No one has ever accused me of being a fashion plate or girly girl.
So, when I first started working in public relations, I was a little scared of one local media outlet.
No, not the Arizona Republic.
Nope, not the Phoenix Business Journal.
Nah, not one of the TV stations.
It was Arizona Foothills Magazine.
I kid you not. But don’t judge – it was 2004, and the extent of my lifestyle/fashion knowledge at that time was the latest in Notre Dame hoodies and pizza delivery services.
But, like most things, when I actually starting reaching out to the folks at AZ Foothills, I not only found them incredibly open to ideas, but incredibly fun to work with!
One of my favorites, in fact, has agreed to let us profile her on this #MediaMonday. Her name is Melissa Larsen, and she is the editor-in-chief of Arizona Foothills Magazine.
So, Melissa, time to share!
What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
Writing has been my passion since the Easter Bunny left a Teen magazine in my basket when I was in the fifth or sixth grade. I was immediately hooked. I spent my late elementary-school years filling notebooks—many of which I still have—with short stories and terrible poetry.
I didn’t formally pursue writing until I was a sophomore at Northern Arizona University, where I studied print journalism and creative writing, and became an opinion columnist at The Lumberjack, NAU’s student newspaper. During my junior year, I switched gears to write for the arts and entertainment section, doing food reviews, concert recaps and fun front-page lifestyle pieces. Writing in the basement of the communications building late at night and hounding my roommates, classmates and friends for interviews—those were the days.
Upon graduating college, I made my way back down to the Valley and applied for an internship at Arizona Foothills Magazine, a luxury lifestyle publication based in Scottsdale. That was nearly 12 years ago. Today, I am the editor-in-chief—and I still pinch myself that I get to do the work I love every single day.
As the editor, I plan the editorial calendar for the year (we have several signature issues per year and will be launching a cool quarterly Society issue in January), manage fabulous interns, edit incoming content and write a great deal of each issue. As a lifestyle publication, we focus on dining, fashion, travel, nonprofits, design, events, people profiles—all the fab things that simply make the Valley the best. I am also the editor-in-chief of InArizona, an annual visitors’ guide that is published each January and showcases the best stays, dining and activities for guests in town for Waste Management Phoenix Open, Barrett-Jackson and other annual events.
As much as I love my career, being a mom takes the cake. I have two little boys who keep me laughing and keep me challenged. I am a full-fledged soccer mom, know more about sharks and trucks than I ever thought I would and live for throwing superhero-themed birthday parties. I also just celebrated my 10-year anniversary with my husband, Mike, who is probably the most likable human ever. He is a computer engineer who does all the math in my life so I don’t have to. Our free time is spent traveling (the boys are traveling troopers), at zoos, museums and aquariums, and checking out restaurants, breweries and coffee shops.
Thanks for taking the time to learn about me! To see what Arizona Foothills Magazine is up to, check us out at AZFoothills.com, on Twitter (@AZFoothillsMag, @AZFoothillsFood and @LuxuryStays) and on Instagram (@AZFoothills and @BestofOurValley). And say hi at firstname.lastname@example.org.