We Brought Our Mussels & Our Mermaids

It's crazy to think how, in just a few short years, our lives can change so much.  In early 2015, we had never heard of dragon boats and didn't know much about the families in our community who were struggling or how End Hunger in Calvert County was helping.  We had no idea that a fundraiser in North Beach would become so important to us and help us heal as a team, year after year.

Looking back at our first End Hunger Dragon Boat Festival, we seriously did not know what we were getting into.  When our captain, Kayla, pitched the idea, the initial response was "Wait... a boat costs WHAT??"  In her calm but assertive voice, Kayla explained the paddler fee breakdown and the unique opportunity to help thousands of people... suddenly that registration fee wasn't so intimidating.

We immediately got to work doing what we do best—picking fantastic nautical names for things we love—and Mussels & Mermaids was born!  The more details we got about this new festival, the more excited we got.  Decorating a tent, dressing someone up like a mermaid, and convincing the guys on the team to wear tiny sailor hats were all in our wheelhouse.  The energy around this event was electric and we couldn’t wait to be a part of it.

 2015 Mussels & Mermaids Team Photo

2015 Mussels & Mermaids Team Photo

The day came and went.  We finished 11th overall but were already planning for next year’s races.  We focused on strategies to up our game across the board: keeping our paddlers in sync, using a nautical backdrop for the tent, painting “scales” on ourselves with stage makeup and fishnet stockings, creating a bodice out of shells… you know, normal athletic stuff.

Just when we were starting to plan for our team’s second year, we lost Kayla and her husband in a tragic accident.  This amazing person who was so passionate about rallying our small team to help our larger community was gone.  We paddled that year in our captain’s honor.  We finished 6th overall but Mussels & Mermaids was presented with the Hill Climber Award, recognizing the year’s challenges.

 2016 Mussels & Mermaids Team Photo

2016 Mussels & Mermaids Team Photo

2017 was better.  We were healing as a family and coming together as a team.  2017 was our year.  We finished 1st overall and finally took home that trophy!

 2017 Mussels & Mermaids Team Photo

2017 Mussels & Mermaids Team Photo

They say all good things must come to an end, however.  As much as we loved reigning as Dragon Boat champs, we know how hard it was to get here.  Any team who can rally their friends, raise the money, commit to practice, and spend all day paddling to beat out 32 other boats deserves that trophy.  We are honored to be a part of this unbelievable community that strives to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.  Kayla is why we started this and she’s a huge part of why we continue.  Setting an example of service is something we can all do… you never know who you’ll inspire.

#togetherornotatall

 2018 Mussels & Mermaids Team Photo

2018 Mussels & Mermaids Team Photo

The Finest Arts Festival in Southern Maryland

Hello again!  Long time no post, right?  We've had a crazy fun Summer here at the store... In just the past few months, our staff has traveled everywhere from New York to the Outer Banks to Cancun.  Heather's branded line (Penny James Jewelry Co.) has found homes in several new stores.  Plus, two of our employees got married and someone is expecting.  Needless to say, we've been a little busy!

And just when the dust begins to settle, it's time for ArtsFest! Heather has been participating in this juried art show since 2001 and debuts new handmade jewelry each year.  The pieces we've brought to sell at this fine arts festival have evolved over the years.  From fork bracelets to agate pendants to brightly colored freshwater pearl earrings, youre always sure to get a peek into Heathers creative mind if you seek us out at this weekend-long show.  Also, for the second year, our apprentice jeweler Mady has been crafting unique handmade jewelry to be featured at ArtsFest.

Heather makes mostly sterling silver jewelry for this event, although she typically does bring a few of her two-tone pieces from the store. Featuring designs inspired by life on the Chesapeake, the Penny James line (formerly known as the Maertens Exclusives Collection) has been an ArtsFest staple for us for years.  This year, Heather will be debuting not just new one-of-a-kind silver pieces but also the latest Penny James jewelry!

ArtsFest '15 will be held this Saturday, September 19th and Sunday, September 20th from 10am until 5pm.  Its a rain or shine event so were super excited to be inside the Murray Arts Building for the first time ever!  Find Heather and Mady at Booth #4 and stay tuned for some behind the scenes pics on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

A Day Gone to the Dogs

As you may know, everyone who works at Maertens is a dog lover.  We rescue dogs, bring our dogs to work, hold supply drives at the store… you get the idea.  One of our favorite events of the year has always been our Breakfast at Sniffany’s Brunch and Benefit Auction.  How can a day filled with pups and mimosas not come in a close second to Christmas??  Sniffany’s used to be an annual event that we held at our boutique on Solomons Island, but after moving the store up to Lusby, we weren’t really able to make it the big island brunch it had always been.  Long story short, after a five year hiatus, we brought Sniffany back in a big way.

 Heather, Anjelica & Kim took a quick break for photos in front of our new Breakfast at Sniffany's banner, courtesy of  InkPug  and  Main Street Copy .

Heather, Anjelica & Kim took a quick break for photos in front of our new Breakfast at Sniffany's banner, courtesy of InkPug and Main Street Copy.

On Sunday, May 17th, dogs from across Southern Maryland convened at the Holiday Inn Select Solomons to raise funds for a good cause.  The 4th Annual Breakfast at Sniffany’s Brunch and Benefit Auction welcomed two- and four-legged guests with a breakfast buffet provided by Isaac’s Restaurant, dog treat buffet, and silent auction.  Breakfast at Sniffany’s was able to raise enough to give checks for $1,500 each to the Humane Society of Calvert County, Calvert Animal Welfare League, Patuxent Animal Welfare Society, and Sugar Faces Senior Dog Rescue.  These organizations were all represented at the event with dogs available for adoption. One of the most memorable parts of the day was when contestants came forward to be judged in the largest dog, smallest dog, best trick and best dressed competitions... we had everything from a 4 lb Chihuahua to a 170 lb Newfoundland represented!

After taking these few years off from Breakfast at Sniffany’s, it was so wonderful to see the community rally behind us to support these local rescue groups.  Most people we spoke to were so excited to hear that we were hosting it again and we cannot wait for our next event!  If you can't get enough super cute fluff, check out Sniffany's Facebook and Instagram pages for more event pics!

 Kim's Chihuahua, Mia, was our tiniest dog of the day, weighing just 4lbs!

Kim's Chihuahua, Mia, was our tiniest dog of the day, weighing just 4lbs!