Meet Megan.

Professionally, I’m a columnist and freelance writer, living bicoastal in Carpinteria, California and Wilmington, North Carolina.

(Where am I originally from? Check out the full story here!)

Personally, I help women like you feel less alone through stories of personal struggles, the challenges of a romantic relationship, the ebb-and-flow of friendships, and more. These real-life stories are collectively referred to as, I Heart.

I Heart began as a column in the Santa Barbara Sentinel in 2015, using the pen name Elizabeth Rose. The column continues to publish in the paper, and on my blog each week!

How I Heart was born

After a year of freelance writing for the Sentinel, a friend had a thought one night after hearing another one of my awkward dating stories.

“You should write about these in the paper,” she said. “A sort-of, Sex & the City meets Santa Barbara!”

I was right in the middle of a major heartbreak that had me licking my wounds. But I figured, what better than a deadline to push me into the dating world again.

So, I pitched the idea and the publisher gave me the green light:

A column called I Heart was born, and so was my pen name, Elizabeth Rose.

{It’s a combo of my middle name and my sister’s middle name. I chose to write under a pen name to protect the “innocent.”}

But writing as Elizabeth Rose allowed me to be pretty fearless in a way I wasn’t at the time.

My mantra became, “What Would Elizabeth Rose Do?”

I dated men of all ages and races, then shared these experiences, along with my inhibitions, on the page.

This worked for and against me – but it made for good stories. 

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Get a load of this…

My boyfriend, Chris Dabney (otherwise known as “Jason” in the I Heart Stories) and I lived in a blue,  34-foot sailboat named, Astrologer.

In August 2017, we sailed from Bellingham, WA down to Baja, Mexico and into the Sea of Cortez.

After seven months of cruising, we drydocked in San Carlos, Mexico. Chris flew to the cold waters of Alaska to commercial fish salmon for the summer, and I left for the sunny East Coast, traveling between Wilmington, NC, and Charleston, SC on the regular to see family and friends. #dirtysouthrepresent

We returned to Astrologer in January 2019 and sailed south from San Carlos to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and traveled inland throughout the magnificent Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains

But in April 2019 – just four days after we docked the boat in Mazatlan, Mexico – we got an offer and sold the boat.

Three years of #boatlife now a distant memory, but life continues to progress…

While Chris returns to Alaska for the summer and prepares to commercially fish lobster in Santa Barbara, I am on the east coast, visiting family and friends, typing stories from various coffee shops, and living the freelance writer hustle again until we reunite in California in the fall.

Follow our sailing adventures with Astrologer on Instagram here!

Career Stats

In 2013-2016, I lived in the beach town of Carpinteria, California and became a freelance writer and regular columnist for The Santa Barbara Sentinel.

Two years later, I became an editor.

The I Heart column continues to run in the Sentinel, and I freelance for other publications including The Montecito Journal newspaper, The Montecito Journal Magazine, Carpinteria Magazine, and a monthly business column in the Coastal View News.

Update: I’m excited to contribute VIE Magazine for the September 2019 issue! (It’s a story about a secret hacienda in the mountains of Mexico that has never yet been published about in the United States. Stay tuned… would love for you to visit one day!)

Side Gigs/Past Lives

Since moving to California, I’ve worked on fashion photo shoots, wearing the hats of a creative director, stylist, and producer for the late surf magazine, DEEP. (Flip through the 2017 swimsuit issue here!)

In my past life – also known as my twenties – I owned a small-production, fashion design business in the charming city of Charleston, South Carolina.

Oh, and I co-authored a children’s book: Spice & Little Sugar.

What I’m Doing Now

You can usually find me…

  • Hustling to get to a coffee shop around 6 a.m. to write. (My writing-brain sputters out between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.)
  • Soaking up playdates with my two-year-old nephew, Mac. <3 #auntlife (Meet Mac here!)
  • Or, irregularly hitting a yoga class and wondering why I haven’t signed up for a teacher-training course so I can correctly do it myself. (You with me?)

What people are saying about I Heart:

“I have been following your column ever since I moved back to Santa Barbara from Seattle just about 8 months ago. I swear. We are the same person. I tore your article out of the paper and demanded that my boyfriend read it in shock that I wasn’t the one who wrote it!” – Kate, Santa Barbara, CA

“I must admit, I’ve become smitten with your column. It’s been the only reason I pick up the paper. Your past columns that I have read are funny, real, honest, sincere and in so instances relatable, even though we are of the opposite sex. This is totally new territory for me, writing a “fan” letter but I really look forward to the next issue and your latest insights.” – Don, Santa Barbara, CA

“Dear Elizabeth, I always enjoy your column…but the one I just read really touched me. Thank you for this & the reminder to cherish the “fleeting moments” we often take for granted.” – Darlene, Santa Barbara, CA

“I’ve been reading your column with fascination because it’s unlike any other column I’ve come across in a newspaper. Your tales of love, travel, despair, hope, and the ups and downs of a partnership are quite unique!” – Greg, Santa Barbara, CA

“I enjoy reading your column! Although I’m not your age (I’m in my 50’s), I grew up in Santa Barbara and see echoes of my younger self in you…” – Sara, Santa Barbara, CA

“So well said. I love this so very much. Please keep writing the – world needs your words!”     – Summer, Summerville, SC

“I enjoy your writing about affairs of the heart and dating. Keep up the good writing.”              – Robert, Santa Barbara, CA

Read I Heart

 Freelance work featured in:

Enough about me, tell me about you! 

Contact Megan