Friday, September 29, 2017

Office Vibes

Happy Friday!

So, when I moved into my house there was a “spare bedroom”. Now, I do love the occasional party, and since I’ve moved in, I’ve had more parties here than I ever had at my other house. However, my guests aren’t 21 year old college kids. I don’t have many guests spend the night. It seemed frivolous to me to have a spare bedroom that would rarely be used.

So, I did an office instead.

Desk: TJMaxx, Chair: HomeGoods (Tommy Hilfiger), Accessories: HomeGoods, Floor plant: HomeGoods

Best use of space, ever! I LOVE having an office. When you do most of your work from home (and homework) it’s essential. I could never go back.

Photo: Big Lots, Pibble bag: Amazon, Plant: a neighbor on Next Door!


I feel like this post should be sponsored by TJ Maxx and Homegoods, because almost every single thing in my office is from there. Literally, minus the real life plant that I found from someone on Next Door, & photo and clock from Big Lots, the entire office is from TJMaxx or Homegoods. The two plants on the left side are not real, but my awesome bamboo plant on the right is real! 

Plants, shelves, GirlBoss block: HomeGoods, Bamboo plant: Local Amish Market


In sticking to my minimalist strategy, I didn’t want to clutter up the office. I felt that organization and space would lead to true productivity. I used the closet in the room, as a office storage closet, and there’s a bathroom there so it’s the “office bathroom”.

Curtains, rug: HomeGoods

Lastly, my bulletin board, white board and calendar are essential to my productivity. I love having a social media calendar to remind me of when to promote our events and activities. I have a bulletin board as an inspo board, and a holder for receipts that I need to log (Entrepreneur tax life, am I right?). My white board is used for creative ideas such as blog ideas! If I get a burst of creativity I write it down, accomplish it, then erase it for more space next time. My letter holder holds bills I need to pay as well as notes from friends and other creatives.

Calendar/Bulletin/White Board: HomeGoods, Clock: Big Lots, Letter holder: HomeGoods, Foot Step: HomeGoods 

Thanks for checking out my office tour! Stay tuned on my Instagram for one new addition in here next week (it's going to be awesome).


Have a great weekend!
-SBR






Monday, September 25, 2017

Minimalism and a Fall Wardrobe

Confession: I have a strong desire to be a minimalist. 

Ever since watching the Minimalism Documentary last year, I've found myself really examining what I buy and what the purpose will be. While I will never sell all of my things and move into a tiny house (as tempting as it does sound), I have made some changes. Truly examining the reasoning behind your purchase and watching how much you are accumulating, actually does make you feel more organized and less stressed. 

I have found that while being on a budget, and also trying to adjust my wardrobe to be newer and updated, just ONE single piece can really change your outfit several different ways! This particular vest was also thrifted for about $10 (similar here from Rue21 for $13 Sleeveless Jean Jacket ). 
Talk about a low-budget impact! 

The 90's are back in full force, and I LOVE it.
The below dress is a summer dress that I paired with a white T for a great 90's look, and then added the jean vest for a fall flair. In the second photo, I had a crop top (short, Britney style-esque) under the vest with it buttoned, and a nice 90's style skirt from Forever 21. It was also thrifted, so I'm not going to lie, it could actually be from a while ago. Here is one similar: Midi Length Skirt- Forever 21. I added some boots for emphasis. 


My suggestions:

  • When I change my wardrobe seasonally (twice a year), I purge. I truly do get rid of things that I never wore the year before, and that I know (if I'm being honest), that I also won't wear this year. 
  • I think about what I'm buying and if my desire is greater for it than my desire to travel. That's where I want the majority of my money to go. 
  • I consider how many outfits I can make, like the statistics question in school: If you go to Chipotle, how many different variations of meal can you make with a few ingredients?

What I find 100% necessary to keep:
  • Jeans, in all sizes. My weight fluctuates. I'm determined to not get to the size I was 2 years ago,  but I'm also not the stick thin that I was when I had to cut dairy from my diet due to medical reasons (post on that later). You never know what could happen. Jeans last a long time and are pricer than most things, so I keep them around. 
  • Two black dresses, in two sizes, one smaller and one larger. 
  • Anything from my grandmother or father (family heirlooms). 

How do you guys save money with a fall wardrobe? I have my favorite thrift shops and then use TJ Maxx as well. Let me know how you do it!
Happy Shopping, and Happy Monday!

-SBR




Friday, September 22, 2017

Sunflower Fields Forever

"In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality". - Alfred Stieglitz





Disclaimer: I'm not a professional photographer (this might be obvious). I'm also...not a model. I'm not saying that because I think I am, I've actually had people over the last few days ask if I'm getting into modeling. Lastly, I do not have a professional photographer follow me around. That was my favorite question :).

So how do I take my photos? Does someone take them for me? Do I use a professional camera?

These are the questions I've been getting almost daily. So I thought I'd make it a blog post, and also show you the photos I took yesterday at the sunflower field/farm in Jarrettsville. The secret's out- on both where this is AND how I take photos!

Before I continue, this is the best weekend for these photos I've been told- it's called "Clear Meadow Farm". Here's the address: 3769 Norrisville Rd, Jarrettsville, MD 21084. It's just $5 to get in and enjoy the flowers!


My fabulous dress is from one of my favorite local fashion trucks: ShopGOGO's. 
Stacey is my girl! She picked this out for me, she has such an eye for style. 
Check her out here: ShopGOGO's


First of all, to be honest, when I first started my mom was taking the photos. It was hard with someone watching and I'm so picky that I started to feel bad. I saw that someone I was friends with in high school managed to take her own photos somehow so I just sent a message and asked! She said she used a tripod and a bluetooth remote so I looked into it.

I searched a bit on Amazon and game up with a tripod that came with a remote, for $18. To this day, best $18 I've ever spent. It moves up and down for whichever type of photo you are taking, if you are sitting, standing, etc.. I find this very helpful! You can get it here: Tripod with Bluetooth Remote

Tripod:


Remote:



I'm sure I'll also get this question so the "camera" is my iphone 7. And yes, I cannot wait for the iphone X. It looks absolutely amazing.


A few tips that have helped me personally:

  • The best time of days for photos are morning and dusk hours. Not too bright where it washes you out or is overbearing, but just the right amount of light to either give awesome sunset photos, or clear photos. 
  • Also, cloudy overcast days are your friends. The main photo for the blog in the shorts and purple/blue Lucky Brand blouse were taken on very overcast days. I LOVED that lighting!
  • I researched photo posing to get a few ideas on how to stand and where to put my hands- that was the hardest part!
  • Most always my photos are edited in some capacity, usually brightened and enhanced color. I do this with either the app facetune or just in instagram or the iphone camera app as well. 
  • I take all photos in "square" mode. This helps my face not get cut off in my insta grid. 
  • Moving around while taking photos helps the poses appear more natural. So I'll walk or I'll move to different positions so I don't appear "stiff" or "posed". 

I hope this is helpful! Let me know your tips for photo taking as well. I'd be very interested!

Happy Fri-YAY! Have a great weekend. 

-SBR











Monday, September 18, 2017

A Series of Fortunate Events

"Just WHAT are you thinking?"

These are the words that I heard when I explained to someone close to me why I had just quit the job where I had successfully started climbing the corporate ladder. On the outside looking in, my life looked like complete chaos up until this year. And although it looks more put together for the first time in 4 years, it still feels like chaos sometimes.

I had been in HR for about 5 years when I decided that it was absolutely not the job for me. When I graduated college, I moved straight to VA because I had landed a job right out of college, a requirement per a very important man in my life (dad). Not to move to another state, but to have a job when I graduated. I found one in VA, so I moved. Quite abruptly too, I found a roommate on Craigslist (before the killer) and just up and left (Side note: Amanda and I are still friends, and I'm still alive, obviously). I started in recruiting, and well, it wasn't for me. So after a while I switched to administrative work (same company) because I loved the company, but wanted a different field. I went from that to Project Management. I was happy there, I was close to my family in VA, and it was awesome being somewhat involved in the government.

Two years later, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. So I moved home.

Miraculously, I obtained a job at another government contractor in the area. This time, in recruiting again. Wait what? Well, kind of. I was doing admin work for recruiters. You know, typing up resumes, sending invites for interviews, etc. I actually really liked this job, but wanted to continue moving up. So then I went into HR. I stayed at the company until I had to work from home, and that became hard for me. Most people say working at home is hard because you are alone all day and you can't really define the working part, and the home part. It becomes symbiotic. That's hard. I thrive being around people. This became old.

I switched from that company to another because a co-worker moved that I really liked, and it enabled me to go back to an office. While I met AWESOME people, I started to realize HR was also not for me. It was all of the things a good job should be, secure, good pay, and great friends. But I wasn't enjoying the work, so my heart wasn't in it. I knew so many people who had jobs that they tolerated, and then at 60 years old wished they had done something they truly loved. That scared me even more than leaving. So, I quit. This was where the quote above came in.

Was it risky? Sure. But it had to be done. 

I decided I wanted to do event planning, and went into that. I had done event planning in college in a group called the Campus Activities Board. I figured if I could organize Dr. Ben Carson coming to campus at one point, I could probably get back into event planning now. I tried working with wedding vendors, event planning companies, etc. Now that was fun! But many were part time gigs, and that just didn't pay the bills. I owned a house at this time, and it was just too much. I remember distinctively sitting in my house in tears wondering what I was going to do, where I was going. I remember going to parties either in the family or otherwise where everyone else had it together (seemingly) and a career. They were happy and secure, I wasn't. I was all OVER the place! I had no direction. I was terrified. I cried several times a day. I was used to work being my life. It always had been. It defined me.

Previously:
Sarah Ramsey, age 26, Human Resources Generalist (probably on way to Business Partner or upper level at some point, at least that was my career path), at one point traveled the world in college, undergrad in business, owns home, etc. Everything made sense.
I became:
Sarah Ramsey, age 26, no idea, at one point traveled the world but that's old news, undergrad in business (still relevant), owns home but can't afford it, etc. Literally, no idea what's next. Nothing made sense.

So I decided- I'm going to go back to school. That's what people do right? No idea? Go to school! An MBA sounded solid, then I decided I'd pick a track and focus and then get a job doing that. Alright, finally, a PLAN. The school I decided on was definitely the school for me, the University of Baltimore. I started my track in Marketing. Later, I decided no, I'm going to really follow my dreams and do Entrepreneurship. I had after all, wanted to own my own business one day. But in what?

I felt like I was slowly losing my plan again. 

I tried doing other things as well, I moved to the city, something I'd always wanted to do. I didn't realize how every piece would start falling into place... a year later I moved out of the city and decided no, county life is where I should be. I'm sort of a gypsy, are you noticing?

Also, it's important to note that during all of this time of confusion I had started volunteering at local shelters and joining dog training training classes. I had also taken on a job (part time- training) and learned a lot under who is now my business partner. More on why I wanted to become a dog trainer in another post. That's a whole separate story.

I did a marketing/social media/events job for about a year but then I took on school full time and decided to only work part time dog training. When the opportunity presented itself to own my own dog business with my business partner, I JUMPED.

Here is what happened:

  • Moving to Baltimore I met one of our good partners, a local dog store. We do several events with them each month. 
  • I also learned of several local dog places, restaurants, etc. including one that we use now for group classes and has become an invaluable resource to us. 
  • I met people from local rescues and non-profits that now help us all of the time. 
  • Being in event planning, I'm able to plan our events that we do each month, and they always turn out to be fun. 
  • I also know how and where to advertise, because of my social media background. My marketing job prepared me for this.
  • I made so many connections in the city, that I'm always finding someone that can help us in some way. 
  • The years that I spent in HR prepared me for customer service, as did the short time that I spent in the restaurant business. 
  • Years in an office prepared me for business and how it really runs. 
  • I met my business partner, who turned out to be a complete gem and amazing dog trainer/mentor. 
  • My first job in Baltimore city doing event planning/sales, prepared me for sales now.
  • Because of my dads help, I already knew how to do many business related things like taxes. Make no mistake, I would do anything for him to be here to help me now. But he helped me in every way possible while he was still here. He prepared me for this.
  • Obviously my degree is proving to also be invaluable as a guide to running a business too.
  • Most importantly: I'm living my DREAM OF OWNING A BUSINESS! 
Suddenly, everything that I had learned in my previous jobs that seemed random, all had a place in my life.
Most entrepreneurs have some kind of crazy background story. What went from chaos and panic and in my mind failure, went to doing everything I've always wanted to do. I bought a house, my life feels back together (most days) and I'm graduating in the Spring (if all goes accordingly). There are SO many more pieces that fell into place that would take probably several pages to really explain. Don't ever give up on your dream. I went through 4 years of being terrified and on a limited income to get where I am today. I'm still nervous sometimes. But as my dad used to say:

"When it feels right, it's right". 

This is an "Ella" wreath that a client made me that I picked up today.












Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Well well well

Would you look here...

My blog has arrived. It only took a few months right? No biggie. 


I have many different topics that I look forward to discussing on here. I'm going to dive into more about me, and more about what I do, my journey, and other various lifestyle "tid-bits" that I have come across along the way. 


I'm excited. 


So excited in fact, that I stayed up until now 2:30am Wednesday morning to finally get this thing up and running. Let's face it, there are just not enough hours in the day. Instagram is great for photos, but I'm ready to TALK man! 


So, join me for the ride if you're up for it! It may not be the perfect blog, but I promise, it will be entertaining. And well, you know you want to hear me rant about the fact that there's no redhead emoji right? Real problems here people. 


But for real though. 


-SBR


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