Saturday, May 26, 2018

Interview: Beltway Merch

I had the privilege of sitting down with Angela of Beltway Merch recently to discuss her business! Angela and I met because I saw some adorable dog collars at the Towson Festival recently, and the rest was history.
We met at the awesome new Cake by Jason Hisley location in Timonium, and it was nothing short of absolutely delish. Jason is also the sweetest, and spoke to us about his new place, his projects and his two adorable bulldogs. 

photo by: the Boho Lens

This cake is my all time favorite. 

Angela has been in business since 2009.
With a background in photography, she found herself in need of a new job due to a company merger, where they ended up with too many employees, and therefore started making cuts.
Not overly concerned, Angela enjoyed her break from years of 9-5, and one day saw some cute but expensive belts that gave her the inspiration to try it out herself. Once she made her first belt she was hooked! And that's when she started her Etsy shop.
Obviously a creative, she worked at it until she perfected her art, and she now HANDmakes her items.

Angela spends over 40-50 hours a week just making her products, and spends almost as many hours driving to and being at events during the week.

Here are some questions that I had for Angela!

How do you make your designs?
(side note: many of her designs are MD themed)
She answered, that she uses photoshop especially for the MD flag themed paw print and flamingos. She creates them herself except her logo- her boyfriend made that! Everything that she makes is hers, except of course the actual MD flag and USA flag.
The designs are from photographs and others are drawings.
My dog Ella has the cutest watermelon collar which I'm sure many of you have seen. It's so sweet and she gets compliments several times a week.

Ella and her new watermelon collar.

Do you do custom designs?
She answered yes she does! She actually just did custom collars for Show Your Soft Side (link). She sells them in bulk to the organization at wholesale price.
Bulk is around 11-12 collars at a time.
Not a bad deal at all!

What do all of your products entail?
She makes:
Dog + Cat Collars and Leashes
Dog Bandanas (in the works)

Unfinished Bows

Don't you love these designs? So many MD vibes!

How many events do you do a week?
She does events during the summer every Saturday, usually Sundays, then Thursdays at the Towson Farmers Market (so catch her there!) and Fridays. She is frequently at local events and food truck events as well.

Angela recently at Black Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico

What is the best way to contact you?
Via email -----> Email is here!

Marketing Note:
She uses a "card" that is also a sticker with a MD flag themed crab, and all of her info on the other side. So not only do you get a cute card, but it's also a sticker that people will want to keep. I think it's GENIUS.

Thanks so much for meeting with me Angela-
make sure you check her out!

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The People Behind Sarah E. Ramsey, MBA


Wow, I seriously can't believe the day is finally here.
I've been in grad school at the University of Baltimore since Fall 2015.

It wasn't an easy process. I had to take the GMAT, a test for business students (potential MBA students) that is FULL of math, math, and more math.

What's the one thing I have always struggled with? Math.

Anyway, after that test, and acceptances to both UB & Loyola, I chose UB. 
I chose UB because they had a program that combined classes there and at Towson, and as you probably now know, I also graduated from Towson (undergrad). 
The program has since ended, but my diploma will have both schools.

I started this grad student journey when I was at a very complicated time of my life. My dad had been gone for about 2 years and I knew I was in the wrong career. However I didn't know what career to chose, so I went back to school.
It has a happy ending though right? 
As you know, I found my way, and I have days full of happiness and doing as I please. 
It wasn't easy, there were many scary days, and nights and weeks, and months. 
Sometimes I'm still nervous about things, but I'm on the right path this time, and that gives me so much comfort.

That leads me to what this post is really about, the people attending my graduation.
If I told them in advance I was writing this, there would've been much protestation. 
So I didn't.

I didn't get to where I am today, on this amazing day, by myself.

I dedicated my hat to my dad and Ella, and you've read that story.
Now here is the rest.


That's me- as a baby!

Where do I even start?
My mom has been there for me since day 1. 
We've always been best friends, and I've always wanted to be exactly like her. 
From singing, to fashion, to strength, I've always looked up to her. 
When I told my mom that I wanted to change everything she always stood behind me, 
she stood up for me, and she helped me get there.
My mom and I went through something that I wish on absolutely no one, 
the loss of a husband and a father. 
We'd both give anything for him to be here today, but she's done an excellent job of being both a mom and a dad over the past 5 years, and I really don't know how she does it.
My mom helped me get here today make no mistake. 
Without her, I wouldn't be the person that I am standing on that stage or off. 
Mom, I love you. 

Aunt Deb
wow really taking it back to the blonde days!

My Aunt Deb is my mom's sister. 
I see her probably at least once a week!
Aunt Deb and I have many things in common, and one of them is a love of all things crafty. 
She's amazing at quilting, sewing, and making clothes.
I'm not great at those, but she always gives me craft things like paints, brushes, books to learn more skills, and is always looking for cute shirts or anything that I may like. Most recently she gave me some vintage clothing from the 70's that I LOVE.
When I was really little Aunt Deb would always take me to get a new Barbie every year for my birthday. It was something I always looked forward to each year!
We've come a long way from those days, and I'm so happy you can be here today.
Love you!


Jen Jen Jen.
Every time I say to people "oh my best friend Jen..." 
they say, "why do you always start it with that? We know who Jen is".
Jen and I have been friends since French class 2007 at Towson U.
So 11 years. 
I know Jen is groaning as she reads that, truthfully me too.
I can't believe it's been 11 years. 
Jen has tried unsuccessfully to send me on blind dates, makes me more food than I can ever eat (and aggressively makes me eat it), does my makeup literally whenever I ask, same with hair (remember sex hair? hahahah), and always gives me the cold hard truth about everything. 
I mean it. 
She does not hold back.
But one thing she's always done is that she's always been here for me, no matter what.
She's always stood up for me, with other people, situations, no matter what is going on.
She's aunt Jen to Ella, and spoils her terribly. She's probably the one person I know who is as obsessed with dogs as I am.
She even planned my 30th birthday with my mom. Poor Jen, I was not easy to get along with as I have natural investigative tendencies. Sorry Jen. She's never going to let me forget it.
Jen's not a morning person AT ALL. And she's agreed to do my makeup for graduation this  morning at 7AM. 
Now that, is a true friend. 
Love you Jen!


I said a little bit about Joell already on instagram, but if you missed it, Joell and I met last semester in our cornerstone class. Anyone who was in that class is laughing right now, and all of you are jerks.
Let's just say, it was not my favorite.
Anyway Joell had just gone to Thailand and I was prepping to go, so we started chatting about that. She was very sarcastic, and agreed to go with me to happy hour one night, so obviously we've been friends ever since.
Joell invites me to dinner at her house just about every evening. 
She has a sweet BF named Mike who probably just tolerates me (just kidding, I think I may be starting to grow on him finally). Alexa- does Mike like me? (inside joke).
Anyway she's always there for me and has been an amazing friend.
I'm so glad we met, and became fast friends!
Thanks so much for being here today.

Brittany- here in spirit!

Brittany had every intention of being here today, and honestly I feel terrible that she couldn't be. I won't get into the why and all of that, but she did everything that she could.
Brittany and I were very close as kids, and became close again when our grandmother passed away. 
We feel more like sisters than cousins, we are literally in several ways the same person. 
Brittany is one of the most important people in my life, and I'm so thankful that I have her. 
I miss living in VA where I could see her whenever I wanted, and I am sure that if I ever live close to her again, I'll be at her house every day. 
Brittany thank you for being there for me every day in EVERY way. 
From personal things going on, to life advice, to business advice and more, I don't know what I'd do without you! 
I can't wait to be Aunt Sarah ;). 
Love you!

There's so many more people who are behind me constantly and
 I wish that I could have everyone there! 
Just know I appreciate and love you and thank you for always being there for me. 

-Sarah E Ramsey

Monday, May 7, 2018

Interview with Di Is Organized

Raise your hand if you are incredibly organized!
Ok good. 

Now, raise your hand if you also have all of the time in the world to stay organized!
Yep. That's more like it. 

 Photo by:  Fabi Maranho Photography.

{I'm going to guess that on that second one, not many of you would raise your hands. 
Of course this practice would be much better if this were a talk or video, and not a blog post, but still, you get my point.}

Either you aren't exactly sure how to organize or you are super organized but don't have the time to stay that way. 
Or you're a freaking unicorn who is able to do a million things and still stay organized and if that's you, your name is Di and you founded the company I'm about to discuss right now.

Side note:
I'm the latter. 
I consider myself organized, and I just do not have the time to stay that way.
But guess what, there's a service for BOTH!

Photo by:  Fabi Maranho Photography.

The Interview

Di and I sat down for smoothies on a brisk 90 degree day in Fells Point last week. We went to The Daily Grind, originally for coffee, but even an iced coffee wasn't going to do the trick. 
They have delicious smoothies by the way!

Di is originally from Brazil, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this temperature agrees with her more than the cold. It's really not going out on a limb though in fact, because she told me she is NOT a fan of cold weather.
Me either, and I'm from here. Maybe I should move to Brazil!

From Brazil to the US

Anyway, I digress. 
Di is one of those fearless people who moved here, before she even knew the language. Armed with a degree in Journalism, she decided she wanted to move to the states. She picked up English enough in ONE year to take classes the next year. Impressive.
Moving here as an au pair, she was here for two years before her visa expired sending her back to Brazil. There was just one problem. She had started dating her now husband and they had dated for 9 months! Realizing she didn't know what the future held, they made it work with phone calls and visits. 
Eventually, they decided they were soulmates and decided to get married. 
Fun fact, a fiance visa is not a quick deal. It takes almost 1 year from when you apply, to get approved. They still made it work.
Once back in the US, Di decided she wanted to launch a business doing something that she loved,  and one of those things was journalism, but if she was going to start a family, she didn't want to be working every evening. That is the life with journalism in most cases.

Why Professional Organization?

When asking her why she chose Professional Organization she told me the funniest/most savage/entertaining story about how when she was younger she was often bored. Her parents were of the stricter variety and preferred she spend most of her time at home. Whenever she claimed she was bored, her mom would dump her closet out, and tell her to organize it. 
"Now you have something to do!" she'd say.

If I walked into your house at any given moment would it be organized?
Yes, Di says, except for the kids playroom in the basement, they are kids, after all.
Ok, I think we can all find that perfectly acceptable. 
Di also added that she always makes her bed in the AM, a tip that I've found to be universal to being productive in general.

Di as a child, who probably just reorganized her closet.

Di offers several services including in-home packages, where she works with or works for you to organize your home. The only thing she doesn't do is throw anything away without your permission! Which is definitely great to know. Instead, she leaves those things in a neat box for you to go through.
She also does consulting, video consulting (virtual coaching), one-on-ones where she goes through how to organize certain areas (for those who want to organize themselves but are unsure of how to do this), as well as every other week or once a month maintenance appointments.
New services include: a la carte services like meal planning, closet makeovers and coming soon, an interior design package!
Di also has workshops in the Baltimore metro area frequently, so make sure you follow her on social media- Facebook and Instagram.

What is your biggest organizational tip?
I had to know. I mean, she's such an expert, and I try hard, but I'm not always the most organized.
Her response?
"Keep things in one place". She said often people have items like re-usable bags in several places in the house or car or garage, and when it comes time to need it- they can't be found!
Designating one spot for items like this definitely helps keep them organized.

I laughed.
For me, there's dog poop bags in 5 different locations in my house and lately, I haven't been able to find any! I think the same would apply for the elusive pens in my house.

What do you guys think?
Ready to get organized?
If so, a great way to start is by joining her new Home Organization Challenge-
happening now!

Have a great week.

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