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Hidden Gems: Local Businesses & Creatives You Should Know

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series. Check out some of our latest local gem features below.

Tristan Lindsey

I started my lemonade business because my mom and my stepdad were always working hard. So, I wanted to help out so I said I wanted to sell lemonade. But of course, my parents help me with my business. So now we use it to help save money for when I’m old enough to go to college. Read more>>

Scarlett Ho

I have always loved photography growing up as it combines both scientific and artistic elements. Not only is it a unique way of looking at the world, I like that it captures moments and memories that can be shared with people. I didn’t grow up with a fancy camera nor know anyone who is a photographer, so I didn’t think too much of it other than using a digital camera occasionally while I traveled (you know, like a typical tourist). Read More>>

Erin Allison

After fulfilling my role as homemaker while I had 3 young children at home, I learned that Drink at The Well (AKA The Well) needed some administrative help. I became the Office Manager in August of 2016. Four months later the position of Program Director opened up and I stepped into that opportunity. I was the Program Director at The Well for about 2 years while we working on launching a social enterprise, Hon’s Honey. Hon’s Honey launched and needed a director, so I took on that role. Running a purpose-driven business is not something I saw myself doing when I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies but it has been an adventure! Now I’m halfway done with my Masters in Business Administration and so grateful to be part of an organization that is making social and economic change in Baltimore!. Read more>>

Chris Van Jura

I already wish this was being recorded and I didn’t have to type it all.  I went to Western Connecticut State University where I studied and earned my BA in Theater Arts. While in school I got a job as a busboy at the same restaurant where many of the upperclassmen in my program worked — and I followed them from restaurant to restaurant over the next few years moving from busboy to host then to bartender and eventually server. After college, I spent four years working at an Italian deli named Visentini Brothers in Lodi, NJ. While at Visentini, I was pursuing my career in film & theater – booking commercials, working off-Broadway, and earning small roles in feature films. All while slicing prosciutto. Eventually, I moved to Hoboken, NJ, and worked in a couple places in Hoboken & Jersey City before relocating to Philadelphia for a former relationship — as it goes, I had a tremendous time in Philly. Read more>>

Anusha Moodley

I formulate and create natural bath and body products. Thulisa Naturals was born out of a need for me to take care of my mental health after becoming a first-time mom. Knowing the benefits of essential oils, I decided to learn more about incorporating aromatherapy into everyday life and began creating essential oil, natural bath, and body products for my personal use and could see the long-term benefits they had on my body and mind. After receiving a certificate in making natural products I decided to take the leap and start a business.  I was an Occupational Therapist for 15 years. I was definitely nervous making the transition to working at my small business full-time, but I knew that my products could help others slow down and take care of themselves.  I have been running my business for 3 years and am happy to say that my products are in wonderful stores across the nation. Read more>>

Tae Kerney

Digital creation has truly always been a passion for me. Throughout the years, even when I was little, I always remembered the joy I had when a camera was in my hands. As I got older, I realized I could go to school for my passion and eventually turn that into a career. I already knew my major would be tied to photography/videography so I decided on Towson University and majored in Electronic Media and Film with a concentration in Videography. Towson was able to teach me the fundamentals and helped to expand my knowledge on the different pathways I could venture to with my skills. I was even able to put my talents to the test with various internships, including Towson’s marketing department & the Baltimore Orioles, just to name a few. Upon graduation, I did what any recent college graduate does and tried my hand in entering Corporate America. “Get a job in your field of study,” they say. Read more>>

Melony Hill

Born and raised in Baltimore to a teen mom, I constantly found myself in situations that a child should not have witnessed nor been any part of. By the age of 17, I was a survivor of multiple sexual assaults, domestic violence in the home, poverty, a drug-addicted parent, and too much more to put in one article.  Over the years, therapy was attempted many times, but only in 2010 when I was nearly 30 years old did, I finally find a therapist I felt comfortable talking to and processing My trauma-filled upbringing with. I had been seeing her for seven years, up to three days a week, when one day I walked into her office and she simply said, ” I no longer take your insurance.  Feeling abandoned and lost, somehow, I managed to find My way home. I lie in bed for day, waiting to die, because I was sure life couldn’t continue without the routine that had held Me together for so long.  I’m not sure how many days I laid there waiting for answers but it finally came, I kept hearing the phrase ‘stronger than my struggles’ in My head but I had no clue what it meant. Still, I purchased the domain and sat on it. Read more>>

Patricia Sterling

I have always been a person who loved to entertain, so I found myself always planning some sort of event. I began assisting a caterer and event planner at my church decorating for weddings and other special events. Later I started doing events for family and friends and it just became second nature from there. These events included my then signature candy and dessert tables. This later evolved into planning numerous celebrations and events at work such as holiday parties, baby showers, and retirement parties. At first, it was just a hobby, but eventually, it became crystal clear that creating and designing events lit a passion in me like never before.  Read more>>

Ari Chibbaro

My mom said, “You can get a recipe from anyone, but your own hand is the key”. I grew up in Bali, Indonesia, and moved to the United States to marry my beloved husband in 2004. Everything was new for me, including learning how to drive on the right side, navigating the streets & landmarks to stores, doctor’s offices, etc. (before GPS), and translating from my native Indonesian.  The biggest challenges were being away from my large family and transitioning from my successful office management career that I had cultivated since 1990. It was difficult for a formerly independent woman to became dependent on my husband. I lost my ability to independently provide financial support to those less fortunate, especially my preferred beneficiaries of orphans and orphanages. Read more>>

Jazmyn Roberson

First and foremost, Heart4SuccessPhotos LLC started simply because we believe that when you are passionate about something you must give your all in order for it to be successful. Hence, Heart4SuccessPhotos, you must put your heart into what you love because the benefits of that will be greater than what you expect. We started out doing family portraits and nature photography because we love the natural feel and approach of being able to capture moments outside in real-time. Heart4SuccessPhotos LLC became an official company on August 16th, 2016. We recently created our own Heart4Success week. This is where we did activities and celebrated all the way up until our anniversary day. August 16, 2021 marks 5 years since we have been in business. Our company is still moving and growing in a major way because it’s all about building solid and meaningful relationships. We are still getting booked and traveling. Read more>>

Eddie Conway

Garry’s Grill opened in April of 1991. My family and I would always go to breakfast after Sunday mass. When I was 14 years old (1998) I went to breakfast and the manager at the time asked if I would be interested in washing dishes. The following evening, I started working at 4.25 an hour plus tips. I worked my way to the top. At the age of 23, June 2nd, 2008, I purchased Garry’s Grill from Garry Anderson and the rest, as they say, has been history.  Read more>>

Dr. Erlanger Turner

I was born and raised in Baton Rouge Louisiana. After obtaining my bachelor’s degree in psychology from Louisiana State University, I attended Texas A&M University where I earned my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Later I attended my post-doctoral clinical training in Baltimore at the Kennedy Krieger Institute through Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Since 2011, I’ve been licensed as a psychologist. After working in the DC/Baltimore area for several years, I moved to Houston where I transitioned to full-time teaching. After working for several years as a psychology professor, I founded my consulting practice – Turner Psychological and Consulting Services. More recently, I launched Therapy for Black Kids (https://www.therapyforblackkids.org/) which is focused on providing educational seminars and events for kids, parents, and organizations to promote resilience and healthy emotional development among Black youth. Read more>>

Kelley and Chelai Johnson

Kelley’s mentor, Walter York, encouraged him to get into the custom apparel and promotional products business. He taught Kelley how to use the silkscreen and heat press technologies. In addition, another colleague, Jimmy, taught Kelley to create art by hand and to ensure he created what the customer wanted. Kelley started his business 6 months after working with Walter and Jimmy. He desired to start his own business not only from the encouragement of mentors but also realizing that he didn’t want to buy clothes from someone else because he knew he could create better quality that was more to his liking. Additionally, Kelley’s custom work focused on slogans and sayings with positive vibes for his constituents.  Kelley was in business for over 20 years when his wife, Chelai, suggested they go into business together. Chelai was helping Kelley with his business but by working as partners they could equally participate in building the vision. They formed KC JOHNSON LLC, as a full-service uniform, custom apparel, and promotional products business. Today, their offerings span sports uniforms, buttons, corporate branding, and even flags to name a few. Read more>>

Andrea England

Drea is the founder and CEO of AE Business Consulting, AE Brand Management, and The Business Connect Hub. Drea possesses a Bachelor of Science degree from Bowie State University in Sociology concentrating Criminal Justice and two Master of Science Degrees from Stevenson University in Forensic Studies: Criminalistics and Investigations and Business and Information Technology Management. Over the last decade, Drea has been responsible for assisting hundreds of businesses, ranging from small businesses, corporate, private, and public sectors, non-profits, and government.  Drea grew up believing that you can do anything, as long as you put your mind to it and are dedicated and motivated. She did just that. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Drea was destined to become an entrepreneur and did so at 19 years old by managing a very successful local clothing store. After seeing the hardships and dysfunctions associated with many small businesses, AE Business Consulting was born (2017). Read more>>

Nilia Ford

Growing up in the south, I remember watching my grandmother, Annie Bell, bake. She was the main individual that inspired me to do the same. Due to her as a child, my dream was to be a pastry chef. As time went on and the world of adulting commenced, I decided to go the stable route. Although I ended up with a finance degree and have reached the role of an Accountant II, I have not lost my love for baking. I have always baked the southern sweets I grew up with. With the pandemic (COVID-19) affecting the states and lockdowns came more personal time for me. With the extra time, I baked more and was sharing my sweets with more friends. They enjoyed it so much it encouraged me to start my bakery, Annie Bell’s Sweet Treats. The business is named after my grandmother. My vision is to share the Southern Sweets I grew up with to Baltimore City and the surrounding area. I offer an assortment of sweets such as Praline, Hummingbird Cupcakes, Red Velvet Cupcakes, different flavors of Pound Cakes, Cookies, and much more. Read more>>

DJ Luongo

Don’s Dogs started in 2017 with a small hot dog cart as a little weekend hobby. We started gaining popularity and quickly outgrew the cart. Still no plans for a truck though because we simply didn’t have enough time to commit to a truck full time. Then Covid hit and my wife lost her job in the hotel industry in March of 2020. With no signs of hotels reopening, we decided to go all in and buy a truck. With a toddler and a 5-year-old at home, we were betting on ourselves to provide for our family.  After building the truck through the winter of 2020, we debuted it in March of ’21. We’ve been incredibly lucky to have found plenty of events to keep our calendar full and extremely grateful for all of our customers for their support and kind words. Read more>>

Chea Weltchek

In 2010, I experienced two pivotal life events: an extremely traumatic family situation occurred in January and a very close friend attempted suicide in March. Of course, these events affected me and my own mental health greatly. They also allowed me to understand how the mental health of one person can impact other people in their lives. I had recently graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education and suddenly understood how important a parent’s mental health is to their child’s wellbeing. I applied to the Clinical Mental Health program at Johns Hopkins University in 2011 and haven’t looked back. My career began as a School Counselor, implementing social-emotional curriculum and supporting kids in their journey toward mental wellness. Somehow, I still felt as though it wasn’t personal or impactful enough. In 2016, I launched my own practice working with kids and teens on relationship issues, depression, anxiety, etc. I quickly recognized in my clients what I had seen in myself, that the impacts of their environment were heavy on their mental well-being. Read more>>

Luky Robles

Everything started one holiday season during the year of 2003 when I was working for a clothing store and one of our regular clients offered me a job because she loves my customer service and my bubbly personality. I started working for her at a portrait studio at the mall. I was hired to be a salesperson and customer service. After 2 months I started working there I asked her that I really was interested in learning the photography part. Then she started the training process, after few months I started to photograph, groups of 1-4 people because I was still learning the posing techniques. From being a seasonal part-time employee, I became an assistant manager, after that I 2 years later I became a full-time manager, and 5 years later I became a senior manager, The company send me to take photography classes and I became a Senior photographer, having the title allowed me to train new manager and new hires. Read more>>

Paul Marengo

The BHT Foundation (Formerly Brother, Help Thyself) is an all-volunteer non-profit foundation that raises funds and supports our most vulnerable grassroots non-profits in the DMV region. Brother, Help Thyself was founded in 1978 by four gay motorcycle clubs and is one of the first organizations in the United States to provide funding for LGBTQ/SGL health, cultural, and social services. The first fund drive by The Capital Area Board of Leather and Levi Motorcycle Clubs raised $4,518. Brother, Help Thyself was formed to award that grant to the Gay Men’s VD Clinic which was having financial difficulties at that time. Not only did this grant make it possible for the clinic to continue to provide health services, but also made it possible for it to separate from the Free Clinic. This separation led to the creation of the Whitman-Walker Clinic, which expanded its services to the lesbian community at that time. Read more>>

Katelyn O’Connor

Katie Lynn’s started with the idea of being a shop for dancers with items handmade by a dancer; me! I was bored out of my mind in the middle of the pandemic and just got started with what I would want to wear once I was able to step on stage again. I started off making flower crowns for ballet buns, then expanded into earrings to match, then expanded into a lifestyle section including more accessories like bracelets, earrings, headbands, and scrunchies that could be worn in or out of the dance studio by anyone!. Read more>>

Andrea Moore

I have been baking since I was a little girl. One of my first recipes was a chocolate cheesecake! You would not believe this but even as a young one, my neighbors thought it was to die for. A few years later, I baked a special flavor for my husband to try because he loved cheesecake so much. I baked flavor after flavor for him to try. He loved it so much that he took slices to the mall where he worked and shared the goodness with his coworkers! Since then, I couldn’t wait to get my cheesecakes back in a mall. From all the positive feedback, I was motivated to keep baking them for all my family & friends. One day I was walking through the White Marsh Mall and I knew this was my kiosk! I could feel it! I was so inspired and I said to myself, “I want that!” This location was the perfect brick and mortar to move my then, home-based business too. Thus, “The Cheesecake Café” was created!. Read more>>

Amaia Beverly

I began my business journey on August 18, 2019, by becoming a certified lash technician. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to help people especially women to learn and embrace self-care and self-love. I am big on women empowerment, girl talk, etc. so I aim to give each client who gets serviced an exceptional experience of these main factors. A year into becoming certified, on August 18, 2020, I launched my own luxury lash line. I came up with the idea for my lash line when I realized that not all women wanted extensions but still wanted to be able to partake in the lash enhancement world. Becoming an entrepreneur has been one of the best decisions I have made thus far and is a huge part in the woman that I am today. Lash Charm, LLC. Has taught me a tremendous amount of patience, knowing my worth, hard work, dedication, and more. Read more>>

Cameron Pinkney

My interest in makeup began ever since I was young. I use to always watch YouTube videos of different tutorials and try to my best ability to recreate what I saw and it never turned outright. Over the years my interest for makeup grew as I started to wear eyeliner and sneaking lipstick when I got to middle school. I eventually started taking my grandmother’s eye shadow destroying them trying to either create a look or trying to make my own lip-gloss and lipsticks. Although I was on and off with what I wanted to do, I’ve always enjoyed the range of makeup from a simple glam to a full-blown editorial glam. I use to draw when I was a child and so discovering all of the things that are possible with makeup brushes, I fell in love. I’m currently a Senior at Morgan State University studying Business Administration and I didn’t intend on becoming a makeup artist, because I’ve always had different projects going on. Going away to college has played a huge part in who I am today. Read more>>

Jammie Irizarry

I was always inspired by the women in salons and makeover shows and how they changed how women felt. I always thought it was so powerful. I was at a time in my life where I was searching for ways to make a good living. I was in college with a major in liberal arts humanities & social science and still didn’t know what I wanted to pursue career-wise. I used to do my daughter’s hair for school occasions and always did blowouts braids and twists on her hair. I worked in customer service and wasn’t happy with the monotony every day. I felt like my purpose was calling. When one of the jobs didn’t work out something clicked. I saw it as a sign towards a new direction. I called a local salon I knew and offered to assist. Before you knew it, I was working there full time and loved doing it. I agreed to purchase the salon and saw how quickly things turned around with the business. I printed flyers and my friends and I Posted them on cars & businesses everywhere. Read more>>

Caroline Stubel

I am a 3rd generation hairstylist. My Grandma Hilary after moving from England to the US opened her own salon in Bridgeport, MI where I was raised. My Mom, Diane, became a stylist right out of high school and worked for several years before stepping in and continuing the salon tradition after my grandmother’s passing. I grew up in her salon watching her slave behind the chair for years and although never had a strong desire to follow in her footsteps as a child, the passion grew as I aged. While attending college for early childhood education, a desire to do hair hit me and so I put college on the back burner and entered into beauty school. I attended school during the day and worked in my mom’s salon in the evening and Saturday’s where she helped me grow my skills!!  I was behind the chair for about a year when my family was in need of help, so for what I thought would be a temporary move, I came to Maryland! Well, one thing led to another and I eventually met my husband Jimmy and the rest is history!! We have been together for more than 16 years and have 2 children together and I have 2 bonus children also! Being a Wife and Mom is my greatest accomplishment and now being a small business owner is a close second!!. Read more>>

Anthony Paige

My photography journey began when I was 16 years old. Mrs. Ali, my art teacher, handed me a Nikon D60. It was love at first sight. The weight of the camera felt right. After winning my first competition, I knew I had a knack for portrait photography. Makes sense when I think about it. My mother is a pretty talented portraitist, A few more competitions and a nice scholarship later, I started college. School was a complete struggle for me. I was dealing with a lot of emotional baggage and felt myself unraveling. So I decided to leave, save some money and take a solo trip across the world. I’d never suggest anyone quit their education. At the time, it was the right choice for me. I continued photographing people and working on my own projects; learning and studying along the way. In 2019 I stared my photography business (apsnaps.com). As for today. I’m still running my business, now specializing in editorial style portraits, as well as working on the occasional social project. My art is constantly being elevated by working with other talented creatives. I’m always striving to push the limits of what I believe is possible. Read more>>

Cerissa Leese

In grade school, I fell in love with musical theatre. So much so that I pursued an education post-high school at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. During my time there, I also worked for the school doing costumes and that was where my interest in hair and makeup began.  Shortly after moving back to Maryland, I began acting locally and found myself helping craft, and even apply, hair and makeup looks for myself and my castmates.  Fast forward a few years and I decided I wanted to make it official and get paid to do what I was enjoying! So, I did just that. I attended The Frederick School of Cosmetology and, although my goal at the time was to return to theatre, I also began assisting at a prestigious salon in Gaithersburg, MD.  Throughout my career, I’ve made it a point to attend the best education I could find. Read more>>

Ronald Malfi

Ronald Malfi is an award-winning author of many novels and novellas in the horror, mystery, and thriller genres. In 2011, his novel, Floating Staircase, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for best novel by the Horror Writers Association, and also won a gold IPPY award. His most recent novel, Come with Me (2021), about a man who learns a dark secret about his wife after she’s killed, has received stellar reviews, including a starred review from BookPage, and Publishers Weekly has said, “Malfi impresses in this taut, supernaturally tinged mystery… and sticks the landing with a powerful denouement. There’s plenty here to enjoy.” The book is currently in development for a television series. Among his most popular works is December Park, a coming-of-age thriller set in the ’90s, wherein five teenage boys take up the hunt for a child murderer in their hometown of Harting Farms, Maryland. In interviews, Malfi has expressed that this is his most autobiographical book to date. In 2015, this novel was awarded the Beverly Hills International Book Award for best suspense novel. It has been optioned several times for film. Read more>>

Rob Lee

Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Rob Lee is a podcaster who has been creative his entire life – including painting, writing comics, and poetry. Known for his witty and eccentric style, Rob fashions himself as equal parts philosopher/ storyteller and improvisor presenting unique, authentic, and irreverent views on the world today via podcasts under his brand, MTR Podcasts. MTR Podcasts includes Rob’s passion project, an interview series titled ‘Getting to The Truth in This Art’. This series’ goal is to amplify the voices of artists, entrepreneurs, and tastemakers that help drive and make up the culture in Baltimore. Rob aspires to inspire, hoping that his work with ‘Getting to The Truth In This Art’ encourages locals to take pride in their city while not getting bogged down by the maligned reputation cast upon them. Secondly, Rob wants to highlight the talent in Baltimore to show investors and artists that Baltimore is in the conversation as an artistic paradise and hub of culture. Read more>>

Kelly Bey-Borden

I began falling in love with makeup as a teenager in a vocational high school taking cosmetology. Although I worked in all areas of beauty, the artistry of makeup and making people feel beautiful inside out became a passion. Kris’s journey led me to MAC, to freelancing, teaching makeup art, and eventually launching my own cosmetic company. My products have been featured in articles from NY-ATL and have had me traveling to South Africa. Read more>>

Milan Scott

My story begins when I was in elementary school. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup or nail polish that wasn’t a nude color. So, when I got to high school and I was finally allowed to experiment into beauty, I explored it as often and as much as I felt like! I started to get really good at it so my friends began asking me to do their makeup for the school prom, choir performances, Christmas concerts, etc. This is where my passion as a freelance Makeup Artist began. Since then, I have been able to turn my passion into my career. I am now studying to pursue my master’s of science in cosmetic chemistry at Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY. I have also been able to launch my personal care enterprise, called Keseana Enterprises, Inc., and earn passive income while I still do freelancing on the side as Milan Scott Artistry.  Read more>>

Casey O’Connor Kelly

My journey in Irish Dance started when I was nine years old thanks to a flyer for lessons in our local Walmart! This was in the ’90s, pre-Riverdance, and I had never seen Irish Dancing before, but quickly fell in love with its movements, music, rhythm, and challenges.  Fast forward through years of competing, performing, and studying abroad in Ireland… in 2012, at the age of 25, I opened The O’Connor School of Irish Dance! It started off just one night a week at a local church with 17 students and grew over the next few years to up to 120 students!  We offer classes to children ages 3 and up, and also offer adult lessons! We’ve moved from teaching in the church hall to our own state-of-the-art studio, located in Parkville, MD. Read more>>

Keith Garner Jr

Greetings, my name is Keith Garner Jr and I am a marketing specialist/ content creator located in the DMV. To begin this journey … we have to track way back to elementary school where my cousin, Professor Christopher A. Varlack, Ph.D. would arrange an impromptu editorial shoot with my sister, Kyler Garner, and myself for a school project he had at Loyola University where we later experimented in the darkroom. This small and creative shoot tickled my mind with how humans are able to portray and get others to perceive certain ideals. From there I received my first camera a Nikon D3300 on my birthday following the first semester of freshman year at college. A psychology major at Florida Southern College, I was able to study the mind and turn moments to memories landing a role as the historian and alumni relations chair on both the internal and external boards for my fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha. I turned an ordinary DSLR camera that many people on campus had into a tool for marketing that would help my fraternity gain exposure and spread my name across campus as a talented photographer. Read more>>

Shanel Crim

I was born and raised in Baltimore City. I have always had a passion for two things in life cooking and doing hair. So, in 2014 after I had my son, I worked multiple jobs from fast food to housekeeping, then about around 2016, I started hair cosmetology school. I didn’t finish but I still did hair on side. A couple years passed, in 2020 that’s when I started to braid hair. I started off my doing my sisters’ and other family members’ hair first before any actual client. After that, I knew I had to come up with a name that would stick. So, I called my brand Armani’s Braids to make it original. I was used to be so hesitant to post my work or tell people like “Oh hey I do braids come check my work out “. But I had to get out that way of thinking, I prayed and ask God “take me out my comfort zone to allow me to be able bring more clientele in and to keep it.” I told myself I would keep practicing until I get better in my craft. & that’s a continuous thing. I’m trying to create generational wealth my kids and to help others in my hair journey. Read more>>

Toni-Rose Bioc

My father opened Manila Mart in 1996. I was born in the year 1993 so the family business has been a large part of my entire life. The store has always been located in Beltsville MD. The original location was strategically chosen as it was less than a mile away from St Joseph’s Catholic School (now known as St Joseph’s Regional Catholic School) which is where my brother Justin and I went to school. My mom was a registered nurse and often worked the night shift, so it was very convenient for us to just walk to the store after school if the store was busy, and dad couldn’t lock up for a moment to pick us up. We definitely didn’t have cell phones to communicate with our parents about what they wanted us to do if they weren’t there during pick-up at the end of the day, so we found ourselves in the principal’s office quite often to use the office phone. We went to school with multiple close family friends and we had a solid carpooling system where each family took turns picking up the kids from school. Read more>>

Shawn Murphy

I grew up in Dundalk, living on 46th street with my mom. I went to what was then EVT High School, now ET and when I graduated, I went to Marine Corps boot camp and spent the next years serving our country. The largest part of my career was as a recruiter. During that time, I did everything from knocking on doors to training large groups of Marines on how to recruit. Once I retired, I joined the railroad and thought my interviewing days were done. I went on a few podcasts helped some friends but never thought I would do my own show. Once COVID started, I was home more and missed the conversation and The Above, The Bar Podcast, was born. I interview a different person each week, discussing what makes them unique, learning about something new, and how it affects each of us. Read more>>

Paris Ghalichi

My mother had a passion for dress-making as a teen that carried all the way through adulthood. She was self-taught. She was the one who taught me the various tailoring skills needed for suit-making along with taking several sewing classes in school. I’ve always had a love for vintage garments, primarily men’s “after 5” cocktail attire & tuxedos from the 1970s. I am drawn to bold patterns, colors, wide lapels, & textures. Before I started designing apparel, I would look on various websites and search through vintage shops to find unique pieces and alter them to fit me perfectly, and I actually prefer a more contemporary slim-fit for my own attire, so it became a melding of both styles. I feel with black tie events, the emphasis on style has always been about the gowns, but it should also be about the tuxedos! Just because a tux is considered a classic doesn’t mean it can’t be updated. I remember the time I went to a Presidential Inaugural Ball and had on one of my vintage crushed velvet tuxedo jackets – I got so many compliments from so many people. Read more>>

Ann Brennan

In 2012 our family began a battle to save our child’s life. He was battling depression and was suicidal. In the process of his recovery, we discovered that our son’s school was known as suicide high. But no one was talking about the problem. One of the things that we noticed was that each of us felt alone. Ethan felt alone in his struggle with depression, my husband and I felt alone in our fight to keep Ethan alive and our other sons felt abandoned as we all went through our journey. As we discussed this we decided that it would be great if people didn’t have to feel alone. As a result, we started Burgers and Bands for Suicide Prevention. The event is a full-day music event featuring local musicians. From the start, it was clear the event was needed. It was like the community had been waiting for it. We now have it twice a year. We do one in May in Severna Park and one in September in Annapolis. Our goal is to bring this event to cities across the country. Read more>>

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