Thursday, December 12, 2019

Quiz: Are You Gandalf or Martha Stewart?

Image by Beth Lowell from Pixabay
With the holiday season upon us, it's important to figure out your decorating style -- especially with all the pine cones falling on the ground for endless inspiration.
1. Why did you light that pine cone on fire? 
A. To scare off orcs attacking in the forest
B. To add the perfect touch to a Christmas centerpiece

2. Neutral colors such as gray and white are perfect for... 
A. Robes and pointy hats
B. Bed linens and towels

3. Why are you carving that driftwood? 
A. For a distaff
B. For a fruit bowl

 4. What was the low point of your career? 
A. Dying after battling the Balrog
B. Prison after battling the SEC

5. Who is your celebrity crush? 
A. Cate Blanchett
B. Christian Bale

6. How many grandchildren do you have? 
A. None, unless you count the Hobbits
B. Two

7. What is your favorite inspirational quote? 
A. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
B. If you learn something new every day, you can teach something new every day.

Mostly A's - Congratulations! You are Gandalf the White, one of the most powerful wizards in Middle-earth.
Mostly B's - Congratulations! You are Martha Stewart, one of the most powerful lifestyle gurus on Earth.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Column: When Your Side Hustle Becomes a Side Hassle

After four months of working for DoorDash, I have thrown in the towel on my side hustle. At some point, it became more of a hassle no matter how hard I hustled. The last day, I drove four hours for a grand total of $44, which works out to $11 per hour -- which happens to be even less than $11.10 an hour minimum wage in Colorado.

Once I factored in the mileage driven and taxes I would have to pay, it ended up being significantly less than minimum wage. I'm not sure who is making money from the gig economy, but it's not the gig workers. DoorDash's current pay model is to pay drivers $2 per delivery, but they charge both the diner and the restaurant for the privilege of delivery.

At some point, I hope DoorDash's model runs out of gas, but I'm afraid there are enough drivers who will give it a try for a couple of months to see if they can make any money. DoorDash is basically depending on a gullible crop of gig workers to do their leg work for less than minimum wage.

Perhaps someone out there has managed to make money at DoorDash or other delivery services. If so, let me know! I didn't drive late at night for safety reasons, but perhaps some hardy souls out there are scooping up the tips during the midnight hours. Somehow I doubt it, however.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Opinion: Unicorns Don't Want to Be Part of Your IPO

I would like to enter a fervent plea to leave the unicorns out of the business pages. Unicorns are pure creatures, unsullied by the muck and mud of capitalism. They should frolic in the forests and weave flower crowns with their hooves, instead of being splashed over the front pages of Fortune and Forbes.

Unicorn initial public offerings, or unicorn IPOs, are defined as IPOs that lead to a market valuation of $1 billion or more. I'm not sure who first coined the term unicorn to describe a stock offering, but I urge them to stop.

The Unicorn Frappucino and other unicorn products were hard enough to swallow, but at least they had a touch of whimsy with rainbow colors and glitter. The unicorn IPO, I hate to say it, has no glitter except for the cold glitter of greed.

If financial writers really must turn to mythical creatures to describe stocks, at least let the peaceful unicorn have a well-deserved rest. Instead, here a few fiercer suggestions for IPOs:

  • Medusa IPOs - Medusa was a Gorgon with snakes for hair. One glance at her venomous hairdo would turn mortals into stone. Just think of a Medusa IPO for any company that could turn their competition to stone at one glance.
  • Hydra IPOs - Hydras were mythical monsters with nine heads. Each head that got cut off would sprout a new one in its place. Just think off the endless possibilities for spinoffs with a Hydra IPO.
  • Satyr IPOs - A satyr was a half-goat, half-man who liked to carouse above all else. Just think of all the bro IPOs that would be thrilled to be classified as Satyr IPOs.
  • Now you might ask who appointed me to speak for the unicorns, which is a valid question. As an aspiring writer of fantasy novels, I am probably more well-acquainted with the myths of unicorns than strictly necessary, but I can assure you that the unicorns don't want to be part of your IPO.

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

    Thursday, July 18, 2019

    Is it Time to Let Myself Go Yet?

    Now that I'm 45, I feel like it might be time to let myself go already. To let the gray hair seep back into my hairline. To let my eyebrows grow back into their glorious unibrow. To chuck the lipstick in favor of Chapstick.

    But then I get my latest People magazine, and I marvel at the 55-year-old actresses, who look twenty years younger. I used to aspire to aging gracefully. But nowadays celebrities don't even age at all past 35. Who knows how much work it is to look 35 when you're 55? I'm already tired of putting in the effort.

    There's no reason to craft this fa├žade of eternal youth. I'm married with two kids. The last time I met a handsome stranger's gaze in a bar, it was because it was kids eat free night. We both smiled ruefully at each other as our kids behaved badly.

    I'm not sure why women chase the disappearing beauty of youth. There certainly aren't role models of older women readily available in the movies. Women go from nymph to hag with no stopping-point in between.

    But I say bring on the hagdom! I will brew pots of herbal tea. I will let my gray hair curl in wicked waves. I will wear caftans and orthopedic shoes.

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

    Friday, June 7, 2019

    Mom Shamin' at Dunkin'

    I furtively glance around as I tiptoe into Dunkin' with my four-year-old in tow. Only a horrible mother would allow her child to consume deep-fried carbohydrates laced with sugar, right?

    Even Dunkin' itself is even distancing itself from donuts. Their name is no longer Dunkin' Donuts, just Dunkin'. As if you can purchase any item for dunking into coffee.

    Still, their display features rows and rows of glossy donuts. My daughter even has a favorite, which is strawberry frosted with sprinkles. I alternate between the French Cruller and the chocolate-frosted classic.

    When we enter, I breathe a sigh of relief. The occasional commuter sweeps in for a coffee to go, but the rest of the shop is filled with children and their caregivers. (I always suspect the slender waifs are really nannies, but they could me mothers who are in better shape than I am.)

    We sit down in a bright pink booth and nibble on our donuts. I give my daughter my phone to watch mindless YouTube videos featuring millionaires who open toys for the camera.

    "Mom, how come that little girl gets to watch the phone?" a cherubic toddler asks.

    "Some mommies let their kids watch the phone, but not me," the mom says.

    My worry was misplaced. I'm mom-shamed for my phone instead of donuts.

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

    Tuesday, May 7, 2019

    Don't Be a Helicopter Spouse

    Many articles have been written about the dangers of being a helicopter parent. However, I have to stop myself from being a helicopter spouse as well.

    My husband does the chore of washing the dishes, with sometimes interesting results. I try to bite my tongue, because after all, I really don't want to do the dishes.

    I normally am the farthest person from a neat freak, but neat little rows of ants marching around our sink made me morph into Wifezilla. The combination of a warm spring and dishes left overnight proved irresistible for the ants in our backyard.

    Instead of letting my husband wash the dishes, I maniacally cleaned up every dish as soon as it touched the sink. My kitchen never looked so good! I almost wanted to invite people over for dinner just to admire the spotless kitchen.

    However, after a week of Type-A dishwashing, I realized I had effectively taken over the chore of washing the dishes. I had to relax into my usual lackluster oversight of the dishes in order to keep my sanity.

    Also, my husband called the exterminator.

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

    Friday, March 22, 2019

    I Tried Rent the Runway -- with Mixed Results

    After two children and countless diets, I have a closet full of dresses ranging from size eight to size 14. I haven't worn my size-eight little black dress in more than a decade, but against all advice from Marie Kondo, it's still hanging in my closet.

    With a vacation to California planned, I decided to try Rent the Runway for a fresh slate of spring dresses. Unfortunately, Denver weather interfered in the form of a March blizzard, which closed schools, airports -- and interrupted mail delivery.

    After more than an hour on the phone the morning of my departure, it was determined that my package was still sitting at the distribution center instead of on my doorstep. Rent the Runway automatically returned the package, but left the charge on my credit card.

    Once we arrived in San Francisco, my hotel turned out to be a few blocks away from a brick-and-mortar Rent the Runway store. I happily tried on dresses, and selected a Draper James A-line dress in size XL for a $30 rental. The transaction at the store ended up being fairly easy, and I just dropped off the dress the next day. I could have kept the dress for four days, but I didn't have time for dry cleaning.

    When I got home, I had to spend another 20 minutes on the phone to get the charge on my credit card refunded. All in all, I enjoyed the clothes, but it ended up being quite a hassle for the package that was never delivered. My advice would be to spring for the eight-day rental if you live anywhere with bad weather. I had planned on receiving the package the day before I left, but that might not be the best idea.

    The saleslady at the store said Rent the Runway plans on opening on a Texas distribution center soon, which will hopefully make renting clothes easier for fashionistas located West of the Mississippi. Right now, all clothes are shipped from a New Jersey distribution center.

    Interested in trying it for yourself? Receive $30 off your first Rent the Runway purchase. (I also receive $30.)

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.