R•Home Magazine January/February 2017 issue

In the January/February issue of R•Home magazine I wrote about Richmond’s restaurants. But rather than focusing on the food, I wrote about the beautiful design that goes into some of our city’s fabulous eateries. We also included a sidebar on how to get the look at home. Read the story here.

Along with writing a restaurant design feature on Shagbark, Laura Lee’s, and Belle & James, I had the pleasure of interviewing Evan and Kristy Cotter, owners of the gift shop Dear Neighbor, for the magazine’s Favorites column. If you haven’t made it to their new Church Hill boutique, it’s worth a visit. Happy reading! xo, marissa

The Knot’s Spring/Summer 2017 issue

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The spring/summer issue of The Knot’s DC/Maryland/Virginia is on newsstands now! I had so much fun writing the local content for this issue, which includes amazing vendors and venues from across the DMV, sweet and sappy proposal stories, along with some lovely weddings (our’s included!).

Thank you so much to my wonderful editors at The Knot for including our wedding in the mag! Looking back on our wedding photos fills my heart with so much love, and this is a keepsake we will always treasure. xo, marissa

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My Year In Review — 2016

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This past year was my first full tax year of going out on my own. This means I’ll be looking at the work I’ve done over the past year and assessing what stories I enjoyed writing, what publications I value, and what other projects (marketing, social media management, public relations, etc.) enriched my work life. Here’s a little look at my year in review …

Journalism

Locally, I wrote stories for Central Virginia Home, Charlottesville Home, R•Home, Richmond Magazine, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Roanoke Valley Home, Style Weekly, and Virginia Living. I’ve been blogging weekly for The Knot’s site and writing stories for their biannual DC/MD/VA print issue. I just started blogging frequently for the Swedish-American publication Umgås Magazine, and have been enjoying that gig as it combines journalism with my passion for Scandinavian culture. My lifestyle stories also were featured on Racked and The Scout Guide’s blog.

Copy Editing

I’ve continued in my role as copy editor for The Scout Guide, editing their 60-some city publications before they head to the printer. Through Vitamin T, I was connected with Richmond-based Barber Martin Agency, where I helped copy edit print and broadcast advertising copy as a temp worker. Copy editing allows me to embrace my inner OCD nature. My first copy editing gig was at Media General’s Consolidated Editing Center in Lynchburg, Va., and I’m very happy to continue line editing in a freelance capacity.

Marketing / Content Writing

I’m excited to venture further into the marketing and copy writing world. Any agency’s looking for help? I’m here! This year I worked with Wells Fargo, WineCountry.com, NapaValley.com, Sonoma.com, and Shutterfly’s Wedding Paper Divas.

Public Relations

I work 10 to 20 hours a week with the University of Richmond’s Modlin Center for the Arts, where I write music center’s press releases and put together program copy. I’ve also been doing some side public relations for Richmond’s new CURRENT Art Fair and Reynolds Gallery.

Social Media Management

While managing the public relations for CURRENT Art Fair, I also ran their Instagram feed, and realized that social media management is a side gig I very much enjoy. As someone who lives on social media, I see what a powerful tool it is for story-telling and marketing.

In 2017, I’d like to:

  1. Have a more organized editorial calendar
  2. Write for new lifestyle publications
  3. Venture more into the copy writing world
  4. Write more about art, culture, design, food, and travel

A special thank you to everyone who has made 2016 a fruitful and exciting year!

xo, marissa

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