Travel on A Budget


For all you “globetrotters” that love to travel even when summer’s over,  will find “Travel Happy Budget Low” by Susanna Zaraysky a fantastic and resourceful read. Author, Susanna Zaraysky has created a literary lane for herself by documenting her travels and adventures that take readers on fascinating expeditions near and far. Here’s what she told FBE about herself and other piece of work “Language is Music”:

FBE: How successful has your book been?
SZ: The books, Language is Music, and Travel Happy, Budget Low, will be published at the beginning of June 2009. From February to April 2009, I ran a contest where people could read my books for free online. I had over 114 people sign up to read the books for free.

FBE: Was writing always your passion?
SZ: I think writing was always something I liked. A few years ago, I was going through my boxes of childhood toys and items and found a children’s book I wrote in the 5th or 6th grade.

FBE: When did you see writing as a career?
SZ: The career chose me! I often wrote travelogues about my international adventures and would write short prose or poems and send it to my friends. I even wrote out poems as invitations to events I was planning. For years, my friends would reproach me for not publishing my work or writing a book. In 2005, I became allergic to myself and to my job in wine marketing and knew I needed to follow my passion. Yes! One can literally become allergic to one’s job. I developed allergies to wheat, citric acid (no tomatoes), dairy, chocolate, corn, and grapes. I was in the Italian wine and food business and could not eat most Italian food or drink the wine.

I was at an Italian wine tasting event for work and the speaker was talking about how Italian wine was losing its sense of terroir, its roots. I thought about what my roots were and decided to write a memoir about my life in different languages and cultures. I wrote that book, One Eyed Princess in Babel, but couldn’t find an agent or publisher to take it on. So, I decided to write two smaller books. Language is Music is about how to learn foreign languages using music and other media. Travel Happy, Budget Low is about how to travel the world on a budget. People always asked me how I was able to speak seven languages so well and travel to over 50 countries on a budget. I figured that I’d first make my presence with those books and then get the memoir on the market.

FBE: How did you come up with the concept and title of your book?
SZ: I came up with the idea and name for Language is Music after listening to the audiobook version of Dr. Oliver Sachs’ book, Musicophilia.
For Travel Happy, Budget Low, I was searching for a name for a while. I wanted to call it Budget Globetrotter, but that website was already taken. My mom said the book title needed the word “happy” in it. So, I came up with this name. It sounds like a title for a Chinese movie!

FBE: Are you self published or do your work with a publishing house?
SZ:I will self publish under my business name, Kaleidomundi.

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Behind the Strings: DBRMusic

Photo by Juliante Cervantes
“Believe in yourself, someone else, and the promise of tomorrow’s potential.” -Daniel Bernard Roumain


Born in Skokie, Illinois, this composer and founder of, became a member of his elementary school’s orchestra program, playing the violin at just 5 years old. “It was just something I wanted to do…I was fortunate enough to have a family that was very supportive, specifically of playing the violin. My mother and father came to every concert I did as a young child,” expressed Daniel. His career later took off as a an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music where he studied music. As well as, completing his masters and doctoral work at the University of Michigan under the guidance of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom. FBE spoke with Daniel Bernard Roumain about his successful career, making history in music, and

FBE: In what genre would you classify your music? Or would you say you’ve musically created a lane for others to emulate?
A friend of mine who once worked at Sony Records called my music New Classical Soul. I’m not sure if I agree, but I appreciated the sentiment. Somethings and some musics are so complex that as soon as you try to define them, they change. I want to keep changing. The world may not ever need another composer, but it will always need change.

 FBE: How does your Haitian roots impact you as an individual and your music?
I’m not sure that the intersection of melody and rhythm, an important and ever-evolving aspect of music, has its roots in Haiti and my parent’s record collection.

FBE: Explain to me some of the things that encourage you to follow your career goals
I recently got married and my wife and I are expecting our first child. It’s a blessing to be able to work for your family in the confident hopes of feeding, clothing, and making them proud.

FBE: I’ve heard that you did some work with LadyGaga. Who else have you collaborated with?
I’ve collaborated with several orchestras, ensembles, and symphonies. As for well-known artists, I’ve worked with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Philip Glass, Savion Glover, Bill T. Jones as Music Director of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, 2 Live Crew, Cassandra Wilson, Vernon Reid, and DJ Spooky.

FBE: Now I’m sure you’ve been featured on a national level in the media, can you name a few of the forums and/or publications?
I’ve been featured in several…ranging from Esquire Magazine, ESSENCE, and XXL Magazines to the Financial Times. Regarding TV, I was featured as “America’s Assignment” on CBS Evening News, to highlight one. This past June 24th, PBS aired a story about my work with the Young Composers Development Program.

FBE: Who/What influenced the launch of
My business partner and marketing genius, Rika lino, of Sozo Media. She’s responsible for the genesis of my website as well as a hefty part of my career.

FBE: What would you say has been DBR’s biggest accomplishment?
I am convinced that the most important work of any living composer may be the contributions of time, service, and education towards the development of new audiences. Indeed, the converses, freely, with his or her own community.

FBE: What future events do you have coming up that you want viewers to know about?
I was recently awarded a commission for a full orchestral work by the Sphinx Commissioning Consortium. So in 2010, you’ll hear my premiere being performed by several American orchestras (Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, New Jersey, New World, Philadelphia Richmond, Rochester, and Virgina).

*38 year old Daniel is currently residing in Lexington, MA and encourages viewers to checkout

DBR can be contacted via his website and/or  myspace ( where you can join his mailing list!

August-Black with Taylor Spellman


Thanks to the determination and artistic eye of one young and chic interior designer, what we think of as the typical “Bachelor Pad” will soon become obsolete (well, in New York City it will be). FBE got the opportunity to talk to Founder and CEO of August Black, Taylor Spellman. She’s putting an inventive and affordable spin on making any ole’ pad into a home. P.S. She’s only 25!

FBE: Tell the FBE world who you are?
TL: Taylor Spellman

FBE: And where are you from exactly?
TL: I am from Wethersfield, Connecticut and my company August Black, is based in New York City.

FBE: Tell me a little bit about your company and how you derived at the name (very unique)?
TL: The concept behind August Black is that in New York City men don’t get married until later in life so for years, they’re left on their own to decorate. These guys went to great schools, hold high-powered jobs and make a lot of money…yet their apartment is never at the level it could be. These men are not going to hire a full interior design service as its much more than the guy actually needs or wants. However, they will come to August Black, the male friendly solution to an apartment in need of a discerning eye.

To come up with the name I worked with a branding firm called Great-Monday. ‘August’ actually means “inspiring awe or admiration” and “occupying a high position or rank”. A lot of my clients currently hold a high position and rank and if not yet, they’re certainly on their way.

FBE: What’s your background in interior design?
TL: I actually do not have any formal training in interior design. I came to New York as a dancer to attend The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and later graduated from Fordham University at Lincoln Center with a Degree in Business.

FBE: What drove you to launch “August Black“? and What were you doing before that?
TL: Prior to launching August Black I had helped countless friends spruce up their places. I was designing so many homes for free that I finally had that light-bulb moment of wait…I could be making money doing this. It was then that I launched “August Black“.

FBE: Do you have a team or are you working independently?
TL: I have a team of over 20 people that work for me as independent contractors. Painters, builders, electricians etc. Outside of that, I have two interns and I recently signed on a full time partner.
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With long braids cascading down his back, it is no mistake that this multi-talented artist is the next hottest thing! He not only can serenade you with his melodious vocals, but he also writes his own material and can dazzle your eyes with his attractive and edgy style. Jersey bred singer, songwriter and model, Sean Ray is already wowing the music industry with hot tracks like “Hole in my Heart” and “Departure.” With inspirations that extend from Micheal Jackson to Jodeci, his talents have taken him as far as opening for Hip Hop artists such as Rick Ross and Lupe Fiasco. Currently on the rise to a more than successful career in the entertainment industry, Sean Ray is someone that the world should definitely be on the look out for. Stay tuned for an exclusive FBE one on one interview with this pop star heavy-hitter.

And in the mean time, don’t hesitate to check out to learn more about Sean Ray and give a listen to his two featured singles. As always…Enjoy!

P.S. Make sure you follow him on Twitter!



Meet William Scott. He’s the 25 year old owner and CEO of Scott Creative,a creative services/design studio. William spoke with me about his life as an entrepreneur, his company and why “Print is not dead!”

FBE: And where are you from?
WS: I’m currently living and working in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s a wonderful city to live in with a booming art and music scene, great food and a Midwestern outlook on life that anyone can appreciate. It would be nearly perfect if we could just skip over those winter months.

FBE: What’s the concept behind your company?
WS: I founded it with the belief that all businesses, regardless of size, can benefit from the power and influence that visual communications bring to the table. While you can see firsthand the effect good design and branding plays in larger businesses and organizations, using effective visual communications isn’t always a priority for the small business owner.
This happens for a lot of reasons, but I believe that the two main factors for this are ignorance on the business owner’s behalf, as well as the assumed cost for these services. Scott Creative aims to educate small business owners about the influence effective design plays in their marketing and branding strategies as well as offer a cost-effective alternative to larger advertising agencies and firms.

FBE: When was Scott Creative launched?
WS: I started thinking about trying my hand at freelancing a little over a year ago, but at that point was afraid to take the necessary steps. I don’t think freelancing is something you can just ‘dabble’ in: it has to be all or nothing – it’s the only way to gauge your success. I had a comfortable nine to fiver and things were going well. Then, last September, the small publishing company I was working for had to make cutbacks, and there went my job. About two weeks after, I started my own business and I haven’t looked back since.

FBE: Like many creative people, inspiration can be pulled from anywhere, where do you pull your inspiration from?
WS:I found inspiration in a lot of areas. There are a wealth of incredibly successful designers and artists worldwide who had the courage to work for themselves, set their own rules and see how things work out. Look at Shepard Fairey, for example; the success and attention he’s received in the past few months. He started from close to nothing and today he’s one of the most influential, successful designers of our time. There’s also Modern Dog Design Co., with similar beginnings and dozens more worth mentioning. It’s success stories like these that inspired to take what’s essentially a leap of faith. Either you have the right attitude and skills to run a creative business, or you don’t, but there’s really only one way to find out.

FBE: Why the name Scott Creative?
WS: I realize it’s not the most intriguing name, but I wanted something simple, something with a ‘less is more’ attitude, something that would draw attention to who I was and what I do. ‘Design’ can be many things, but ‘Creative’ says something a little different. I think it defines me as a person as well as the services my business provides.

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Avant Garde PR


When you hear the word avant-garde most times you automatically think “fashion”, so it is only right for this PR firm that specializes in fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands to be named just that. I had a talk with the 24 year old owner of Avant Garde Public Relations, Annette Richmond and here’s what she had to say:

FBE: So I hear you’re from the Bay Area, where is your company based?
AR: My company is based in Marin County Ca.

FBE: What’s the concept behind AGPR?
AR:   Avant Garde Public Relations specializes in working with emerging designers and brands. AGPR also works with established brands looking to reposition themselves in the market place.
Working with emerging designers requires creativity. Some of my clients have small budgets but amazing products. We are constantly looking for innovative and cost effective ways to create buzz, launch products and promote events.

AGPR prides itself on being a boutique pr agency. We have close relationships with all of our clients, touching base at least once a week. AGPR is very selective about the designers and brands we represent and TRULY love the products and services we promote.

FBE: Do you have any training in media relations or fashion?
AR:   No, I do not have formal training in media or journalism. I attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising L.A. and graduated with an AA in Product Development.

FBE: What made you decide to launch your firm?
AR:   People have always told me that I would be great in PR. From retail to trend forecasting, I’ve had a lot of jobs in the fashion industry. When I decided to move back to the Bay Area from Los Angeles, I found a job with a new fashion pr firm. It was a startup and I was the first employee. I soon found I had a knack for it, I was pulling in new clients, full of ideas and persistent-which is MOST important in PR. Very unexpectedly the owner of the firm and her family decided to move and that was all the motivation I needed. I wasn’t ready to stop, I’d fallen in love. For me AGPR is the perfect mix of everything I love; fashion, beauty, magazines, styling, event planning, fashion shows and so much more.

FBE: You must have a great team behind you. Who are they and what are their roles?
AR:   I’m VERY blessed to have some solid people in my corner. For the most part it is a one woman show, but I lean on a few people for feedback and small projects. Eddy Smith is my graphic designer and one of my closest friends. From websites to postcards and promotional materials Eddy is always my go-to guy. Amy Malmgren who has a degree in Public Relations helps with press releases, strategic planning and events. Elizabeth Hall started as an intern and is currently enrolled at FIDM SF. From fundraisers to fashion shows Liz is almost always available and eager to learn.

FBE: What inspires the type of pr work that you do?
AR:   I love fashion! I love every single one of my clients and their products, that’s very important in PR, to have a personal connection. People know when they are being “sold to”.  My company keeps me busy with so many different types of things from contacting the press, photo shoots, fashion shows, trunk shows, writing- I love it all! I think I would get bored any other way.

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When in Doubt, Chase the Pavements

Love this singer but for some reason I love this song more than her (sorry Adele). Nothing new but the words run so deep I couldn’t resist… It’s like in life when you’re given the option of taking risks even when you’re not sure what the outcome will be or just giving up…I say, be a rebel!!! and “chase the pavements” Who cares what anyone has to say…Enjoy!