Need Supply Co. feature story for Racked

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Photo by Justin Chesney

Recently I wrote a feature story for Racked on the evolution of Need Supply Co. from a small vintage denim story here in Richmond, Va., to a brand with global fashion influence. A little excerpt from the story …

Richmond, Virginia’s fashion and retail scene is on the up and up. Shops and contemporary art galleries have revitalized the downtown area; the city’s popular Carytown district now has hundreds of locally owned businesses to shop; and indie boutiques are popping up from Church Hill to the historic Fan District.

Two decades ago, it was a different story. Richmond was home to a just a handful of locally-owned fashion boutiques. One of the best of them then, as it is now, was Need Supply Co., a brand that’s grown from small local gem into an international player in the fashion industry, paving the way for many of the cool indie stores and brands that make the Richmond shopping scene so vibrant today — while staying true to its RVA roots.

Looking at the brand’s global influence (two retail stores in Japan, a thriving e-commerce business, a quarterly magazine, and a newly-launched line of men’s and women’s basics) it’s hard to imagine that Need Supply Co. had humble beginnings. Founder and CEO Chris Bossola opened the shop in 1996 under the name Blues, as a pocket-sized boutique selling vintage Levi’s. At the time, vintage Levi’s were a rarity, and Bossola had a trove to sell in a small market that didn’t have access to such cool finds.

And to read the full story, head on over to Racked. xo, marissa

When To Say ‘No’ To Freelance Gigs

For your sanity, a few affirmative quotes about saying “no.”

Preface: This blog post is my reaction to MediaBistro’s story about saying no to bad freelance gigs. Recently I started being more selective about my freelance work, and by doing so felt liberated by my new “picky” perspective.

If you know me, you know I’m game for anything. This “team player” attitude is praised in the workplace, but being in the freelance world I have found that it is a double-edged sword. While being a a “yes” woman has been beneficial — bringing in new work, connecting me to publications, and of course, paying the bills — I have found that “yes” isn’t always the answer.

Since graduating from college in 2009, I have freelanced in some capacity, but it wasn’t until June 2015 that it become my major source of income as I left the full-time workforce. This transition has caused me to say “yes” to (mostly) everything in hopes of creating a broader network and guarantee that I can live a decent lifestyle. Lately though, because of a stressful workload, I have realized that sometimes “no” is the answer.

I was saying “yes” to projects that I didn’t want to work on, and in turn I felt an overwhelming sense of anxiety and dread. I couldn’t sleep, and I felt overworked. After putting myself through this pain over and over again, I realized I was being crazy. Ultimately, the reason why I left the full-time workforce was to pursue my passion and to put myself in full control of my career path. [RIGHT?!] And, here I was burdening myself with projects. I was saying “yes” to writing stories that weren’t in line with my expertise or passion.

I hit a wall and realized I no longer should feel guilty about turning down work. I needed to set boundaries for myself. For my happiness. For my sanity. For my love of journalism.

I’m still working on it. Every “no” feels like a tiny victory, as I free myself from something that could weigh me down and push me down the wrong path. I remind myself where I’m going and what my destiny is, and in the end this helps me realize if a gig is worth it. That may sound ridiculously (and unnecessarily) existential, but I became a freelancer to guarantee that everything I did, every project I worked on, every story I wrote had some meaning either to the reader, and if not, at least for myself.

Things I’ve vowed to say no to:
  1. Poor pay
  2. Topics I can’t speak to / am not passionate about
  3. Editors / publications that are hard to work with
  4. Organizations I don’t connect with (for marketing / PR / communications gigs)
  5. New projects when I’m all booked up

I’d love to hear from fellow freelancers (others included!) how you go about accepting and denying work, and why. xo, marissa

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER ISSUE OF R•HOME MAGAZINE

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I’m trying to be better about posting my clips on the blog. Lately I’ve been working on five (give or take) stories a week (on top of other communications and editorial projects), which makes it hard to keep the site fresh. So here is a feeble attempt:

I wrote two fun stories for the November/December issue of R•Home — one on Verve Home Furnishings‘ Kim Vincze and her wild cache of decor, and another on my neighborhood, the Near West End. (Note the photo below, taken by the talented Jay Paul of my BFF Harvey and I walking down Westmoreland Avenue.)

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Issues are on newsstands now. I will post stories online later, so you’ll have to support the press with your $$$ for now. Happy reading! xo, marissa

Embracing my Scandinavian Heritage (+ Journalism)

A few of my favorite things from a recent trip to Stockholm.

When graduating from college, I didn’t forsee that one day I would be able to use both my areas of study (journalism and Nordic studies) simultaneously. Oddly enough, it never occurred to me to write about my heritage (I’m Swedish, Norwegian + Danish) and my love for all things Scandinavian (meatballs, included). But then that all changed about six months ago when I started writing for Umgås Magazine, an online publication created by Swedish Match. The website was created as a meeting place (which is what umgås loosely translates to) for Swedish Americans or Americans who have a deep appreciation for Scandinavian culture.

For the site, I’ve written a variety of lifestyle pieces ranging from a brief history of Swedish Colonialism in American to a profiles on organizations such as the American Swedish Museum in Philadelphia.

Recently I wrote a profile on my alma mater University of Colorado at Boulder’s Nordic Studies program, which was fun to write, as it was a trip down memory lane.  While at CU-Boulder, I received a concentration in Nordic Studies.  I read Icelandic Sagas, J.R. Tolkein’s books (yes, there is a class for that), and Norse mythology. I also learned conversational Swedish (hejsan!) and all about the social welfare state.

For those of you who know me, I can’t help but write about food. So naturally, a portion of my Umgås writing has been food-related. Here are a few of my fave posts:

The Incredible Rise of Magnus Nilsson
A Taste of Fäviken
The Five: Nordic Cookbooks 
Swedish Breakfast Spreads
Fika from the Ones Who Write the Book on It

And, as a fan of the clean, contemporary Scandinavian aesthetic, I also have written a few design pieces, as well:

14 Must-Haves from the Fall IKEA Catalog
6 Scandinavian Design Shops that will Transform Your Home

If you are a Scandinavian American like myself, or have an interest in Swedish culture, feel free to reach out and let me know of any stateside happenings that might be of interest for Umgås.

med vänliga hälsningar, marissa

R•Home Cover Story on Artist Lee Baskerville

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In the September/October issue of R•Home Magazine, I wrote the cover story on artist Lee Baskerville, and his historic New England Saltbox in Midlothian. Here’s a little excerpt from the story:

Artist Lee Baskerville approaches interior design much like he composes a painting – with deliberation and openness. “There are rules that you can follow,” he says, “but there also is an emotional response to shapes and forms.”

Baskerville’s style can’t be confined by era or place. And, in his life, Baskerville himself isn’t bound by definition either. While he is best known as a portrait painter, you can find his landscape paintings on display at The Country Club of Virginia, The Commonwealth Club and Chesapeake Capital Corporation. His historic murals line the walls at The Omni Homestead in Hot Springs and his equestrian scenes at Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. He also is an art historian, a furniture maker, a hunter and a safari guide in Africa.

To read the full story, you’ll have to get in your car and drive to Barnes & Noble at Libbie Place and buy a copy. Support print media. Print is not dead! xo, marissa

P.S. Now that the issue is off newsstands, the story is posted here.

The Knot – Fall/Winter 2016 issue

Up until a few days before our wedding I was writing local content for the The Knot’s fall/winter Mid-Atlantic issue. So, as you can imagine, I’m very excited to see this baby in print. Inside you’ll find inspiring D.C., Maryland, and Virginia real weddings, along with the latest and greatest vendors and venues. Go out and grab a copy off newsstands now. In the meantime, you can read up on some real wedding blog posts I’ve been writing for The Knot’s site. xo, Marissa

An Urban, Bohemian Wedding at a Private Event Space in Nashville, Tennessee
A Romantic Vineyard Wedding at Old House Vineyards in Culpeper, Virginia
A Classic Southern Wedding at The Plantation on Sunnybrook in Roanoke, Virginia
A Laid-Back Seaside Wedding at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club in Stevensville, Maryland
An Elegant Winery Wedding at CrossKeys Vineyards in Mount Crawford, Virginia
A Classic Nautical-Inspired Wedding at the Annapolis Maritime Museum in Annapolis, Maryland

Recent stories + projects

Virginia Living March:April 2016 Cover

I’m a little way behind on updating my blog and posting about my stories. I’ve been busy with work, getting married, and traveling. And now, I’m finally finding the time to sit down and update my portfolio. [dramatic sigh]

I spent a good chunk of January writing and researching a large feature story for Virginia Living on the women who own/run the James River plantations. Several trips to Charles City, tours of their homes, and me pestering them while on vacation, etc., ended up as “The Tie That Binds” in Virginia Living’s March/April issue. It’s a comprehensive look at these gorgeous, historic properties, and all the hard work the families who own them put into restoring them. I found myself admiring these women — their dedication to history and their selflessness. Instead of keeping these plantations under lock and key, they are opening them up so all can learn from the past.

RHome Magazine March:April 2016 cover

Simultaneously, I was working on a story for R•Home Magazine on artist Nancy Mauck’s home in the Westham Ridge neighborhood. The story “Creative Expression” explores how she uses her aesthetic eye in the home. Here’s a little snippet that sums up the piece: “Much like her expressive paintings, artist Nancy Mauck’s home is dynamic. Thoughtfully blending styles and layering unexpected colors and materials, she has created a home that is a sophisticated work of art.”

Discover Richmond Spring 2016 cover

I had a blast writing about Virginia wine for the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s quarterly mag, Discover Richmond. I paired six excellent wineries across the state with unique area offerings. Think historic homes and outdoor adventures. Read the story here, and then grab all your friends and plan a fun weekend outing in Virginia’s wine country.

Personally and professionally my mind has been lost in the wedding world. As I entered the final stretch of wedding planning for my own wedding, I started a new gig as a correspondent for The Knot, writing love stories for print and online. I’ve been writing a series of blog posts on real weddings for their website, and am currently writing stories for the fall/winter publication. Writing about love has allowed me to embrace my sentimental side. I’m a total sap and romantic at heart.

Here are a few other online pieces I’ve worked on recently:

For The Knot’s website:

A Romantic Winery Wedding at King Family Vineyards in Crozet, Virginia
A Fairy Tale-Inspired Wedding at a Private Residence in Waterford, Virginia
An Elegant Wedding at Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, D.C.
A Rustic Vineyard Wedding at Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia
An Elegant Pink Wedding at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

For Wedding Paper Divas’ website:

6 Unique Marriage Proposal Ideas
15 Ideas For Your Bohemian Wedding
Elopement Ideas For the Modern Couple

For Wine Country’s websites:

Shenandoah Valley Wineries: A Tasting Itinerary
Visiting The Shenandoah Valley: A Traveler’s Guide
A Perfect 2 Days Exploring Wineries near American Canyon
How To Have A Romantic Getaway in Sonoma County
A Zinfandel Lover’s Guide to Lodi

I have some fun travel story ideas brewing, so stay tuned! xo, marissa