Year-end Reflections

The end of the year is an excellent time to reflect and give thanks for the numerous blessings in your life.
    As 2017 comes to a close, there are many things I am grateful for. One is our talented, dedicated editorial staff.
    Retailers often want to know more about the VOWS writers they speak with throughout the year. Here’s some background on our regular contributors to help you get to know them better. . .

Amanda Baltazar is a 20-year writing veteran who almost exclusively covers retail and food/beverage. Hailing from the UK, Amanda now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and second grader. When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys reading, cooking and anything active, especially trail running and tennis. Even though she writes for VOWS, Amanda got married on a shoestring in New York City after a three-week engagement.

Libby Basile, who used to be editor of Dance Retailer News, currently writes for several independent retail trade publications. Additionally, she works as an event planner and designer, a role that provides deeper insight into the bridal industry through her work with couples and vendors. Libby lives in Cheshire, Conn, with her husband and children, Rose and Anthony. In her free time she enjoys adventures with family, a good book and party dresses with twirly skirts.
Instagram: @editorlibbybasile

Allison Deerr, based in California, has written for VOWS since its inception, covering all topics bridal retail. She has worked as a reporter/editor at newspapers and trade journals; freelance writer/editor; and volunteer PR person for schools and non-profits. Allison is a rabid fan of all sports, especially pro baseball and college football; a voracious reader and movie buff; and a married mother of two grown children, as well as a doting grandmother to her granddaughter, eight months.

Denise Keller has been writing for VOWS since the spring of 2005. She enjoys visiting with bridal salon owners and learning more about the bridal business with every story. Living in the fruit-growing region of Washington State, Denise also acts as managing editor for a handful of agriculture trade magazines, and has also reported for several local newspapers and business publications. Previously, she utilized her degree in broadcast journalism as a television news reporter. Denise and her husband, L.J., are proud parents of two daughters, Natalie and Mallory.

Maura Keller has more than 20 years of experience writing about business, design, marketing and a wealth of other topics for various publications; she has contributed to VOWS the majority of that time. Passionate about literacy, she serves as executive director for Read Indeed, a nonprofit literacy organization based in Minneapolis, where she lives. In her free time, Maura enjoys spending time with her husband and kids, trekking through the woods with her energetic golden retriever, Lilly.

Katie Roberts has a master’s in journalism and mass communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder. After working as a television reporter then managing editor of VOWS, she began freelance writing/editing, and also started a nonprofit business alliance in which she wrote about and advocated for small, independent businesses. Currently Katie and her family live in Hood River, Ore., where she operates her freelance writing and editing business.
Twitter: @HoodRiverWriter

Daniel P. Smith, who has contributed to VOWS since 2010, is an award-winning journalist specializing in covering small businesses, retail and entrepreneurship. Daniel lives in Chicago with his wife, Tina, and children, Fiona and Gavin. When not consumed with work, he likes to hit the roads for a run, hit the hardwood for a good basketball game, or hit the couch for some R&R.

Karon Warren, who has written for VOWS for the last nine years, is a well-published freelance writer who has covered everything from interviewing American Idol finalists and NASCAR drivers to profiling hot travel destinations and the latest wedding trends. Karon is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
Twitter: @KaronWarren

Please join me in giving the VOWS writers a huge thank you. I’m so grateful for their dedication, passion and hard work over the years, and look forward to an amazing 2018!

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