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Shopgirl: Anonymous art, Birchbox, tax prep apps

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Birchbox  Special
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Birchbox

I’m always fascinated by innovative business ideas in the fashion and cosmetics industry, and a particularly brilliant one I’ve been watching is Birchbox.

For only $10 per month, Birchbox sends you a bright pink box every month with four or five high-end beauty product samples. When you sign up, you fill out a detailed beauty profile describing your skin tone, hair type and other parameters so the products you receive are things you can really use.

Founded by two Harvard MBAs who interned at places including Estee Lauder, Birchbox says their goal is to de-clutter the beauty industry. That’s something I think we could all use.

WHAT’S AFFORDABLE

There’s still time to submit your income tax returns if you haven’t already done so. This year, tax preparation companies such as H&R Block and software maker TurboTax are making it even easier for you by releasing apps that allow you to file your taxes from anywhere you have cell service.

The free H&R Block app gives you directions on preparing and filing your return, all from your iPhone, iPad or Android device. You can even photograph your W-2 to submit it with your return. If you get stuck, there is a quick link to the company’s worry-free audit support.

TurboTax also has an app, and it uses what seems to be similar technology to get information from a photo you take of your W-2. The app is free, but to file federal and state forms through them will cost you at least $19.99. After you file, TurboTax has another app, MyTaxRefund, that tracks how close your refund is to being deposited in your account. And isn’t that the best part of tax season?

WHAT’S NEW

Walton Foundation for Independence wants to challenge your concept of what makes art valuable, and how we perceive each others’ abilities, through its Undercover Artists Show on April 12.

The fundraiser will display more than 100 pieces of art donated by local artists, community leaders and celebrities which will be sold at a silent auction beginning at 7 p.m. There’s a catch – all artists’ names will be concealed until after the bidding.

Tickets cost $50 and can be obtained by calling (706) 826-5809. Proceeds benefit Camp to Be Independent, the Walton Foundation’s annual camp for individuals ages 8 to 21 with an acquired brain injury.

“It’s a wonderful fundraiser for Camp To Be Independent since it shares the lesson that you can’t judge a person for a perceived disability – you never know what wonderful abilities he or she may have,” said foundation development officer Alice Salley.

Shopgirl

Read Staff Writer Gracie Shepherd’s Shopgirl blog on fashion and bargain buys, at augustachronicle.com. Reach her at (706) 823-3217 or gracie.shepherd@augustachronicle.com.


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