Sunday, December 23, 2018

Last Minute {Meaningful} Gift for the Busy Traveler

Baltimore, MD, USA
It's officially one day until Christmas Eve, which means two full days until Christmas. 
We are officially down to the wire here. 

I'm guessing, if you are a traveler, traveling during the holidays, or an avid traveler who may have been very busy this year, that you are finding you are at here with me at the last hour for gifts!

So, I'm proposing not only a last minute gift idea, but one that has significant meaning, as well. This gift won't be sold out in stores, you won't have any long lines going to get it (most likely) and it's very simple, and not expensive to do (bonus: you can say you made it).



It's no surprise that one of my trips this year was to Africa. 
We went on a sunset safari where I was able to take several amazing photos of a few animals as well as other unique shots.
Many people close to me commented that they loved them and it gave me the idea to give the photos as gifts. I went to Michaels Craft Store and picked out a few wooden frames that gave me the safari vibe, and it turned out with the holidays they were 50% off (or more). 
I then chose my favorite photos in 8x10, and printed them to add to the frames.

That.is.it. and voila! A photo that they can hang in their home to enjoy, especially for those that are animal lovers, or outdoor adventure lovers. 
Total cost? Less than $20. But you can make it even less, depending on frame.



One other reason I decided to do this is that I am funny about souvenir gifts. I usually do not do many, and I tend to stay away from shirts or something specific from my trip. This is because if you didn't go on the trip and have the same experience, it won't have the same meaning. But a photo of an elephant or zebra in the wild or even a safari truck? That's something that everyone can enjoy!

Happy Holidays and Happy {last minute} Shopping!

-SBR





Monday, November 26, 2018

To Kenya With Love, & Without Luggage

Nairobi, Kenya
What a journey the last 48 hours have been. 

If you want to skip this recap part, please feel free to head below to the next part about Kenya.

In case you missed it, here is a recap so you know why I don't have luggage when I arrive:
*Really quick, I had changed my ticket earlier in the day (the day that I left) with the airline KLM. KLM contracts out to Delta in the USA until I arrive in Europe, then I fly KLM. Originally, I was to fly BWI > NYC > Amsterdam > Nairobi.
I changed it to be BWI>Detroit>Amsterdam>Nairobi
I did this to avoid Dulles. Big mistake. HUGE. (Pretty woman anyone?)
Also, please note the Amsterdam > Nairobi flight stayed the same. Or supposedly.
You follow? Okay here we go.
-Arrive at BWI
-Delta desk man says I can't have my boarding pass because I don't have a visa for Kenya (that I don't need yet. You see, you do need a visa to get into Kenya, but you don't get it until you arrive IN KENYA). He goes on and on about how I'm going to get in trouble.
-I search for 30 minutes on website where I can't figure anything out. Call my friend, she confirms I don't get it until I arrive. She calls her dad, an actual Kenyan diplomat. He says he can call the embassy. This is ridiculous that we are almost about to involve an embassy over wrong information and a guy who thinks he is very powerful behind his desk. 
-I get back in line. Wait another 30 minutes.
-I talk to same man again, tell him the embassy will get involved. Oh look at that, suddenly I'm getting a boarding pass.
- Except I don't, because now he can't find my ticket. He calls the airline, I call the airline. They say it has been fixed. It hasn't. I find this out later.
He says KLM changed it in their system but not Delta.
-This continues for an hour.
- He finds ticket, while still going on and on about how I'm wrong about my Visa.
-He calls me sweetie about ten times like I'm a woman who is just so stupid.
-Finally with an hour to go he finds what he needs, yells "good luck with that visa sweetie" (Sarcasm), then I get to security.
- I wait at the gate, go to board. 
STOP! They say the same as the man, I don't have a ticket.
-Everyone has now boarded, I'm sure I'm about to miss this flight. 
-The desk lady tells me "this is not my problem, I have other flights to deal with, oh well"
- At this point I let her know very sharply and loudly with many people watching, that it is in fact, her problem, since they messed it up and my luggage is about to leave without me and this is not okay.
- She eventually lets me on.
-The plane now needs fuel. This puts us behind by almost 45 minutes.
- I realize I am in fact, now going to miss my connecting flight in Detroit, which was the whole reason I changed my flight in the first place, which messed up everything, and here we are.
-It was a stressful flight.
- I arrive, everyone takes their sweet time getting off the plane and I have 5 minutes before my connecting flight takes off. I realize I am 5 gates away.
- I run harder than ever before.
- I reach the plane, everyone claps, I think I'm good to go now.
Arrival in Amsterdam
-I arrive in Amsterdam, sit at the gate, then prepare to board.
- They scan my boarding pass.
NO GO.
- DELTA CANCELLED MY TICKET when they couldn't figure out their jacked up system. I am not the first, in fact Delta was going around screwing up alot of tickets.
- They rebook me and inform me, I will most likely not be getting my luggage, since it says my flight was cancelled. They are still able to get me on the flight though.
- I call my friend Maria that I'm meeting in Kenya and my mom franticly. My mom looks into my luggage.
-My friend buys me stuff that I will need upon arrival (since I'm arriving at 10pm).
- I don't have any meds that I need, I had so many herbal supplements, antibiotics, and MG meds (plus inhaler) I was afraid of them confiscating at customs. 
I panic for the next 8 hours.
-When I arrive, mom informs me I'll be getting my luggage the next day.
Okay. I can deal with that.
Getting my luggage is another long story but yeah....

So that's the story. I now have my luggage.

Now, back to Kenya.
Here is what I have learned on Day 1:

1. The two main languages here are English and Swahili. This is because they were a British Colony but are now a one party state (as of 1964 they are the Republic of Kenya).
2. Anywhere you go, you will get a scan for security, bags checked, and metal detector.
This includes the mall, stores, and anywhere else. If you go to the airport, you get out of your car, and get searched.
3. You can get antibiotics over the counter. You just tell them what you need and they hand it over like Advil.
4. You can get free medical care at the mall.
5. You can buy a memory foam mattress for as low as $35.
6. Power outages are quite common, but no one really knows why. If you happen to be getting a pedicure and the lights go out, nothing stops. I found this really funny.
7. The currency can be figured out by dividing by 100. So if something is 1000 shillings, it is $10.
8. Tips are not expected at restaurants (of course we still do).
9. Uber is like $10 for a 40 minute drive.
10. Eggs are not refrigerated (similar to Europe).
11. Kale is chopped up for you when you buy it at a market.
12. Giraffes can in fact, head butt.
13. If you attempt to feed a giraffe by keeping your hand flat instead of using your fingers, they wrap their long tongue completely around your hand. I saw this happen to someone. 
14. Everyone is extremely nice and accommodating.


To see photos- check out my stories! I'll be saving them as well on my highlights. 
Oh and I have been VLogging!

Thank you so much to all of my friends and well wishers who saw my travel struggle. 
You helped so much! Thanks to Maria for having things to me when I arrived.
I have to tell you, even without my luggage earlier, I'm LOVING Kenya.

Tomorrow we leave for safari. 

Much love-
SBR










Sunday, November 11, 2018

Weekly Prep: Dog Edition

Baltimore, MD, USA
Something that has changed recently for Ella and I is my new office space.
Instead of me being home all day now, she is often alone for several hours (although not as many as it used to be when I worked my 12 hour days and she had a dog walker).

Something special I've started doing for her when I get home to ease the transition, is a daily kong.
If you don't already know- Kongs are rubber toys with a hollow center that can be filled with yummy treats for dogs. They come in several sizes and "strengths" as I call it, which you can see below. 
They also have puppy Kongs as well. They are most commonly used for crate training, but now we use them as rewards or boredom toys (it uses the mind to retrieve the things inside).
Kongs can be bought via Amazon, or your local pet store like our favorite PetValu.
We use Kong Extreme.

For reference:
Pink & Blue - Kong Puppy
Red- Classic
Black- Extreme

dog prep
Preparation/Ingredients


Ella happens to love her food and eats it all. Because of this, I don't want to over feed her each day. 
So what I do is I put her food inside, but first I soak it in water. 
I layer the Kong with peanut butter too. 
To make this easiest, I'm going to put it in receipe format. 

dog Kong
Packed Kongs ready for freezer

Ingredients:
1 Large Kong (this is dog dependent)
Peanut butter (make sure it's dog safe we use Skippy Naturals)
Dog Food
Small Bowl of Cold Water

Directions:
Add dog food to small bowl of cold water, allow to soak about 5-10 minutes.
With a clean Kong, add spoon full of peanut butter to inside bottom of Kong.
Next, add spoon full of food (after soaking).
Continue to layer with peanut butter and food.
Put in freezer until use.



The water that the food soaks in will help it to freeze making it more like a freezy pop. 
You don't have to freeze a Kong, but this helps it last longer. Especially with my pup Ella who finishes everything super quickly. 
*They are also non-toxic and dishwasher safe

I also like to do 5 for the entire week so I don't have to make them when I'm tired and get home from work. Ella also doesn't have to wait for me to make them either, which she does, staring and drooling the entire time. 

Let me know what you think of this doggie prep idea!

Have a great week.

-SBR













Thursday, November 8, 2018

THE WHY SERIES: Why Kenya?

Baltimore, MD, USA
THE WHY SERIES
This is my newest series of posts that include the questions that I receive the most often.
It won't be blog posts in a row (like the dating series), but rather as I run into the questions.
The last post I did like this (also the dating series) was centered around Why Are You Still Single? 
Which included a video post, if you remember.
Because it's becoming a common occurrence, I decided to start it on the blog.

KENYA
When I first mentioned that I was taking a 10 day trip to Kenya, I received MANY questions. 
I still do. I guess Kenya is not normally what you would think when you hear the word vacation so I thought I would go ahead and explain why I chose Kenya. 

First, this is my 31st birthday trip (as in, I'll be 31 this year).
Someone recently said they thought I was 23- bless your beautiful soul. 
My birthday is November 30th, and I figured what better way than a trip to a place I've always dreamed of visiting: Africa
I haven't traveled since May and this is actually going to be my fourth international trip this year. With all of the traveling I've done throughout my life (Kenya will be my 13th country but 17th international trip- I've been to Paris three times and Canada 3 times), even four international trips in one year is pretty big for me. 

January - Bangkok, Thailand (UB School Program)
April- Toronto, Canada (Friend's Wedding)
May- Paris & Rouen, France (Graduation Gift to myself)
November- Nairobi, Kenya (Birthday trip)

So suffice to say- I'M EXCITED!

Why Kenya? 
I'll keep it short with two reasons (other than it's my birthday!):

Business Reason: Kenya is currently at the forefront of innovation.
I recently watched this video- and was so inspired:

I find it truly awesome what they are doing in Nairobi and want to learn more while I am there.

Personal Reason: I've always dreamed of going on a real safari since I was little, seeing animals in the wild, happy and free, being in a real safari truck on the African plains...I'm already starting to tear up just thinking about it. Africa has always looked so beautiful and welcoming, with such kind people. I can't wait for all of the incredible experiences that I'll have on this trip (and photos and things to blog about too! I can't wait to share everything with you all).

We will also be visiting the beach - Mombasa!
This will be my first beach trip this year. 

For some amazing photos ahead of time, I've been watching the Nat Geo Kenya Instagram.

I'm so fortunate to have made my friends who are Kenyan, one of which is going with me on this trip and being a personal tour guide! We've already traveled together (Thailand) and she's an amazing friend. I'm so excited for what is to come. 

I leave November 24th so follow along for the before, during and after. 

When I return I'll be hitting the holiday parties hard!

-SBR




















Monday, November 5, 2018

The Whiff Co.

Baltimore, MD, USA
Tomorrow is another #TakeCareTuesday 
(as well as voting day- don't forget!)

When the Whiff Co. reached out to me via instagram to talk about their company, I was very excited. Self-care has become a very important aspect of my life, one that is non-negotiable today.
I used to be overworked, overly tired and frankly just over it. 
I've had a few burnouts in my life. 
One came shortly after my dad passed away, because to cope with everything, 
I put my life into my work. 
Shortly after, I just couldn't take much anymore. 
Another came a few years after that. I was giving so much to the companies that I worked for, that I just wasn't thinking about myself anymore.

So enter The Whiff Co.
The Whiff Co. is a gift box company that allows you to give gifts from local makers to someone in your life who may need it (or yourself- hey I'm not judging and I certainly needed one). 

From their website:
When life gets dark, bring some light back into their life with a beautiful scented candle and aromatic bath salts; essentials for any moment of stillness and self-care. This gift box comes with The Firefly Pin: a beautiful reminder that they are not alone. Each candle is hand-poured and scented by Handmade Habitat in Washington, DC. The bath salts are hand-mixed and packaged by Priya Means Love in Baltimore, MD. The Firefly Pin is designed by yours truly, The Whiff Co.

the whiff co box
The goodies inside my box as described above.

I love the idea behind it all and I love that it is the gift of self care.
Do you know someone in your life who needs a little self care, who works too hard?
This could be the perfect gift.

Mostly, I love that they use local creators/makers.

You can also just send a pin, a simple reminder that your friends aren't alone.
Mental health is extremely important to me. And reminding people that mean the world to you that they do, is also important. What a sweet and simple gift that can mean so much to someone.
the whiff co pin
From the website www.thewhiffco.com
 The packaging is beautiful as well. As you can see above it comes in a nice wooden box, giving you the feel of airy clouds and is just a quality gift that you can share and it will mean so much. 

Check out their website here and let me know who you would send a box to!

Have a great #TakeCareTuesday tomorrow!

-SBR










Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Why YOU Should Start A Blog

Baltimore, MD, USA
Recently I've received the same question from many people, and honestly, I'm quite honored each time it happens. 
I've been asked the story behind why I started blogging
Because of that, I decided that it's probably a good idea to tell you why I started my blog, and why you totally can and should too.

Reason #1 
I Love Writing
I'm not saying this is a requirement for blogging, but it's helpful. I always knew I wanted to study business in college, but there was a brief time where I considered journalism. English was always my favorite class in school, and I loved the long creative writing papers. 

Reason #2 
I Wanted To Learn More About The Community
Being a blogger enabled me to go out in the community and have a reason to do so. No one ever believes this, but I can be super shy and anxious when I'm in a crowd and don't know anyone. It used to be much worse, I'm getting used to it now. Being labeled as an extrovert isn't new, because once I'm in a crowd I know, I am very extroverted. 
Getting out in the community told me so much about Baltimore that I never knew (and I'm from Baltimore). It allowed me to learn more history, and meet many people who I wouldn't have otherwise met. It opened my mind more and more and allowed me to collaborate with now friends.

Reason #3
 The Biggest Reason- A Creative Outlet
I needed a creative outlet. I tended to work FT jobs that did not allow for much creativity of my own. My blog was my creative outlet to talk about whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and put my own spin on it. Without a creative outlet of SOME kind, I suffer, my work suffers, and my world is much more dull. I love being able to step back, explore, create and write. 

So, what is holding you back?

The reasons are many when I ask others why don't you start a blog too?
-I'm too old
-It's too late to start one now
-The market is too saturated
-Would people want to read it?
-Are people really that interested in what I have to say?
-What if I fail?
-What if no one cares?
-How do I even get started?
-It's too expensive
....and on and on.

I understand fear, I was scared too. This is my THIRD BLOG. That's right. The third one. Why? The first two weren't really a success, but I also wasn't dedicated. I didn't try to grow it. It was on me, I didn't put the work in like I do now. It does take a level of commitment, but it's not unrealistic. 
But, I also was fortunate to meet my friend Kim who is a very successful blogger, through twitter SEVERAL years ago because of my first blog. I met others as well and learned so much. It was not a waste of time. 

My biggest tip for you, is to unapologetically be yourself. 
The market IS saturated with the same content, but there's only one you. 
Bring YOUR uniqueness to the table. Don't copy others. BE YOU. 
That's what the blogging community needs. Different, authentic, unique, and well, you.
Tell your story.
I love other people's stories, everyone always has a story to tell, every single person.
You could help someone. 
You could be a changing point. 
You could influence someone to chase their dreams or go after that goal.
Don't do it for any other reason than for yourself. You can do it. 

Also another tip is to explore where your community is, get to know other bloggers and make some friends. The support is everything. There's no club or pre-requisite to be a blogger. Find your niche, talk about what you love, be yourself, and you'll be great. 

If you start one- TELL ME! I want to read it. 

Much love,
-SBR


Monday, October 22, 2018

SURPRISE! It's Pet Friendly

Baltimore, MD, USA
There have been several times lately when I've been to different stores around town with my dog Ella, and people have said to me 
WHAT? I didn't know dogs are allowed there!
So I thought I would share my favorite places where dogs are allowed, that you may not know.

This list is going to be on-going, because I keep finding new places around town. 
But I think it's a great starter list.

I want to emphasize that the below places are conditional on your dog being well-behaved and on leash at all times.
Well-behaved means they aren't jumping on people, you are conscious of people being nervous or afraid and keeping your pup with you so no one is uncomfortable, no growling or lunging, and make sure your pup uses the restroom before going inside. We want to make sure to protect this awesome ability to have dogs with us. We should be mindful NOT to ruin the shopping experience for others.

Shopping/Home
(also HomeGoods & Marshalls)
That's right, TJ Maxx as well as HomeGoods and Marshalls all allow dogs that are leashed and well behaved. If they can fit in a cart, that's even better, but it's not a rule. 

We love going on trips to Ace to get what we need for our home, and the people that work there are SO POLITE!

Ella is a big fan of Home Depot, she seems to love the open warehouse style and you can often find her relaxing in the aisles. 

Dogs are allowed on the outside right now where there are activities going on for fall, and in the greenhouse. We love this because at most places like this, dogs are not allowed.

Food
They also give your dogs bacon bits left over! So awesome.

Dogs are allowed, but also they sell pupcakes that are Ella's absolute favorite.

*Several restaurants also allow dogs that have outdoor seating like restaurants in Fells Point (there's even water bowls at several places), The Daily Grind (doggie door), Mothers Grille Federal Hill,  Blue Pit BBQ,  Red Brick Station, & Bmore Licks (doggie door).


Drivethroughs That Give FREE Treats to Dogs
Chick Fil A Drivethrough (milkbones)
Rita's Italian Ice (gelato with milkbone)
Starbucks (Puppuccino)
Most Banks (milkbone)


I will keep this list going but I hope that you find a few that you didn't know about yet. 
Also, please let me know if you have more additions! 

-SBR

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Interview: Fathia Savory (Stylist)

Baltimore, MD, USA
How is your fall style shaping up so far this season?

I had a meeting a little while back with Fathia Savory at Zia's cafe (link) to talk about her company, where she is a stylist for other entrepreneurs, government employees, working moms (she herself is a mom of a 3 year old), Christian music artists and your every day adult professional. 
Fathia was kind enough to tell me about her background as well as her work that she does today. 
She loves her job because she loves helping clients feel confident and making a difference. 

baltimore fashion stylist
Fabi Maranho Photography


Fathia started as a stylist 5 years ago this December. She attended school for fashion merchandising and design, and also has a background in marketing. Admittedly she is still learning about business on a daily basis (but aren't we all!).
I'm currently all about a daily routine over at the Boho Marketing Co , so I asked about hers:
Her daily routine consists of checking emails, scheduling her posts (socia
l media), networking opportunities as well as planning her schedule around her clients. She tries to be as available as possible to their schedules, especially since she works with so many professionals. 

baltimore fashion stylist
Alicia Renee Photography

Fathia shared this story with me:
"One of my favorite styling projects, was a video shoot for Christian music artist, Maya Elizabeth. The video was shot in a few locations here in Baltimore. One of the more challenging locations was the rooftop of a city building. We had to climb out a window onto a fire escape, up another ladder along the building, just to get to the rooftop. As someone who really doesn’t like heights, I found myself having to face my fear head on. We also braved the scorching sun beating down on us. It was all worth it, the artist looked fabulous and the final product turned out incredible. Music video link “Come Ye” https://youtu.be/36W32XyrXRc "



As far as types of fashion, Fathia favors sustainable fashion, chooses some fast fashion for trendy/discounted pieces, and tends to pick more classic and timeless pieces for herself.
Her current style icon is Tracee Ellis Ross.


Where is she located?
The entire DMV area but she also does virtual styling where she helps you style your outfits from the comfort of your own home and computer!

Timing?
She prefers a couple of weeks notice. This is because it will get you the most affordable piece but also gives you plenty of options so that you aren't scrambling at the last minute to find a piece. Last minute is possible, she admits, but it just doesn't afford as many options and can tend to be pricey. This is especially good to know for us budget friendly types- am I right?

baltimore fashion stylist
Bliss Culture Photography


3 Most Important Things That Every Woman Should Know?
1. Style Personality
2. Body Shape & Styles that work well
3. Your colors

Each appointment can be completely customized (which I love!) and she will go shopping with you, wait while you try on the different outfits, do a style evaluation (including the top three things), and she currently has four different packages available for your needs. 

If you need to get in touch with Fathia she can be reached via email at stylist@fathiasavory.com or you can also find her on Instagram @fathiasavory .

baltimore fashion stylist
Alicia Renee Photography


Thanks so much Fathia for meeting with me, I love what you do, and that you are so passionate about it as well.
And Happy Five Year Anniversary in December!

-SBR 










Monday, October 15, 2018

Creative {Holiday} Cards

Baltimore, MD, USA
Are you the type of person that likes to create their own holiday cards each year? 
I do too.
Usually mine has a photo of my dog Ella on it, because well, she's adorable (I'm only a little biased).

I like to have several creative options so that I can customize my cards as much as possible, for either personal or corporate cards. With my first year in business for the Boho Marketing Co coming up, I wanted to also be able to use my style on either corporate Christmas cards or corporate holiday cards to thank clients and friends who have helped along the way. 

For personal cards, I love customized Christmas photo cards and with Basic Invite, I found the perfect cards this year. I'm so excited to show you a few styles that I loved.

Some of the samples I tried out. I did different types of paper, different color envelopes and different styles and shapes, to see what I liked most.
Basic Invite Website


How did I choose? 
Well for starters Basic Invite sends you a FREE sample to see what your card feels and looks like before you order. I like this because Basic Invite has such a large color palette, and I chose this year to do a colorful envelope (something I've never done) because they had so many choices. The free sample allows you to feel the quality of the paper too, so that you know exactly what you are getting. (see below). You can even get tri fold holiday cards.

Options of colors, paper type, texture, and card shape.

When it comes to colors, Basic Invite has just about unlimited colors down to the smallest detail, with over 180 color options. Then there's over 40 different colors of envelopes to choose from as well. I'm telling you, if you like unique, Basic Invite is the company for you. 

But let's talk about my favorite part and then I'll show you some of the personalized designs that I created
I think the part of holiday cards that I dislike the most, is the addressing of the envelopes. 
This is the first time I've seen this, and it's so awesome. 
Basic Invite has an Address Capturing Service. Basically what happens is you share a link to your clients, family and friends, and it requests their addresses, which are then stored in your Basic Invite account, and you simply select them during the design process. Then Basic Invite prints them out for NO COST on the orders. 
It doesn't get much easier than that. 

Here were my personal choices- do me a favor- vote on the one you love most!
Choice 1


Choice 2


Choice 3

Lastly, I'm including some inspiration from Basic Invite as well, for your cards too! 
You can also do Halloween & Thanksgiving, see below.







Just so you know, there are over 500 Christmas and holiday card designs and the BEST PART is Basic Invite is having a SALE of 30% off with coupon code holi30!

I wanted to post this early enough so that you could order some samples and get a feel for the exact card that is right for you- and also have time to reach out to everyone for their addresses.

Please show me what you create or tag me on instagram- I'm so excited to see what everyone chooses.

Have a great week and is it too early for holiday music yet?
-SBR

#sponsoredpost

















Thursday, October 11, 2018

Interview: Laura Hodges Studio

Baltimore, MD, USA
Have you ever been inside of a brand new built home?
The fresh paint smell, the barely touched floors, & everything is just so perfect. Now imagine taking that home and transforming it into your dream house, where everything has been made just for you, down to the knobs on the cabinetry.

interior design baltimore
photo by: Jennifer Hughes

This is what the fabulous Laura Hodges does for her clients.
When she first told me this, I just floated in imagination for how I'd do my house if I could build it from scratch.
But it doesn't have to be built from scratch! Laura can help decorate and design your rooms to be exactly what you want as well. 
When I met with Laura you could just feel the passion for what she does exuding out of every word that she spoke to me. It was awesome and I love when you can tell someone is living out their exact passion and are exactly where they are meant to be in life. 

interior design baltimore
photo by: Jennifer Hughes

Of course I had some questions. How did you start? Where are you from (I detected a slight accent)?

Laura is originally from Manchester England, and was five years old when she moved to the US.
She still spent her summers in England and France (so dreamy) and has a slight accent if you listen close enough. 
Laura started her career in Marketing (this was so interesting to me, because she discussed different guerilla marketing tactics that she used to do), and initially she had a business degree. She then went back to school and received her interior design degree, working in NYC for years, and then once she was married, she had her two boys shortly after.
She took time off to spend with them, and then decided she wanted to pursue interior design.

 Laura started Laura Hodges Studio in 2016, but opened up the new space for the studio and also her home decor shop Domain by Laura Hodges studio in June of this year. 
From her website:
Laura Hodges Studio is a boutique design firm located in the in the Baltimore / Washington DC area working on full service interior design projects.  We focus on creating the ultimate in beautiful, tailored spaces while fully expressing every client’s individual style and taste. 
Domain by Laura Hodges Studio is our home decor shop with a curated collection of local and globally sourced fair trade and sustainable home decor, original art, unique gifts, and one-of-a-kind pieces.  Domain is located on Frederick Road in the heart historic Catonsville Maryland.  Come and shop the studio for a hand selected collection of throw pillows, vases, planters, jewelry, scarves, ceramics, blankets, and much more.

interior design baltimore
photo by: Jennifer Hughes
What type of service does she offer?
Well if you haven't built your home yet, she can start directly from the beginning with you, making it your dream home from the get-go.
She works directly with contractors, and gives you the options for each part of the design for you to choose. She can pick out every single detail down to the towels that best suite your style and personality.
It's truly incredible.
If it has already been built, or if you are currently in your home, she can help you re-design/decorate your space to match your style and taste.

Everything is customized when working with Laura, she will do an in-take form (located on website) where you can let her know your interests.
Then she will schedule a phone call or consultation to get started.

Hours:
9-5pm Monday to Friday- Studio
11-5pm Wednesday-Saturday- Shop

The easiest way to get in touch is by in-take form, you can also find her on instagram at @laurahodgesstudio.

interior design baltimore
Photo by: Tara Hope


Thank you Laura, for talking to me about your passion. I can't wait to see so many more homes that you design!

-SBR








Wednesday, October 3, 2018

19 Things

Baltimore, MD, USA
The last post in the dating series and I want to go ahead and focus on ME (and YOU!).
Why? 
Because a common theme that has come up throughout this dating series has been that if you are single, work on you first, and then your relationship will come after. 
Several people have mentioned it, both as a way to better ourselves, not focus on having a relationship, and also to be prepared for that relationship when it comes around. 

With that knowledge in mind, I've created 19 things I'll do for myself as a single person before 2019.

1. SOLO TRAVEL 
(this is my favorite thing and gives me an excuse to do it)
2. EXERCISE 
I'm going to finally use that Merritt Membership for more than the pool.
3. HEALTHY EATING 
Not to lose weight, but to stay healthy. No more MG problems! I know REAL FOOD COURT will be helping me with this.
4. GIRLS NIGHTS
More girls nights, with more new girls.
5. NETWORKING
Getting myself out there, even more than now.
6. FOCUS on MY BUSINESS
The Boho Marketing Co is still in it's first year, now is the time.
7. READ
Read to learn, read to stay current, read to increase my talents.
8. HIKING
I plan to do so much hiking until it's too cold.
9. FIX 
So far I've learned to fix my own lawn mower, and start a fire in my fireplace by myself, I plan to learn a few more home fixing skills before the year is through.
10. TRAIN
Ella is a great pup who has had alot of training, but she could always learn more or perfect her skills!
11. ROADTRIP
Not very far, but I'd love to take Ella somewhere where we can hike and just enjoy nature/mountains, etc.
12. MOM
Spoiling my mom is always a good idea, right?
13. REFLECT
Reflect on 2018, see what I liked, what I'd like to improve, and set my goals for 2019. 
14. ORGANIZE
My home constantly feels like it's messy. I need to get my organization in order, and I've been so impressed with Di Is Organized.
15. SCHEDULE
Get serious about a solid schedule, and have more time to do things!
16. BE BRAVE
I'm going to try one thing that really scares me before Dec 31st.
17. SHOW
I'd love to see a broadway show before the year ends. I'm going to make it happen.
18. VOLUNTEER 
I'm looking to volunteer this holiday season. If you have reqs let me know!
19. STAY SINGLE UNTIL DEC 31ST
Whoa, bet you weren't expecting that one. But a psychic told me that I should focus on me this year, and so far she's been right. So I'm going to stick with it.


Looking for reqs for several of these so please send them to me!

Happy Wednesday
-SBR








Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tips for A First Date

Baltimore, MD, USA
Good morning, 
Well here we are-
back for installment 3, folks. 

Oh my. The stories that I received from people on IG after I started this series on the HORRIFIC dates they've been on made me both laugh and cringe. 
That gave me the idea to give some tips about going on a first date.

Truth be told, I despise first dates.
At first, I get excited.
Then when the day arrives, I lose it. 

Why?
What if he isn't good at conversation?
What if he embarrasses me in some way?
(which is even more so a fear now that I've heard some of these stories).
What if he's rude?
What if we have nothing in common?
What if...........

What if it goes so well, and I'm excited, and then I get my heart broken later.
Oh. Hit a nerve there, didn't I?

But as much as I despise it, 
\I actually think that I've come up with some tips that have made me better at 
Le Premier Rendez-Vous.
Maybe if I say it fancy & french-like, I will feel better about it. 

1. Be Yourself 
This means, try (it's hard) to relax. Be you. Don't try to talk differently or act differently because it will for sure come across disingenuous. Also, dress like you. This will be helpful when you are trying to decide how dressy or casual to go. What would you wear for an IG pic at the same place? Oh wait, that might just be my personal thinking (send help). But seriously, don't try to dress like someone that you aren't either.

2. Have a List
Did I get your attention? On my last IG live (there will be more!) I spoke about this ridiculous list that people have for the person they want to meet, but this is different. Having a list of talking points will give you ideas for how to continue the conversation, should it get awkward. Plus it will help it feel like less of a job interview. 
One time I was nervous and kept asking about the guy's job. 
He asked me if I was in HR. I was at the time. Not a good look. 

3. Be Kind 
I'm fluent in sarcasm. A lot of people say this, not just me. In my mind that makes it important enough to make this a point- be kind. Sarcasm is fun once you get to know someone. It's playful and flirtatious and if you feel towards the middle to end of the date that you are super comfortable, then do it. But in the beginning feel the other person out first. Sometimes sarcasm can come across as really mean (think: it's not always a joke if you add "lol"). 
And you certainly don't want to seem that way. 
A little bit of complimenting can go a very long way. 

4. Ask Questions & Listen
There is absolutely NOTHING worse than when you go on a date and listen to them talk about themselves the ENTIRE time. Oh it's the worst. Second only to this, is when you see someone's eyes wondering off into the distance as you are telling them something or answering a question. 
Oh my gosh. Are you even listening? 
Be an active listener, engage, ask questions about the story or answer to your question and look them in the eye. This shows that you care or if you don't care that you are just a kind person 
(see number 3).

5. Be Upfront About Expectations
Last tip and the absolute hardest for me sometimes. Be honest and upfront. If you didn't really feel the date, then nicely let them know either that night or the day after in a kind way. Don't lead someone along and then ghost (this is hardest for us who detest confrontation). Also during the date, make sure you are honest about what you are looking for, are you casually dating? Looking for a relationship? Maybe more? See if you are on the same page. This is so helpful.

I hope you found these helpful and please send me your tips. I'd love to share more on my instagram and have an open conversation about first dates! IG LIVE 8PM tonight on this topic. I'm bringing some guests on who are engaged to talk to us about getting past the first date.
 Bring your wine or beer and get ready.

Happy Wednesday, only two more days.

-SBR





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