooler works really well on road trips. Packing your own sandwiches, snacks, and cold drinks can save quite a bit and keep your tummy happier. Even if you only eat out of the cooler once a day, it adds up. If you’re not road tripping (or even if you are), consider hitting the prepared foods section of the local grocery for a salad or hot meal.
  • Fly on Tuesday or Wednesday. The experts that study the airline industry say these two days are best for cost savings!
  • Visit our state and national parks. There are usually low-cost entrance fees and many times have lots of activities available for no-cost beyond the entrance fee. These areas are also usually less crowded than other public use areas.
  • Seek out free walking tours, free days at museums and parks, or discounted matinee shows. Also, check out the local theater and orchestra schedule for free and discounted dress rehearsals.

So that’s my short list of how I save a few dollars when I have to be away from home whether it be a fun, summer vacation or a business trip.

Happy traveling!

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*I list only AirBnB here because I’m an AirBnB host as well as an avid user of AirBnB.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage Specialist!
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Recently I was on Facebook and saw an ad for a local chiropractor’s office offering three hours of massage for less than $100. I was instantly furious. Several thoughts bounced around the inside of my head while I was trying to determine what made me so mad. Was I upset about possibly losing business? Yes, but not so much for this kind of emotional reaction. Was it the chiropractor’s office? Maybe, but I’d never even heard of the place before. Was it the massage therapist? Maybe, but I didn’t even know who worked there. Was it the ad itself? Just a black and white text affair, blunt, but no. It took a bit before it finally coalesced to the point that I could put it into words.

Who in their right mind is willing to do three hours of massage for less than $100?

As an independent business owner and massage therapist the only scenario that makes sense is that the business is doing it to bring in more business. Okay, that’s one way to do it, but is the massage therapist getting paid a previously agreed upon minimum hourly rate? Or are they having to eat the cut rate? It’s one thing for me to decide to cut my rates and do a special, it’s another thing for an employer to decide that for me.

Let me break some of the numbers down and give you an idea of why I found myself so angry at this Facebook ad.

I’m an independent massage therapist whose rates are currently $70/hour. When I do an hour of massage I receive from my client $70. With that $70 I keep the doors open, the heat, air, lights, and water on, supplies stocked and pay any other business related expenses, pay taxes, pay myself so I can keep food on the table (and in the dog’s bowls) and a safe place for my family to live.

As an employed massage therapist when the employer runs a “special” the massage therapist typically takes at least a share of the hit. So that special for 3-hours for $100 works out to 1-hour for $33.33. The employer then takes their share which is negotiable at the time of employment and is typically 40-60% depending on what the employer supplies. So out of $33.33 the employer will take $13.33, if the massage therapist is lucky, leaving them $19.99 for an hour of massage. If they’re not so lucky those numbers flip, the house takes $19.99 leaving the massage therapist $13.33.

Now, I am fully in support of the house taking their cut, they have to in order to keep the doors open. But can you imagine going to school, graduating, being required to take and pass a national-level exam, purchasing and maintaining liability insurance, going through the process of becoming licensed by the state, maintaining continuing education hours in order to become a skilled professional all to be paid $13.33 for an hours worth of work?

I certainly cannot and before you move away from that list I just wrote about all the things you have to do to become a legally practicing professional massage therapist in the state of Alabama, consider that every single thing on that list takes money. Most of those steps take a lot of money.

So it’s just not feasible from a business standpoint for a massage therapist to agree to work for this kind of pay. They can’t keep up their certification and licensing much less put food on the table. Add to that, people flock to these kinds of deals giving that therapist a lot of work to do. So they’re wearing their bodies down without receiving sufficient resources to maintain their self-care or livelihood. I think we can all agree this is not good practice nor is it sustainable.

So who would agree to work for this pittance?

Unfortunately, the massage therapists who agree to work under these circumstances are often desperate for money and employment, very young, just graduated from massage school, have student loans coming due, and/or a combination of these. So deal shoppers who bounce from place to place looking for the cheapest deals are essentially taking advantage of someone who is already down on their luck or trying to get started. They also may not be receiving the best massages either because let’s face it, how good a job do you do when you’re stressed out and worried about how you’re going to pay the electric bill.

What Can We Do?

As a consumer of massage, you can either refuse to deal shop or if you do, tip the therapist directly at a very high percentage. If you can’t afford to make up the difference in the tip then book at least two more appointments at full price for every one appointment you get at a discounted rate, write a review for the therapist, and send your friends to that massage therapist. In other words, do all you can to support that person.

As a massage therapist, you can negotiate these things with your employer. It’s best if it’s in the employment contract or agreement, but you can still negotiate with them even after you’ve signed an agreement. Insist on a minimum rate of pay for your services. Insist on limits, both to the number of “deals” they offer per year and how many massages they sell at the discounted rate or give away for free. Don’t expect that to be an easy conversation, but nothing worth having comes easy or cheap. Also consider the possibility that self-employment may be a better option.

In a perfect world we would all get paid what we are worth. Unfortunately, our system doesn’t work that way and we get paid what we settle for or what the market will bear. As a massage therapist I choose not to settle for less and know that sometimes I’ll be slow because there are lots of deals floating around. As a consumer of massage I refuse to shop the deals because it artificially dilutes the value of massage therapy and makes it harder for all of us, consumers and massage therapists, to afford.

So if it sounds too good to be true, you know it probably is, at least in the long run. Anyway, here are a couple of related articles that you may now be interested in reading: How to support your favorite businesses for free and How to find a great massage therapist

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Ashiatsu Barefoot Specialist!

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There’s a dirty little secret lurking in your clothes dryer. For years I’ve heard safety experts talk about cleaning your dryer to prevent fires. And for years I thought, “What a load!” and “Who has time for that?” and “That won’t happen to me!”

Until one day I noticed my dryer wasn’t performing particularly well. It was about 11 years old. And I began to wonder whether there was anything to this cleaning out the dryer for better performance thing I’d been hearing about. I Googled about it and everything came back with, “Clean your dryer!”

So then I got on YouTube and searched for my brand and style of dryer and lo and behold found a wonderful Hispanic man speaking in English showing how to clean out my particular dryer. His accent was fabulous! And his style was fun so one morning I sat about cleaning my dryer. Did I mention it had been 11 years? It was frightening. I wish I had taken pictures. There were literally bricks of compressed lint built up in the thing.

Fast forward a few more years down the road and said dryer gave up the ghost. Right in the middle of a load of sheets. And a mere two weeks after I had cleaned the machine and the exhaust system out. Hmmmph!

Somehow I managed to score a new-to-me, used dryer for the most reasonable price ever (free). Then one morning I went to work and when I arrived home it was installed and all my sheets were dry. Gotta love your neighbors!

So because I now know what dryers can look like on the inside and I didn’t have any maintenance history on this thing, I decided I should probably clean it. This time I took pictures and I wanted to show you why it’s important to clean out your dryer.

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This is what I found when I got the front panel off. Notice the “mice” made out of lint and the whispy nature of the wiring. Something else that was immediately apparent is that a lot of the foam seals had lost their adhesive and were hanging or just disintegrating. These are important to fix or replace because the seals keep the lint in the exhaust system and not in the interior of the dryer with the electrical parts. Aka, fire hazard!
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There were rafts of lint in the corners and standing on top of flat surfaces and all the electrical and motorized parts were covered in lint.
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The exhaust trap was caked with hardened lint on the inside and covered in dust and lint on the outside.
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And possibly the scariest part of all was this turbine thingamajig that I pulled this pile of lint out of. The good news is that with a vacuum, a little flexibility, elbow grease, and time this easy household task was accomplished and now I don’t feel like I have to stand over the dryer with a fire extinguisher every time I turn it on.

I’m not even going to address the bacterial potential for what goes on in the innards of a dryer. Just know that you really don’t want to leave wet clothes hanging out in your dryer. Trust me. Really, trust me on that. And over dry everything just a tad.

Since I do so much laundry, three to four loads per day just in sheets, I clean my dryer out every three months. I’m not sure what is recommended for a normal household, but I will tell you that 11 years was way, way too long. We were lucky. So if you haven’t lately (or ever), make time to clean out your dryer!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Barefoot Massage Specialist!

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Alabama Massage Therapy License, Harvest Moon Massage TherapyIt was just eight short years ago (technically August 22nd) when I finally became licensed in the State of Alabama!

Who knew way back then that it would take almost eight years to become a full-time massage therapist? Not me, but I don’t regret a minute of it. I love being a massage therapist and helping people get out of pain!

I am honored at how so many seek me out and trust me to help eliminate their pain and stress and then send their friends and family.

I’m sending out the biggest, “Thank You,” to my clients, family, and friends who have helped make this dream come true.

When I think about being a massage therapist two things from my past repeatedly come to mind. First, how my high school classmates decided that I, their class Valedictorian, would be most likely to become a beach comber. Some day I will do massage on a beautiful beach with the waves crashing in the background. Under my table will be the most impressive array of found objects, shells and driftwood. Imagine the photo opportunities!

And second, this quote from Louisa May Alcott that I chose to appear next to my senior yearbook photo, “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” I’m so glad I followed and I’m so, so glad I reached this aspiration.

Thank You For Your Support!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Barefoot Massage Specialist!

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Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a safe and patriotic 4th of July celebration!

Please remember your pets, our veterans, and others suffering from PTSD this holiday and be considerate of their struggles with the fireworks and other triggers.

Want to learn more about our veterans and PTSD and how holidays featuring fireworks can affect them? Here’s an article to get you started.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur, Alabama’s Original Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapist!

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I just wanted to get this out there before I forgot!

The Pool Doctors in Decatur, AL were kind enough to let me come to their business October 25th and set up to provide free massage for their employees and customers. I think there were 6 takers in the short time I was there. We had a lot of fun and plan on doing it again next year. Be ready!

Oh, and I still have to tell you what happened at AMTA National Convention in September, I haven’t forgotten it’s just been crazy busy!

This weekend I’ll be in Madison all weekend for the Foundations for Manual Lymph Drainage training that is being hosted by AMTA-AL. Interested in some affordable massage CEUs? Click here for more info on how AMTA-AL is bringing them to you!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashi-Thai Massage!

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Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy

Ashi Portables

In celebration of National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, I’ll be hauling out the portables and setting up at Pool Doctors in Decatur, AL.So if you’re curious about the barefoot massage thing come on out to see me on October 25th from 2pm – 5pm at the Pool Doctors (1207 Central Pkwy SW, Decatur, AL)

You can watch for a few minutes and then hop on the table for a free sample!

Hope to see you there!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Barefoot Massage!

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