A 3 inch tall party hat . . . a must for a golden birthday

 “Surprise! We’re going to brunch at Woodberry Kitchen!”

Ok so it wasn’t a surprise any longer but I was still happy since I have yet to check out one of the best Baltimore brunch spots. Yes, it is as good as everyone says! To get my birthday festivities started, my sister had gotten me a 3 inch tall party hat with ’27′ on it… I think she got a kick out of it more than myself.


After brunch, I was instructed to get into a car for ‘part 2′ of the day. We arrived at my parent’s home to for an intimate birthday party complete with mimosas & cake. Don’t be fooled by the number of forks & spoons– there were only 7 of us.

My family had given me a basket of 27 ‘golden’ items which was pretty creative. I’m not sure if the basket was the best or the stories of them putting it together. Apparently, my father assembled the basket because my mom wasn’t doing it right. “You need to sprinkle the candy on the top, not just put it in the bottom” Thank you Paul for learning from me & my ways.


What was in the basket? Everything. Gold Stapler, Gold Giant Paper Clips (I love office supplies), Gold Hard Cider, Gold Tequila Mix, Goldfish- the crackers, Gold Polka Dot Notebook, Box of Ferrero Rocher Chocolates, Gold Champagne, Gold Sequins Coasters, Gold Bond Lotion, Gold Candle, Gold Bracelet, Gold Gummies, Gold Chocolate Coins…. The list goes on…

Tuesday, January 27th… my actual birthday was spent relaxing. It was a snow day for me so why not kick back? I did some cleaning and work but I mostly read my new book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? My roommate, the notorious bookworm got me that book and a collection of photos by Bodine, a famous Baltimore Photographer.

Since I was unaware of the surprise brunch & party, I went ahead and made plans with a few of the girls to celebrate at a local wine bar, 13.5%. This place was also on my list of places to try this year so I can mark those both off! Dinner was myself, my sister, my roommate, my friend Jaime and three of the Kochesfahani ladies (Ridiculous should be their middle name). I have forgotten how great it is to catch up with friends when work is set aside.

It was the perfect golden birthday for me.


*Golden Birthday means you turn the same age as the date, ie. 27 on the 27th.

A much needed escape from reality

White beaches, blue water, and 85 degree weather for 7 days with absolutely zero work!  I made my way down to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for my first real ‘no work’ vacation in two years with my mother. It’s been 10 years since I’ve first been to the Dominican and I must say it is definitely a favorite!

The first couple days we spent in the mountains & jungle learning about the Dominican culture. Sugar Cane, Rum, Cigars, Coffee, Coco… oh and let’s not forget Mama Juana, the local cocktail concocted of red wine, honey, rum and herbs. Dangerously delicious!

Zip lining through the jungle included 12 lines over 2 miles and over 2,500 feet high. One of the lines went over a river and then there was a double line where you can race a partner. I lost the race. The guys working the lines were great and so friendly!

The best part by far…. relaxing whether it be on the beach or poolside. Our last excursion was a basically a spa day in the middle of the ocean. We had massages, floated on a mat in the middle of the water and even had a detox (apparently I’m extremely stressed- shocking).

This trip was a wonderful mix of adventure and relaxation! The one thing I have learned is that throughout the year, I need to regularly make time for myself without any work so that I don’t burn out. Now it’s back to the snow and a great line up of spring projects!

Big changes for 2015!

Instead of writing my typical holiday posts, I choose to simply enjoy the holidays with my friends & family and put work on the back burner for once. I spent time going out to dinner with friends, shopping, and just taking in all that the holidays have to offer. I’m basically a 5 year old when it comes to Christmas and guess what? 5 year olds do not post blogs about what they are up to.

In 2015, I plan on being selfish personally & professionally. Ok how is this even acceptable as a goal? I look back on the past few years & realize that I allowed my calendar to rule my life as I made it my mission to sacrifice personal time for my company. Well, 2015 is the year that will all change! Well… sort of. Instead of focusing on ‘building’ up my company, I’m going to be focusing on my brand, it’s values and overall vision.

Personally, I plan on making more time for me. It’s my ‘Golden Year’ which means I’m turning 27 on the 27th! Woo! This may have sparked the ‘Year for Me’ mentality. I don’t plan to strive for a ‘balanced’ life but a more healthy one where I focus on taking better care of myself physically & mentally. I hit that wall where my mind & body hate me and I’ve lost that drive and motivation because I hadn’t given myself time to regroup throughout the year.

Less of this                                                                               More of this


So how do I plan on making this big change? I have created a list! Imagine that, a planner making lists.

It’s my hope that a year from now, I can pull out those lists & see all that I’ve accomplished and set out to do, actually happened.


Where did the Fall season go?

I knew I had a chaotic fall but thinking it and living through it was just not the same…

Here’s a quick glimpse of what I’ve been up to!

Sponsored A Night to Remember …proceeds to Kennedy Kreiger Institute

Hosted my sister’s Bachelorette Party in downtown Baltimore

Shopping in NYC…. 3 weeks before my sister’s wedding and I still did not have a dress…whoops

Baby Shower in Long Island, NY


Whimsical Woodsland Wedding and the first time at a wedding I had to build a bon fire

[Click here to Elizabeth Fogarty Photography for the photos]

My Sister’s Wedding…formal post to follow with the professional photos!


Welcome Home Mr. & Mrs. Meyers!

Mascarade Networking Event

Halloween Rehearsal Dinner

Chic Wedding in Raleigh, NC

Surprise Birthday Party/Viewing Party

As the winter sets in, events are slowing down a bit but the admin work, and networking are picking back up.

While I try to regroup and begin planning 2015, I can’t wait to make the time to enjoy the holidays!

Rediscovering forgotten passions

While I had some time at the beach a few months ago, I made it a point to work on some art projects. If I think back to the last time I had done any type of project, it was two years ago when I painted my coffee table. Since the beach, I have worked on various projects small to large and for personal & professional purposes.

Painted Canvas Project

This was the first project I started while at the beach. It’s not complete yet but when I find the time I hope to add one of my favorite quotes to put on the large canvas. ‘If it is both terrifying & amazing, you should definitely pursue it.’ – Erada

Tone on Tone Accent Wall

My newest home improvement project is Operation Home Office. Both my roommate & I never use our dining room as a dining room. I think I can count on one hand how many times in two years we’ve sat down to eat in there. So my brilliant idea was to turn it into a home office. The first step was adding an accent wall. Let’s just say I’m thankful it’s complete.


Entry Way Table

At the non-profit, I’ve been assisting with updating the office decor & look. Instead of going out and purchasing all new furniture, it made sense to just take some items we already had & update them. This table was tucked away in an office but was perfect for an entry way table. With a couple coats of paint & some new hardware, it looks completely different.


Glitter Champagne Glasses

For my sister’s wedding I thought it would nice to add a few small details such as these glitter champagne glasses. These will be for the girls while everyone is getting ready on the wedding day. Someone asked if it was for the reception and no, I’m not that crazy to make over a 100 of these.

Cocktail Recipe Table Tents

Details matter to me in case you couldn’t tell. These cocktail recipe cards will be perfect for an upcoming party’s champagne bar. Behind each recipe will be all the ingredients to make your own champagne cocktail!


I know what you may be thinking, “She’s crazy!” OR “A bit much, eh?” And yes, I know that. My roommate & sister both think I’m crazy and always go a bit overboard. My roommate even thought I purchased the canvases I painted. But at the end of the day, I enjoy all these projects because they allow me to be creative.


Dear Baltimore, you are truly underrated.

Easily 6 months ago, my roommate & I had plans for brunch but had to cancel them last minute. Well last week we finally had a brunch date and turned the entire day into Roommate day. Neither of us could remember when we spent an entire day together- maybe the last snow day?

The day started off with mimosas & brunch at a Baltimore favorite- Miss. Shirley’s. This place has one of those menus where you literally cannot go wrong with any selection. After brunch, the two of us headed to The Baltimore Museum of Art. Did you know admission is FREE? Julia proposed this the day prior & I couldn’t have been more excited! [Secret: not many people know I love art & almost went to school for it]


It’s almost sad that I have forgotten this hidden gem that is literally in my backyard. We started in the Cone Wing that is filled with classics like Picasso, Matisse, Monet. We learned about the Cone sisters of Baltimore that the wing was named after. The amount of ‘classics’ and pieces that these two sisters had was just unbelievable, I mean hundreds & hundreds of pieces.


And then we ventured into to the Contemporary Wing. The two of us came to the same conclusion- we do not understand and are not the biggest fans of contemporary art. We couldn’t wrap our heads around rotted fruit rinds with threading like a baseball. Our visit ended in the gardens of the museum with the streets of Baltimore just beyond their gates, the contrast is simply amazing.


We had plans in the afternoon to head to our local vineyard, Boordy’s for their ‘Good Life Thursday’. This is a recurring farmer’s market with live music, food, wine, etc. Together we bought a bottle of wine, some snacks & sat down to relax & enjoy the unusually cool August evening.

No one can ever complain about being bored in the Baltimore area because the variety & amount of different things to do is almost endless. That day made me realize I need to make a larger effort to enjoy what my city has to offer.

Sand crabs & Old Bay…. Family Beach Week!

For as long as I can remember, my family has vacationed at the beach every summer. Over the years, as my sister & I have gotten older, some things have changed but it’s great to see what traditions have stuck through the years.

Watching my cousin & his son dig for sand crabs exactly like we all had done years ago with our fathers…

Grabbing a slice at Lombardi’s or relaxing on the bay for a quiet evening…


One evening the ‘adults’ always have a night out on the town. It’s like the beach version of Thanksgiving dinner when you graduate from the ‘kids’ table to the adult table (I’m still waiting on that one).

The best part of the beach is hands down the time spent with family whether it’s on the beach, at the bar, or sitting in a living room for game night. Now it’s back to the grind & preparing for a crazy fall season!

Summer time and the living is easy, right?

A few months ago, I could have sworn the summer meant I had a brief window to recover, recharge, and relax…. that window is getting smaller and smaller. Even though I wrapped up my last spring event in late June,  my summer is filled with business related traveling and an endless to-do list leaving little room to relax. Last week I was in Raleigh with a client for various appointments preparing for her fall wedding. Even with uncomfortable temperatures reaching over 100 degrees, I was more frustrated that I couldn’t get “a quick cup of coffee.” I lived in North Carolina for four years, how could I forget that getting anything ‘quick’ is practically nonexistent? For someone always on the go, it was definitely a challenge to slow down.

The view from the Cardinal Club in downtown Raleigh, NC.

From North Carolina, I headed straight to Delaware to celebrate the 4th of July with my family. The following day I woke up to dark clouds and the threat of rain- it was not your typical July 4th weather. Even with the rain, my family was able to make the best of the holiday by hitting up a local bar for some celebratory dinner & drinks at Harpoon Hanna’s. Since this establishment is only a few miles from our place, Jamie, Treven & I found ourselves there again the next evening.

Right before we were to call it a night, Jamie says to me, “Wait, I think I just saw Colleen and Natalie walk by.” Two minutes later, we found ourselves sitting with the 4 Kochesfahani sisters & friends. Colleen is laughing, “I told them we would run into the Englert’s here.” The Kochesfahani family is like an extension of ours but we are all so busy it’s hard to get all of us together. It was great to spontaneously run into each other and catch up while sipping on our summer drink of choice, crushes.

Summer concerts, drinks by the bay, tanning on the beach, local baseball games are all things I have to pass on more times than not because of the crazy lifestyle I’ve created. Even when I got a chance to go to the pool, I’ve had to leave because I couldn’t relax knowing I have a lot of work I should be doing. Maybe next beach trip I’ll work on this whole ‘relaxing’ concept.

Nerf Guns and the USAF Thunderbirds

Last Thursday, I was able to sneak out and head to the beach for Father’s Day weekend since I had a change in plans. Don’t be fooled, I still worked all day Friday but a difference in scenery doesn’t hurt a bit. After a few calls with clients and many documents later, I was able to pack up my work and put it aside for a bit. While my parents entertained neighbors Friday evening, three of us headed out to dinner and of course, Dumsers for a sweet treat. Ice cream is a food group when we’re at the beach and Jamie & Treven are really bad influences.

The five of us headed to brunch on Saturday on our way to the Ocean City Air Show to watch the USAF Thunderbirds. Joining our family, we hung out enjoying some icy cold beverages while taking in the jets, jumpers, and other festivities. Unfortunately, the kids are so little that they had to watch part of it from inside due the loud noise from the jets.

As Father’s Day rolled around, we headed to our father’s favorite donut shop bright & early before we prepared breakfast (and by we, I mean Treven made the pancakes). What is a better way to start out Father’s Day without a little Nerf gun battle? We’re kids at heart but my father is easily the biggest kid of all of us so I thought breaking out the Nerf guns was appropriate.

I’m glad I was able to take some time in with the family but it’s back to the grind & getting ready for the last wedding for a bit.

Why chasing the dollar doesn’t always pay off

Even though every business wants to make money, there are a lot of factors that can go into making the decision to take on new jobs, clients, or projects.

Over the last few months, as new opportunities have presented themselves, I have had to think long and hard if the best decision for myself is to take it on or not. It isn’t easy for me to say no (especially when I know I could take on some of the burden) but I understand I need to always weigh the pros & cons.

In the back of my mind, I always have one of my father’s sayings, ‘Don’t chase the dollar’ buzzing in the background. He has always emphasised to us that there is a lot more to making a decision than looking at just the dollars and cents. Ask yourself some of these questions. . .

- What else do I have going on during this time frame? What would I be giving up if I took this on?

- Does the client’s expectations match the reality of work load?

- How much stress could this add? Will it be worth it? Would it take things to an unhealthy stress level?

- What other obstacles or challenges come with taking this on? Is the client easy to work with? Will communication be clear & timely?

It’s never easy to pass up an opportunity, but sometimes in the end, it’s for the best.