top of page

Monthly Newsletter: Your source for good news, science and tech, writing projects, & a little fun!

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

Our newsletter provides monthly updates on the latest projects supported by A Little Help co, the links to news headlines from around the world, jokes, riddles, and more!



Our monthly newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest 'good' news from around the globe that will help restore your faith in humanity. We scour the internet for fascinating technology or scientific advancements, and celebrate a new artist, writer, or small business owner in The Spotlight section. KJ's Corner will offer news and updates from our resident author, KJ Davis on her latest project. Finally, The Funnies will end your monthly literary treat with a little bit of fun for your day.



Why do we offer this monthly newsletter?


With the overwhelming sea of media and depressing headlines, our newsletter offers a small reprieve while still offering you global highlights and humor for your day.


Subscribe to our email list or become a supporting member to receive a special copy of the newsletter sent straight to your email inbox with a special "VIP" section.


Table of Contents


 

Good News


Good news is hard to come by. There's plenty of news outlets, media sources and news broadcasts to blanket the entire planet, but most of the time its biased and emotionally charged. Take a moment to relax and click on the links below to read about 'good news' from around the globe...


Links to various 'good news' websites offer stories, anecdotes, interviews, or videos highlights below that are sure to brighten your day and restore a bit of your 'faith in humanity'.




 

Tech News


Archeologists study ancient eggshells to learn more about social networking...


A fascinating article from SciTech Daily explores new discoveries in Africa linking ancient ostrich beads with human society over 50,000 years ago!





 

The Spotlight: Lady's Nuts


January's Spotlight on small business is an interview with a local new business owner, Jo and her deliciously quirky new company, Lady's Nuts.


First I would like to start with an introduction for our visitors. Could you tell us a little about yourself? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Quirks? Favorite winter drink?


My name is Jo. I am engaged and have a wonderful 14 year old kiddo and a 10 year old bonus kiddo. I am currently working hard on the struggle bus, navigating having a teenager and a "tweenager". I enjoy cooking with the littles and playing videogames with my fiancé. I also love horseback riding when I get the chance and a quiet evening camping with the family enjoying the serenity of nature and the night sky.


As far as quirks? Well I hate cardboard. I can not stand the sound or the feeling. Have you ever heard the sound when someone is trying to close a cardboard box? Ew yuck! It is like nails on a chalkboard! If I have to move I try to use totes or have other people pack and move the boxes. It even goes so far as to have trouble carrying or writing on paper sometimes. It is weird!


In the winter, the cold and I do not get along. However, I do love how peaceful and perfect the snow looks. From the comfort of my couch, next to the fireplace, sipping on a cinnamon chai latte, looking out the window.


Now on to the juicy details! What inspired you to become a small business owner? How did you start out?


Well, this entire venture actually started on accident. I had a few bags of plain nuts that I had no idea what to do with, and they were just taking up space. My fiancé loves spicy things and likes to snack at work. So, I grabbed some and added some honey and a ghost chili from the garden and roasted them all up. He shared with his friends and they wanted more. Some said it was to spicy. So that night I made some more with just jalapeno and some without any peppers at all. That night when he got home he said they wanted to know how much for a bag and when I was going to start selling.


I saw an opportunity for some personal freedom and the ability to build a future on my terms so I ran with it. That is how Lady Nuts was born. The name came from a brainstorm with my fiancé, his brother, his brothers girlfriend, and my 14 year old. After lots of laughing and double entendres, I ran the idea through a few more friends and my local mom group they got a kick out of it too. I figured, “Why not?” and it stuck.


What do you like/love about owning a business? What do you hate/loathe/procrastinate intentionally to avoid?


I love that all of the ideas are my own, or belong to my loved ones. Coming up with new flavors and flavor combinations. Finding new peppers to grow for the fall special when they are fresh out of the garden. The lovely scents that fill the kitchen like cinnamon, maple, hickory, and garlic.


As far as the things that I don’t like doing. I loath the monthly paperwork to keep track of income and expenses. Also updating the Etsy page and Facebook can be frustrating. “Why is nobody ordering this new flavor? Oh yeah, I haven’t posted it yet.” *facepalm*


What is your favorite product? Where do you get your inspiration for other products from?


Personally I love the maple brown sugar without any spice. I also like the coconut clusters that I put in our coconut flavored bags.


I have gotten some inspiration for many different places. My fiancé loves coffee so much he would drink nothing but coffee if I would let him. So I came up with espresso dark chocolate (yes he adds the ghost pepper to that one too lol). I made the coconut for a very close friend that I know loves coconut. Mango tajin was inspired by another friend that could live off of that snack. Cinnamon vanilla and honey are classics. I am currently working on a line inspired by candy making including black cherry chocolate, blueberry, and cotton candy. Some more savory options include hickory smoked and garlic.


In the process of researching for the line inspired by candy I came across some awesome flavors I like to call, “Holy crap, you can do that?!” Like, bacon, bourbon, brownie batter, and root beer. I am also open to requests because it turns out I can find a way to make nuts with just about any flavor. As I am typing this I am actually thinking about trying to make some cinnamon vanilla chai cashews* and wondering why I had not thought of that before. Oh maybe I can add some chocolate bits!


Anyway, inspiration comes from everywhere, you just have to be open to it!


*Note from the author: put me down for some of those cinnamon vanilla chai cashews!


Let's discuss your outlook on the next generation of entrepreneurs out there. What are some tips, tricks, or advice you would like to share? Maybe some insight that you've learned from your own journey as a business owner?


If you find something you love then go for it. Do your research, work hard, and don’t forget to buy a folder to put your receipts in because otherwise you will lose them, or is that just me? Lol. I am a new business owner and just getting started myself so I don’t have any tricks. Like I said before, do your research, figure out what you need to do on a legal standpoint so you don’t get into any trouble and then go for it. The only limits are the ones you put on yourself!


Are there any surprises or hidden business secrets you discovered? Anything that surprised you when you started selling and marketing?


When you are getting started and trying to track your income and expenses don’t fall for buying some big drawn out program that promises to make things easier for you. You don’t need all that, especially when you are just starting out. Track it month to month. One one side of the paper have your income with three columns, date, what it is, and how much. On the other side have expenses in the same three columns. Total both sides at the bottom then subtract your expenses from your income. If you do this every month then it will make tax time so much easier.


Speaking of tax time. It is important to open a separate savings account and put in a percentage of your income so that at the end of the year you have saved up any tax amount that you may owe. If you add a little extra each month then you will have a nice surprise at the end of the year.


How long does it take to make your product? Are there any specific skills or equipment you need to use?


I make my nuts fresh for each order. From start to finish it takes about an hour per order. However, I can have multiple orders going at a time. Some of the toppings are added on the stovetop after roasting, some of them are roasted with the nuts. I can have 2 orders going in the oven at a time. When they come out they get put in a bowl to cool and more orders go in. While things are baking and cooling I fill out the packaging by hand. Round cake pans are the perfect size for a single order and a standard oven are all I really use. Some of the flavors require a little bit more skill. When I make the coconut clusters I have to get the sugar up to a specific temperature or the texture is wrong and they won’t stick together. For this I use a candy thermometer.


Let's talk about some of your most popular products, can you tell us more about how you came up with the ideas for them?


Some of my most popular flavors are ghost pepper honey and maple brown sugar. The honey was the original flavor that I used when I first sent them to work with my fiancé for a snack. I have a feeling that one will always be on the top of the list. The maple brown sugar came from the first brainstorm that we had. Then one that I see becoming popular right now is maple blueberry. That one was a request from one of my fiancé's co-workers.


Did you find owning a business different from your other jobs? Was it easier or harder?


Owning a business is very different from my other jobs. It is still a side business so I go to work every day, but I have a dream of a future when I don’t have to do that anymore. It is definitely harder to own a business and work from home. It takes motivation and self discipline to get everything done. It is so easy to just sit on the couch and just put stuff off till tomorrow.


Finally, can you let our visitors know if there are other projects you have in the works or new products that are slated to be released in the next few months?


Right now I am doing research on some candied nuts. If everything goes according to plan these will be wrapped in a thin coating of hard candy flavored with everything from cotton candy to strawberry cheesecake. I am also working on making some nut butters and nut powders for people that may not like the crunch. I am working hard to become, “that lady with the spicy and weird flavored nuts” so if you have any ideas for flavors you would like to see I am open to it!


To wrap up our interview, can you give any new aspiring entrepreneurs out there reading this your thoughts, encouragement, or advice about following their dreams to become a small business owner?


You can do whatever you set your mind to. Do your research and go for it! You will never know what you can achieve!


If you would like more information about Lady Nuts or to place an order check out Jo's links below:




 

KJ's Corner

2022 brings excitement and publishing goals!


With Book 1's manuscript completed and professionally edited*, it's time to start working on the hard part of writing and publishing: Creating a "presence" to market the book! As an aspiring author, I am learning new facets of becoming a published author almost everyday and there is one thing I have recently come to realize: I hate marketing! Ugh, this is the worst part of publishing, but a necessary evil if I want a successful (and profitable?) novel series.

*A quick thank you and note to my amazing editor, Nevvie Gane, for helping me finalize my literary work of art. If you are interested in learning more about this amazing editor, check out her website here: https://www.nevviegane.com/


So, here I am creating website posts and social media profiles. I'm taking my laptop to a few local coffee shops* that support artists and writers to work on pitches, blurbs, and summaries of my first novel. Attending writer's group meetings online have also opened me up to a new group of supportive friends. But the biggest huddle has been pushing past my social anxiety to step out into the sunshine of... the Public Eye!!! No one mentioned this part when I started writing over 6 years ago. The good news in all this hustle and bustle? I find the more I work on this public exposure, the more less-uncomfortable I become. "All for the greater good" and the long-awaited goal of publishing in 2022 is finally right around the corner. Yikes!

*If you happen to be in the Olathe, KS area, check out the amazing little coffee shop, Sweet Tee's. It's a hidden treasure of the area that likes to support local artists and writers: https://www.sweetteescoffeeshop.com/



For all my wonderful followers, here's a small reward for all your encouragement and support: The image at the top of this section is a draft background piece that will be featured in the first novel and below is a sneak peak at the prologue of the Aether Star Chronicles, Book 1: Awakening©.


The vastness of the universe, with its countless celestial bodies, can be overwhelming in the never-ending depth of darkness. A sense of powerlessness can easily overcome the most fearless spirit. Past thousands of galaxies filled with sparkling starlight. Beyond hundreds of nebulae forming visions of heavenly multi-colored clouds, the immense void of space dominates all existence. Yet within this endless abyss, a simple rule prevails.
Across space and time, a comet streaks past a lone ribbon of asteroids, followed by a silent whisper…

© Copyright 2022 KJ Davis. All rights reserved.



 

The Funnies


 

Monthly Riddle: Each month we will post a curious conundrum to tickle your brain cells. The answer for each monthly riddle will be posted in the following month's newsletter.


January's Riddle:

I am something people love or hate. I change people’s appearances and thoughts. If a person takes care of them self, I will go up even higher. To some people I will fool them. To others I am a mystery. Some people might want to try and hide me but I will show. No matter how hard people try I will Never go down. What am I?


 

USED WITH PERMISSION FROM DEBBIE RIDPATH OHI AT INKYGIRL.COM


 


 

Have a Wonderful Day!


13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page