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Maria Hunt

Journalist, Creative Director and Content Strategist

Location icon United States

I’m a versatile journalist, creative director for copy, and digital content strategist with expertise in cultural stories around cuisine, drinks, design, and wellness. My journalism background and degree from Medill/Northwestern University make me adept at understanding audiences and determining the best way to tell your unique story. My expertise includes creating content programs, social posts, emails, articles, and marketing collateral for brands including Houzz, Rodan + Fields, Total Wine & More, One Medical, and publications such as Esquire, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful and Dwell. Certified by Wellness Within Your Walls. Fun fact: I wrote and styled a book on champagne and sparkling wine cocktails for Random House.

Portfolio
Wine Enthusiast
01/26/2021
How Sulfites Became Public Enemy No.1 in Wine | Wine Enthusiast

Jessica Green can usually tell when a new article about sulfites is published without opening a magazine or looking at her phone. "In the last two months, I've been getting so many people coming in saying they have allergies," says Green, owner of Down the Rabbit Hole, a natural wine store in Sayville, New York.

Kitchn
08/26/2020
The Rich, Buttery, Fruit-Filled Cake I Make Every Summer (and You Should Too)

Every time I make a clafoutis cake, a buttery French cake that I fill with gloriously ripe summer stone fruit, I think of Marion Cunningham. The prolific home cook turned author was known for updating the historic Fannie Farmer Cookbook, a classic that taught many Americans how to cook.

House Beautiful
08/11/2020
Five Problematic Design Terms You Should Retire or Rethink

A good designer can discuss Kuba cloth, Greek Revival architectural details, and clerestory windows with ease. But there are other words in the design lexicon that have more fraught backstories, including origins in colonialism, prejudice, and slavery.

Dwell
09/16/2020
The Pendleton Problem

Growing up in New Mexico, Venancio Aragon (Diné) remembers that a Pendleton wool blanket was one of the most precious gifts you could give or receive. Though his family has been practicing Navajo weaving for generations, he puts on a Pendleton for special occasions.

Architectural Digest
06/22/2020
Love Plants? You Might Be a Biophiliac

You may not know it, but if you're a fan of live-edge tables, swirled Panda White marble, or plant-filled rooms with natural light, you're feeling the lure of biophilic design. A term that means "love of life" in Greek, biophilia is based on the belief that humans need a connection to nature to thrive.

Apartment Therapy
Here's How 9 Black Designers Are Finding Joy and Comfort at Home Right Now

Between sheltering in place for months because of the pandemic and followed by the ongoing anguish and unrest over the deaths of unarmed Black people like Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, maybe you're feeling like you could use some relief and psychological comfort.

Total Wine & More
12/03/2019
Guide to Wine 101 Booklet

A beginner’s guide to finding a bottle of wine they’ll enjoy, from aromas and flavors of major varietals, to how wine is made to creating successful wine and food pairings.

Elemental | Medium
07/09/2020
Vitamin D Deficiency Is An Overlooked Source of Racial Health Disparity

Deneen Sherrod knew something wasn't right. "I was having pain in my joints, and I was aching all over," said the 56-year-old IT specialist who lives near Baltimore. Tests for lupus, Lyme disease, and rheumatoid arthritis all came back negative. It turned out she was very deficient in vitamin D.

Food Culture + Trends

Kitchn
07/18/2020
What Chefs Know About Vegetables (That You Don't)

We asked some of our favorite restaurant chefs and authors to share some of their best veggie secrets. Adeena Sussman, Gregory Gourdet, Tyson Cole, Zarela Martinez and Isabel Cruz share some great ways to elevate your own vegetable cookery at home.

Forbes Travel Guide Stories
06/17/2013
Culinary Q&A With The Chefs Of State Bird Provisions

State Bird Provisions, which just snagged the James Beard Award for the best new restaurant in the nation, may seem like a hipster spot with its offbeat name, string art decor and dim-sum-style service.

Christian Science Monitor
1/21/2009
Who's cookin' in the White House?

As the Obamas were preparing to enter the White House, there was a lot of buzz in the national restaurant community over who the next chef would be. I pitched this piece to the CSM and then reached out to Danny Meyer, Alice Waters and Ruth Reichl for their take.

Forbes
12/18/2012
Bourbon's New Role In The Culinary World

In case you haven't heard, yuzu kosho and Bora Bora vanilla beans are so last year. The hot food flavoring on the scene is bourbon-and lots of it. Correspondent Maria Hunt has noticed creative chefs and food artisans across the country using the caramel-colored spirit to season foods ranging from ice cream to pigs' ears.

Montage Hotels Magazine
10/16/2013
Drew Barrymore: Famous Foodie

Drew Barrymore splashes into an unexpected new role with a wine brand and a cooking show. I sat down with her at Pebble Beach Food & Wine to learn more.

Forbes Travel Guide
02/10/2018
Saison - Forbes Travel Guide

Remember that 1980s television show Fantasy Island, where a man dressed in white made visitors' every wish come true? Saison is the culinary equivalent ....

San Diego Union Tribune
10/13/1999
A Salad, A Legend - Who really tossed the first Caesar?

Even Julia Child was disappointed with the way the words "Caesar salad" were getting tossed around. "I think they like to use the name," said Julia Child, a woman who definitely knows her way around a salad bowl. So I went to Tijuana, Mexico to discover the true origins of this ubiquitous salad.

San Diego Union Tribune
04/17/2012
Breaking Bread

"Clemente said eating pan de sal makes him think of a sexy girl." -- Most people don't know it, but San Diego is an incredibly diverse city. I profiled seven traditional breads baked here in order to better understand the people who make and love them.

The Christian Science Monitor
12/03/2008
Bacon with dessert?

"Bacon maple? There's actual bacon in that cupcake?" an incredulous visitor blurts out after scanning the selections at More, a sleek modern cupcake boutique in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. How and why bacon became the next big thing in desserts.

Interior Design - Editorial and E-commerce

Studio Dearborn | Interior Design
06/10/2019
Recipe for a British Kitchen - Studio Dearborn | Interior Design

Perhaps because it’s rooted in history, the British kitchen has some traditional ingredients that you’ll find again and again. Mix several of these features to easily create that distinctive and timeless look.

Studio Dearborn | Interior Design
01/24/2018
Bring Wabi Sabi Style to Your Kitchen Design in 2018

One of the biggest kitchen design trends for 2018 is going to be decor, finishes and furnishings inspired by wabi-sabi style. If you're thinking "What's that?" you're not alone.

Riviera Interiors
04/15/2009
Cabin Fever! Woodsy chic hits Portland

Home to Pendleton wool and many a rainy day, Portland has been shedding its woolly and wet image to emerge as a burgeoning hotbed of sustainable design and environmental consciousness.

Houzz
01/18/2016
Phillippe Starck + Isamu Noguchi Collections

As the architect of the Shop Houzz ecommerce content program, one of my goals was to design campaigns to drive sales. I created a series of collections on major modern designers timed to run on their birthdays. The products told the story of their development in this unique form of "story-selling."

Houzz
05/05/2015
A Mother's Day Makeover From Ashton, With Love

Designer Catherine Renae Thomas was in for an exciting challenge when she was hired by Ashton Kutcher to do a surprise makeover of his mom’s family basement. See the video, then get the look with this special collection from the Houzz Shop.

Houzz
02/22/2015
Decorating Secrets from a Hollywood Stylists' Home

Timed to coincide with the 2015 Academy Awards ceremony, I created this collection inspired by the home of Hollywood celebrity stylist Mara Roszak, along with her tips on how to create the look.

Health + Wellness

One Medical Blog
11/11/2015
11 Ways You Can Feel Happier Now

Ah happiness, that elusive state of being that everyone wants. It can't be bought or sold. So how do you find it? Poets and philosophers have pondered this question for ages.

One Medical Blog
04/20/2016
5 Things You May Not Know About Marijuana

Not many people make a doctor's appointment to talk about the pros and cons of smoking joints vs. vaping, or whether it's OK to mix Mary Jane with merlot. Maybe more of us should.

One Medical Blog
05/06/2016
Best + Worst Drinks If You're Watching Your Weight

This infographic on common alcoholic beverages, the calories they're packing and how long it takes to work them off quickly became one of the most popular pieces of new content for 2016.

Wine + Spirits

Dean & Deluca St. Helena
07/01/2018
Wine Shop Instagram Posts

Posted wine and food content to drive engagement with local customers

Bespoke Magazine | St. Regis Hotels
06/20/2014
The Rise of Riesling

For this celebration of the other white grape, I interviewed acclaimed educator Karen MacNeil, a Master Sommelier Willi Sherer, Master of Wine Tim Hanni and Stephen Sterling, whose family owns the Cole Ranch AVA.

Arrowood Winery & Vineyards
04/23/2018
Dry Farming is Good for the Earth & Good for Wine

Dry farming isn't a new concept, but it has taken on renewed significance in the last decade. Plants can't talk. But any gardener knows that if you listen and pay attention, your plants will tell you what they need.

Montage Magazine
10/15/2015
Next-Generation Vintners

When you're born into a wine family with a name like Mondavi, Sokol Blosser or Barrett, you're stepping into a ready-made legacy before you've bottled a drop.

Mueller Family Vineyards
09/01/2018
Winery Website Refresh

Redesigned and updated website for boutique family winery to include e-commerce, social media, enhanced product pages and immersive imagery.

Montage Hotels Magazine
12/15/2009
All That Fizz

What's your unique champagne personality? Perrier Jouet is giving 100 people the chance to find out -- and bottle it.

Brand Marketing Copywriting

Totalwine
Top 20 Wines You Must Try This Year | Total Wine & More

This year's Top 20 wines are the best yet! Any style you're looking for-red, white, sparkling, dry, sweet, rich, light-this list has it. After tasting thousands of wines, we can't wait to share these 20 superstars with you.

Timothy Adams Chocolates
Food Packaging Copywriting

Timothy Adams Chocolates is a sweet shop in Palo Alto with a whimsical Alice-in-Wonderland vibe. For their colorful line of six filled chocolate bars, I wrote playful back copy that teased the flavors within. (Capitalization and punctuation were determined by the graphic designer.)

Total Wine & More
02/01/2020
Guide to Oregon & Washington State Wines

Exploring the contrasting wine styles and the best producers from Oregon and Washington State. The differences between wines from these Pacific Northwest states might surprise you.

Total Wine & More
01/10/2020
Your Guide to Zinfandel

Exploring Zinfandel, a grape varietal that’s beloved in America for its history, its juicy bright flavors and the way it pairs with anything from the grill.

R+F Facebook and Instagram
2017
Rodan + Fields Social Copywriting

Lead social copywriter creating daily messaging to drive sales and engagement on Instagram, Facebook and B2B Facebook page for 150K consultants. Localized messaging for Australia and Canadian audiences.

Rodan + Fields on Facebook
07/25/2017
Facebook Live Video Script

Researched and wrote video script for Active Hydration Serum Facebook Live product launch. Multipart script included C-suite executives and team testimonials. 210K views

Houzz.com
Shop Houzz - E-commerce Newsletter + Content Strategy

An email list of 12 million+ subscribers gave me the opportunity to make data-driven content decisions to optimize the Shop Houzz e-commerce content program. Stats showed that lighting and bath materials were two top sales categories, so I had my team create a series on the best lighting under $100 as well as variations on the classic white bath. The result was 100,000+ clicks in 24 hours and sell-outs for the lighting and bath collections below, and others in the series.

Rodan + Fields
06/30/2017
R+F Beauty Product Launch Campaign Concepts

Active Hydration Serum was the biggest R+F product launch of 2017. Based on the product benefits and features, I wrote creative campaign concepts and supporting taglines and copy for two phases and optimized the launch landing page and product pages to highlight the unique selling proposition. I originated the "Destination Hydration" tagline, which inspired a series of animated gifs showing how the product was an essential for travel. I also created "Rev up your Regimen" to spur add on...

Travel

The Tasting Panel
03/15/2010
Down at the Heel - Puglia Adventure

One of the most interesting discoveries was that negroamaro doesn’t mean “black bitter” in Italian — it actually means “blackest of blacks.”

Forbes Travel Guide Blog
01/22/2013
Spending Two Perfect Days In Napa

It's not hard to have a good time in Napa. After all, the food tastes better, the sky is a little bluer and the wine is definitely more plentiful.

Forbes Travel Guide Blog
03/26/2014
Discovering Brazil's Secret Wine Country

It seems like Brazil has turned into one of the fashionable places to travel; the South American country is on more than a few lists of the best travel destinations for 2014. And with the FIFA World Cup kicking off in June - and the 2016 Summer Olympics not too long after that - more people than ever are heading to cities all over Brazil.

Forbes Travel Guide Blog
06/27/2013
Your Guide To Northern California's Anderson Valley

For beautiful forests, breathtaking coastal views and artisanal wines and beers, nothing compares to a jaunt up to Northern California's Anderson Valley. Just two hours north of San Francisco, this region is rich in rustic beauty.

Forbes Travel Guide Blog
11/03/2014
Baja California's Secret Wine Paradise

Traveling to Mexico for many people means booking a flight to Los Cabos or Todos Santos. But the most intriguing and stunning destination in Mexico right now is the Valle de Guadalupe wine country in Baja California Norte.

Forbes Travel Guide Stories
07/18/2013
Get To Know Aubergine's Buzzed-About New Head Chef

Carmel-by-the-Sea has been known as an artists' colony and a golfers' paradise for decades. But the oceanside California enclave is gaining a reputation for serious cuisine, thanks to chef Justin Cogley of Aubergine, the Restaurant at L'Auberge Carmel.

Profiles

San Diego Union-Tribune
01/26/2005
The Ta$te of Success

I met the legendary businessman at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, and as we shared a lunch of delicacies from around the world, he told me about his work and passions in life.

Cuisine Noir
03/31/2010
Mo'Nique -- Fabulous. Amazing. Timeless.

Though we spoke long-distance by phone, Mo'Nique and I created a real rapport and she opened up about her journey to self-acceptance and helping other women do the same.

Montage Hotels Magazine
01/03/2012
Bison's Big Comeback

When Ted Turner was the special guest at a friend's winery I jumped at the chance to do a short taped interview with him about his favorite topic... his work to save the American bison.

Modern Luxury - San Diego
05/15/2008
Marcella Bites

I met Food Network star Marcella Valladolid when she was just becoming known in San Diego and wrote this profile for a luxury magazine.

Philanthropy

One Medical Blog
04/04/2016
Get Your Walk On!

For National Walking Day, I partnered with Fitbit and a local fitness expert for a giveaway to capture new leads. More than 200 people entered and shared insights on where they find health information.

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