202 Magazine is a full-color glossy community lifestyle publication providing inspiration for East Valley residents in the cities of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe, including the communities of Ahwatukee, Ocotillo and Queen Creek.
So, Marlene, time to share!
What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
I cannot talk about myself to save my life.
When this email first came in with just one question, I had no idea where to begin!
So now that my awkwardness is explained, I’ll just start with the present. These days, I feel like I’m dabbling in a bit of everything. At the moment, I’m scheduling posts for some of my ghost blogging and social media clients while getting ready to take off to Europe for a nice two week vacay with the family. That is definitely one of the biggest perks of managing your own business and your own schedule; with technology, no one has to know that tweet came from the other side of the globe!
I am obsessed with technology and social media; I’m also one of those “rare” people that told mom when I was 7 I was going to be a writer. (This was truly so embarrassing when everyone else wanted to be either a teacher or firefighter.) I think my first lie ever was saying I wanted to be a teacher too at some point since that’s what all the cool kids were saying--hah!
So I got into magazines straight out of ASU. So many people ask me how, if I knew someone or what I did. I didn’t really have a magic recipe; I wrote for magazines while in college, found a job, applied and the rest is history!
Of course nowadays, you truly have to be a jack of all trades. You need to have a blog, a social media following, know someone who works there--the list is exhausting just thinking about it! I guess that’s how it became really apparent that survival as a freelance journalist is more than just writing, it’s really about building your own brand. I’m mostly known for my fashion/beauty/bridal/lifestyle niche, so I built my business around that. It’s also what led me to create my blog, StyleSizzle. It’s a fun outlet to not only be able to share some personal passions, but also some of the tidbits from my life as a magazine writer that doesn’t always make it to print. I meet so many fascinating people and get to go to some amazing places and really needed another place to share those stories.
It was also born out of the true lack of spotlight on Arizona fashion. So many magazines and fashion blogs are completely irrelevant with our unique weather. I need to know what to do with my hair during monsoon season, or how to look stylish without sweating my face off because it’s 115 out. So that’s how StyleSizzle was born, and it still absolutely makes my day any time I get an email from a reader talking about how she finally found something she can relate to.
Most people say they don’t know any Arizona natives but I proudly consider myself one of them. I’ve been in the Valley since I was 5 and remember when the piles of dirt my friends and I would ride our bikes over turned into sprawling subdivisions, shopping malls and buildings galore. It’s part of what makes my most recent project addition, taking over the editorial for 202 Magazine, such a fun fit. It goes right back to my roots and it’s so much fun to be able to showcase all of the exciting things happening where I grew up.
Of course, I’m not all work, I’m also a newlywed absolutely enjoying life to the fullest. Sometimes, that means champagne on Tuesday for no reason or just spending time with my family and our pets.
I am always open to story ideas for StyleSizzle, 202 Magazine or some of the outlets I freelance for. Feel free to email me at email@example.com and connect with me on Twitter @marlenemontanez and Instagram @marlenemontanez. You should also head on over to my new website, Glitz & Grammar!