Growing up listening to sports talk radio and watching public television with ink-stained finger tips from newspaper print, Alanna Stage was ruined to any other profession than journalism early on. From a sneaking in with the Boy Scouts of America to job shadow at a local TV news station to an internship at a community newspaper in high school to landing her first writing job at the age of 20, Stage always has strived to get the story. Before joining Consumer Media Network, Stage wrote at the Rochester, NY, Democrat and Chronicle after graduating from St. John Fisher College.
- Animal Therapy Helps Veteran Students During High-Stress Semester Moments
- Jogging Can Add Years to Your Life
- Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Healthcare Act
Andy Dimond was born in Boston, raised in Nashville, and moved to Houston to attend Rice University. He graduated in 2005 with a BA in Religious Studies and English, and served as the first editor of the school's literary journal, R2: The Rice Review. After scripting mobile games for a now-defunct Boston startup, he retreated to Nashville, then finished retracing the great circle of life by moving back to Houston to write for travel magazines. In 2009, Dimond was accepted to the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston. A full-time CMN staff writer as of May 2012, he's also tinkering with a novel manuscript to complete his MFA in fiction by 2014.
- Almost Barefoot: Minimalist Running Shoes Hit Their Stride
- Revenge of the Neighborhood Bookstore
- Contraception for Males: Beyond the Condom
Anna Schumann, a proud Houston native, has always loved to write. She earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science from Texas Tech University in 2008, and worked as a newspaper reporter for nearly three years before earning her teaching certification then joining the CMN staff in 2011. Her heart lies in education public policy, particularly as it relates to equality and affordability, but her interests run the gamut, from lacrosse to the Beatles to photography.
- Ooh-La-La: Book Your Boudoir Photography Session for Valentine’s Day
- The Perpetual New Year’s Dilemma: Home Gym vs. Club Membership
- Wedding Insurance: Protecting Your Special Day
Bethany Poller had the ugliest pre-school career day outfit in her school: a Strawberry Shortcake smock filled with notepads, pens, and pencils. How else can you dress up as a writer? She doesn't dress like that today, but she did end up becoming a writer. Poller has a bachelor's degree in journalism and master's in international journalism, both from Baylor University. Before joining CMN in 2011, she had done writing, editing, and design for magazines and newspapers, where her greatest satisfaction came from working stupid puns into headlines and her crowning achievement was penning "Six Degrees of Zac Efron" for CosmoGirl magazine. Besides writing, she likes trying out new recipes and craft projects when she has time and her nosey cat lets her.
- Letterpress Over LOL: A Guide to Shopping for Stationery Online
- May Your Photos Be Merry and Bright: Holiday Photography for the Novice
- To Pin or Not to Pin? Pinterest Boards and Intellectual Property
- Could the Mouse be Obsolete by 2015?
- The Cat Whisperer: A Kitten How-To
- Insurers Find Going Green Difficult to Gauge
Prior to joining the CMN team of writers in 2012, Brett Hanley worked as a web content writer, dabbled in proofreading, and spent a year as an AmeriCorps member in an early literacy intervention program. Hanley has a degree in English Writing and Rhetoric from St. Edward's University and is quite adept at overcoming writer's block. In her spare time, she likes to write poetry and read about social justice issues. She's also proudly always up for an adventure.
- How to Make Kombucha at Home
- The Truth About Rent-to-Own Real Estate
- The Future of the Texas Women’s Health Program
Bridget De Stefano
Bridget De Stefano has called CMN home for nearly three years and has the hunchback and bad eyes to prove it. Before she returned to her hometown of Houston, De Stefano was studying journalism out in "Cowboy Country," a.k.a. Lubbock, Texas. When she wasn't dodging dust storms and tumbleweeds (they do exist!), this Texas Tech grad was working as a features writer for her college newspaper, The Daily Toreador, and was an active member of Chi Omega sorority. De Stefano enjoys writing about health and fitness, food, travel, and fashion, as well as the occasional crime story that always ends up giving her nightmares. But don't worry; she has her own mini zoo of pets to keep her safe.
- Going Greek: Tips for Mediterranean Dieters
- Food Trends for the New Year — Consumers Get a Bigger Voice
- Inside the CrossFit Cult – Should You Join?
Chris Becker is a full-time writer for Consumer Media. He has written about music and the arts for Culturemap, Houston Press, Option Magazine, and the contemporary classical music blog Sequenza 21. Becker is also an active composer and performer and is a member of the Artist Board for Frenetic Theater. He is currently working on a book collection of interviews with women jazz musicians.
- Here Comes The Flood: Insurance for Artists and Arts Organizations Post-Hurricane Sandy
- Swimming In Uncharted Waters with Grooveshark
- Microlending in the USA
Dorea Novaez joined CMN as a staff writer in 2011. A native Texan, she earned her bachelor's degree in English and Visual & Dramatic Arts from Rice University. Novaez has experience working in local television and film production, and continues to stay involved in media. In her free time, she loves seeking out the best fashion finds, creating her own pieces, and helping others find great deals. She also enjoys board games, historical fiction, and classic films.
- How to Get the Most Wear Out of Your Holiday Wardrobe
- The Facts and Fictions of Black Cats
- Are Your Donations Really Being Put to Good Use? Alternatives for Your Used Clothing
Dustin Bass has been working in journalism for the past five years. He started his career as a sports writer after graduating from Sam Houston State University in 2006 and continued in the sports field for the next three years. He has also written for lifestyle magazines and websites. Bass has recently finished his first novel. He's an avid musician and songwriter with a deep appreciation for music.
- Save Time, Live Healthy: Hire a Personal Chef and Shopper
- The Rant: The Misery of Poison Ivy
- Going on Vacation? Make Sure You’re Born First
While most other 6-year-olds pretended to be Spiderman or Batman during recess, Erika Jaramillo always found herself playing the role of two unconventional comic book "heroines" on the playground: Lois Lane, the sassy print journalist and love interest of Superman, and April O'Neal, the TV reporter and good friend of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As early as the sixth grade, Erika began reporting for her middle school newspaper The Mustang. Since then, she made sure she was placed on every newspaper and yearbook staff throughout her entire academic career. Before joining Consumer Media Network, Erika won the Texas Associated Press Buster Haas Minority Internship Award and spent the summer interning for The Eagle, the metropolitan newspaper for Bryan/College Station. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. There you can find some of her work published in Forty Acres of Fun, a book that unveils some fun facts and unique traditions of UT.
- Toxic Kisses: Lead in Lipstick Still Center of Controversy
- Weather Winter Workouts: Don’t Let Your Exercise Routine Freeze Up
- Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet for Paleo, Gluten-Free and Weight Watchers Dieters
Before becoming part of the CMN writing team in 2010, Hajera Blagg attended Rice University in Houston, where she studied English and Russian. She spent six months in St. Petersburg, Russia. While there, she acquired a pet rabbit, Pyotr, and lost a front tooth in a pedestrian accident. Due to restrictions set by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pyotr did not make it back stateside. Hajera enjoys picaresque novels, true crime TV shows, pretending to like sports, and having but not necessarily pursuing writerly aspirations.
- Did Your Vote Count? A Guide to Congressional Constituent Services
- The Reality Behind the Storage Wars: Hard Work That Sometimes Pays Off
- Craft Brewers Dedicated to Passion for Beer
Hannah Hubbard has been with CMN since 2010 writing for various blogs and websites. Before that she studied dance and filmmaking in Buenos Aires, Argentina and taught English in South Korea. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Communication Arts from Austin College where she wrote and directed several short films and did choreography and design for theater productions. Fashion-obsessed, but not trend-obsessed, she often writes about fashion and beauty for CMN.
- 20 Gifts That Are Actually a Pain to Receive this Holiday Season
- Anatomy of the Ultimate 2012 Briefcase
- 5 Ways to Look at Runway Fashion for Real World Inspiration
- Multi-level Marketing: Money-Making Genius or a Bad Investment?
James Waterson is a journalist and researcher for Consumer Media Network. James graduated in 2010 with bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science from the University of North Texas. He began his career as a general assignment reporter at the Tyler Morning Telegraph, where in addition to writing about roadkill squirrels and crime he also made the more-than-occasional foray into live television reporting. Since then, he has covered politics, poverty, and human interest stories, as well professional tennis from London, England.
- Why Get Renters Insurance? A True Story
- How to Avoid Bad Dentists
- Are Protein Supplements Necessary?
Texas native Jared Luck is a reformed business school dropout-turned-journalist who is navigating the seas of being a newlywed suburbanite transplant in the city. Before graduating from the University of Houston in 2010, Luck worked as both a writer and editor for the school's The Daily Cougar and the Houstonian. He's a self-avowed health nut who loves sports and the outdoors, especially fishing and sand volleyball, organic food, vinyl records, and an evening in.
- Hack Attack: What Cell Phone Hackers Are After
- This Holiday Season, Get Carded
- The Trouble with GAPS
- Money-Saving Coupon Apps Every Consumer Should Use
- Cleaning Supplies Wage Chemical Warfare Against Your Health, But Are Green Alternatives the Answer?
- Flying Tips Every Savvy Jet-Setter Should Know
Jenna Savage joined Consumer Media Network in 2011 as a full-time staff writer. After growing up in New York City, Jenna pursued her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to having a strong background in writing, she also has experience with pet advocacy and training. Prior to joining Consumer Media Network, Jenna was a teacher and curriculum chair member for a private school in Austin. In her current position, she enjoys the opportunity to help consumers make informed decisions on a variety of topics — especially pet ownership. When she isn't writing or playing with her dogs, Jenna can be found reading, watching films, or playing the occasional video game.
- Rehoming Pets the Safe Way
- A Balancing Act: Video Games and Economic Realism
- How to Choose the Right Trainer for Your Dog
Passionate about anything that goes fast and has wheels, Joe Musarra grew up a fan of just about every form of motorsport you can imagine. He spent his days in front of the television watching Formula 1 and sports car races with his father, and hitching rides with friends to dusty local racetracks in West Texas. Musarra graduated from Asbury University in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in journalism, while also working as a motorcycle mechanic assistant. Since then, Musarra has divided his time between newspaper writing and editing, blogging, sports photography, and the automotive industry.
- Beginner’s Guide to Cycling: Joining a Riding Group
- Making the Luxury of Crash Avoidance Systems Commonplace
- Beginners Guide to Cycling: Buying the Right Bike
Kate Long is a staff writer for Consumer Media Network. She grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast and graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, where she studied English and Dance. After college, Long spent four years in Sonoma County where she worked as a freelance copywriter, adopted a terrier named Quinn, and ate a lot of "California cuisine". She has written about many things, but mostly real estate, Houston culture and entertainment, food politics, interior design, psychology and trauma therapy, and green living. Long likes noir fiction, vintage anything, kayaking, and playing the same two songs on the guitar, just not at the same time.
- I Was Here First: How Workout Regulars Can Survive the New Year Gym Rush
- How to Shop Less (Or Not At All) and Discover Your Personal Style
- I’ll Buy the Next Round: Staying in the Black When Your Friends Make More Money
- New Age Marketing or Security Breach? Digital Mannequins Collecting Shopper Data
- Bigger than the Big Screen: Why Movie-Inspired Merchandise Is All the Rage With Consumers
- Snout to Tail: All the Rage in the Restaurant World
Hailing from Pensacola, Florida, Loren has made a career as a professional social butterfly. She joins our social media team in Houston, where she puts the marketing degree she earned from the University of West Florida to good use. First published in the third grade, Loren has always had a love affair with language. Dubbed a free spirit by her closest friends, she balances her wanderlust with a contentment only reached through deep reflection and meditation. Loren is passionate about music and movement. She is a proponent of mindfulness and dabbles in the flow arts in her free time. Look for her dancing around a camp fire.
- Learning How to Sew: Making Decisions and Setting Priorities
- Surviving a Summer Music Festival (in the South)
Cultivating her literary aspirations at a young age, Maddy Sanders spent much of her childhood scurrying around her father's collegiate English Department parties and listening in on heated literary debates. Though she played the "undecided major" card her first year at Trinity University, she (and everyone around her) knew that English was the route she would eventually settle on. Finding her footing in classes on rhetorical theory, Shakespeare, and primary education, Sanders envisioned a future of writing in some form or another. When not composing articles for CMN, Sanders enjoys sunny days in the park with her two miniature dachshunds and Netflixing documentaries.
- Going Gluten-Free: Living with Celiac Disease
- Consumer 101: Tips and Tools for Navigating the Health Insurance Maze
- Consumer 101: Navigating the Health Insurance Maze
Houston native Megan Whitenton grew up drawing and amassing a prized collection of art supplies. She always wanted to be an artist, and has a history of gravitating toward more introspective pursuits: she remains the self-proclaimed non-performer in a family of musicians and dancers. Whitenton studied visual art at HSPVA and San Francisco Art Institute, then graduated from California Institute of the Arts. Post-Cal Arts she taught art to kids and took a surprise detour into PR for a high-profile museum. Whitenton founded thefurther.com to promote emerging artists, and was also co-founder and PR Director of Artstorm, formerly the premier underground artist co-op of Houston's museum district. Whitenton lives every day by a philosophy she learned from her mom: all we have are our relationships. She gets inspiration from interesting characters and experiences and enjoys witnessing random acts of kindness, armchair psychology, and good conversation.
- Can Electronic Cigarettes Overtake Big Tobacco?
- Beyond Eco-Friendly Holiday Gifts: It’s the Wrapping That’s Headed for a Landfill!
- Trying to NOT Get Breast Cancer? Me Too! How I Jumped on the Fast-Track to Reducing My Risk
Meredith Deliso is a staff writer for CMN.com. She has been writing news since she knew what a lede was, beginning with a position on her middle school's newspaper. Her interest in journalism continued through college, where she graduated from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College as a media studies major. During that time, she interned for a diversity of leading New York publications, including a business weekly (Investment News), monthly music magazine (Global Rhythm), and advertising publication (Advertising Age). Before joining CMN.com, Meredith was an assistant editor for Community Newspaper Group, which published two chains of local weeklies in Brooklyn, NY – the Brooklyn Paper and the Brooklyn Daily. She covered anything from indie rock concerts to major art shows during her four years there. In her current post, Meredith is excited to explore and break down issues that are relevant and important to the everyday consumer. In her spare time, she obsesses over her miniature dachshund, Max, and reads anything she can get her hands on.
- So You’re Thinking of Learning an Instrument? Read This First
- From Birchbox to Whimseybox, Giving the Gift that Really Keeps on Giving
- Buying Art with the Click of a Mouse
Meredith Nudo holds a bachelor's in graphic design from Sam Houston State University and a master's in English from University of St. Thomas. Most of her life is consumed by writing, which can be found offline in Laurels Literary Magazine and Third Story Presents and online at OEDB.org, Space City Nerd, and Who's HOU (where she also social media-ed). Sometimes she crafts and cooks and models and reads books and watches movies and listens to live music and attends embarks on globetrotting adventures and lots of other things. But mostly she writes. She's currently working on her first comic book miniseries with Houston-based artist Jamie Kinosian.
- What’s in Your Cup? DrinkSavvy Helping Stave Off Date Rape
Natalie May is a seventh-generation Kentuckian who was born and raised in the coalfields of the Appalachian Mountains. Although she never dreamt of becoming a famous author or news reporter (she really wanted to be a mixture of Mariah Carey and Janis Joplin), May was nevertheless born with a knack for reading comprehension, writing, and editing. After serving as the editor of her high school's yearbook staff, Natalie went on to earn her degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Kentucky where she graduated in 2009. After a short stint as an intern at a local television news station, she realized her personality didn't match the craziness of the newsroom, so she packed up and moved to Texas with hopes of adventure and gaining a new perspective on life. Since then, she's worked in hospitality, real estate, internet marketing, and writing. Natalie has been with Consumer Media Network since June 2012.
- The Plastic Bottle: A Packaging Choice Causing a Big Problem
Nazish Dholakia is a journalist and writer who currently lives in Houston, Texas. She has previously written for media outlets in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Nairobi, Kenya; Johannesburg, South Africa; and San Antonio, Texas. A graduate of Northwestern University, Nazish writes news and feature stories, with a particular focus on social justice and human rights issues. Her passions include watching an embarrassing amount of reality television, reading extensively on the Middle East and Africa, and gorging on Oreos. She is an avid people watcher and a Texan at heart.
- Summer Escapes: Top Travel Websites and Apps
- Charitable Giving: How Are Your Donations Being Spent?
- The Polyglot Web: Learning a Language in the Online Realm
Communication has been a subject of great interest to Rebekah Rodgers, who spent most of high school studying the topic through competitive speech and policy debate. She moved to Houston in April of 2012 to find a desk job and escape the horrors of the food industry. Although much of her time is consumed in writing, she managed to attend nearly every Houston Dynamo game, travel to Ireland, and currently, she's studying toward her Bachelor's in Communication through an accelerated distance learning program. DIY's and money saving are the two topics of most interest to Rodgers, who would rather change the oil on her car than shop for shoes.
- The Battle of Gift Returns or Exchanges
- Avoiding Excessive Car Repair Costs
- Bon Voyage on a Budget: Ireland
Stephen Jablonski is a Houston native who graduated from Baylor University with concentrations in journalism and film & digital media. He spent a brief period in New York City where he shook hands with Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, served a chicken dinner to Diane Sawyer, and stood in a crowded room with Garrison Keillor. He returned to Houston shortly thereafter. He has an interest in film, media philosophy, technology, and arts and entertainment, sometimes all at once. He has written and directed a few short films that didn't really turn into anything. He joined Consumer Media Network in 2012 as a full-time staff writer.
- Culinary Caravan: The Fight For (Or Against) Food Trucks
- A More Rational 3D Printing Revolution
- Web Crawling for Computer Science Competence
Travis Bauer always dreamed of writing the Great American Novel on an old Corona typewriter just like Ernest Hemingway did back when it was cool. Once he found out how hard it was to come by vintage typewriter ribbons, he settled on his backup dream vocation of an adventurous novelist/journalist in the style of Graham Greene (he always was more of an Anglophile anyway). Now he’s strictly a staff writer working for CMN.
- Understanding the Trends and Hotspots in Men’s Fashion
- Fixies Come Into Their Own on Houston’s Streets
- Vintage Soundscapes: Assembling a Retro Audio System
Shortly after graduating Summa Cum Laude from Ashford University with his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies in May 2011, Travis King began working for Consumer Media Network. He writes content covering education, insurance, careers, and anything else that needs to be covered. He's a new, first-time dad and has a weekly series entitled The New Father on CMN.com where he writes about his adventures in parenting. Even when parenting gets exhausting, stressful, and gross, Travis is able to take joy in being a dad and find the humor in just about every situation.
- The New Father: Wrapping up the First Year
- The New Father: Time to Eat Some Real Food
- The New Father: Christmas Shopping for Your Baby
Valerie Jones was born to write and has shoeboxes full of stories written as a child to prove it. She is a lover of classic R&B/soul music, the color blue, and good old-fashioned southern hospitality. She enjoys writing feature stories and aspires to be a novelist one day. You can follow her on Twitter @ValerieJ_tweets
- Meet Your New Neighbor: Single Female Homeowners Invade Millennial Marketplace
- New Regulations Posed to Change the Business of Marijuana
- How Coupons Can Help You Reduce Debt and Offset Salary Cuts