About Fabulous Arizona

FabulousArizona.com (FabAZ) is one of Arizona’s premier online lifestyle publications. Founded in 2011 by Cynthia Sassi, the locally-owned website has become the go-to for travelers wishing to visit or locals yearning to learn more about where to eat, stay, play and give back in the 48th state. From restaurants, resorts and events to unique and successful individuals, the publication is devoted to showcasing all that makes Arizona exceptional.


Cynthia Sassi

Founder, President

Cynthia Sassi has been a force in online publishing for over a decade, working with some of the nation’s most respected brands and publications along the way. The President and Founder of Fabulous Arizona (and its parent company Fabulous Media Group), Cynthia has a passion for helping local business owners and being a resource for readers. She is an authority on the subjects of online publishing, social media, digital marketing, web design, and entrepreneurship. In her spare time, Cynthia works with over a dozen local charities and frequently gives speeches on subjects ranging from digital media to female entrepreneurship in the 21st Century.

Melissa Larsen

Editor In Chief

Melissa Larsen is an Arizona-based writer and veteran editor with 16 years of experience in print and online luxury lifestyle publications. Originally from New York, Melissa graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has written about culinary, travel, nightlife, fashion, fitness, beauty, nonprofits, real estate and the Valley’s most high-profile events, including Waste Management Phoenix Open, Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale and Super Bowl XLIX. Melissa is a mom of two and loves to spend her free time cheering on her sons on the field or the court, visiting the best local breweries and coffee shops, seeing live music and comedy acts, baking all the carbs and traveling with her family.

Kenzie Barrena

Senior Writer & Marketing Coordinator

Kenzie Barrena is a multifaceted writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. With a wealth of experience in both digital and print media, her portfolio spans a diverse range of luxury lifestyle topics, including travel, dining, nightlife and fashion. With a keen eye for storytelling, she has spotlighted an array of fascinating figures, from Olympic champions to Soviet-era survivors. In addition to feature writing, Kenzie excels as a ghostwriter for high-profile individuals. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling and yoga.

Christiana McCarthy


Christiana McCarthy is a creative individual with an entrepreneurial spirit. She has owned her own photography business since she was just 15 years old. She enjoys using her photography for both portraits and small business branding, and has extended her creative spirit into the social media world.

Carissa Johnson

Account Manager & Contributor 

Carissa Johnson lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she is a regional director of an international nonprofit organization. Carissa sits on numerous local boards and councils to assist with the growth of Eastern Iowa. Besides her love and dedication to her community, Carissa enjoys writing about (and eating!) at all the local restaurants, exercising, biking and being with friends and family. Her favorite thing about Iowa is the sense of community and the ability to have a voice and make change happen.

Lauren Wright


Lauren Wright is a marketing assistant and writer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After recently graduating from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a BA in Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies, Lauren plans to explore creative writing and online marketing to blend the physical and digital worlds. On the side, Lauren also works as an event coordinator at her family’s wedding venue, helping to oversee and bring to life visions. When she’s not working, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends, being outdoors and exploring all that Wisconsin has to offer.

Kyley Warren


Kyley Warren is an award-winning writer, editor and multimedia architect who specializes in lifestyle and entertainment reporting. Her versatility has allowed her to maintain impactful roles within a number of prominent publications and PR agencies. Kyley earned her journalism degree from Arizona State University and has since had bylines featured in USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, U.S. News & World Report and the Miami Herald, among others. She’s a fierce champion of female storytelling and is passionate about helping connect young women to their greater purpose. In her free time, Kyley enjoys traveling, working in her garden, aimlessly strolling through antique stores and finding any opportunity to channel her inner Martha Stewart in the kitchen. 

Alison Bailin Batz


Alison Bailin Batz, better known as @ABSeesItAll online, is a veteran public relations executive at the award-winning HMA Public Relations who began freelance writing as a hobby in 2007. One story turned to two, and two to about 2,000. Today, she is a contributor on all things luxury travel, wine, food and spirits for Fabulous Media Group as well as Wander with Wonder, WHERE Magazine, City Lifestyle Richman Media Group, AZ Big Media Times Media Group and many more in addition to serving as director of client service at her firm (and volunteering in the kitten ICU at the Humane Society). Alison’s aim in life is best summed up by her social handle as “AB” truly does want to “see it all.” Then she wants to share it all with you.

Ali Dugaw


Ali Dugaw, known as the @GlutenFreeTravelGirl, is an experienced journalist with a diverse background in TV, print, and digital media. She was the Emmy-award-winning senior content producer at “Good Morning Arizona” before returning to her roots in print journalism. Originally hailing from Chicago, Ali pursued her passion for journalism at the University of Arizona and Chico State University. Currently, she focuses on reporting on exciting events, culinary and, of course, gluten-free options. Ali’s dedication to sharing safe and delicious gluten-free options stems from a life-altering autoimmune diagnosis in 2011. Since then, she has been on a mission to share her invaluable knowledge with the community. Outside of professional pursuits, Ali loves spending her time exploring the world alongside her loved ones.

Kurt and Deanna Mangum II


Kurt and Deanna Mangum II are a husband-and-wife team, health advocates and believers living in Chandler, Arizona. They were married and founded their lifestyle brand, CoupleyFit™ in 2016, dedicated to their wellness pursuit towards Feeling. Better Together.™! When they have some time away from work, they love exploring new places, expanding their social impact within the community and experimenting with healthy cooking.

Ashley Kangas


Ashley Kangas, also known as @disco_infern0, is an award-winning journalist and content creator with over 10 years of experience. In addition to contributing to Fabulous Media Group, Ashley is the Chief Content Officer and Partner of The Chambers Guide, a luxury travel publication rooted in accessibility for all travelers. She comes to Arizona by way of New York and Los Angeles. Having helped build content and editorial giants like Betches and Elite Daily, she joins us to bring stories to spotlight travel and hospitality across Arizona and California. 

Katie Poe


Katie Poe is a marketing associate and writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. After graduating from Arizona State University in 2022 with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Minor in Public Relations, Katie is excited to delve into the multifaceted world of media. When she’s not working, Katie enjoys trying new coffee shops, playing with her cat, King Louis, traveling and watching reality TV.  


Sabrina Chapman


Sabrina Chapman is a marketing executive in the travel and tourism industry. After graduating from James Madison University with a B.A. in Art History, she spent over a decade living, party hopping and writing across Europe, NY and Las Vegas. She was the resident cocktail journalist for Las Vegas Weekly and her bylines include Las Vegas Magazine, Luxury Las Vegas and Haute Living Magazine. Now that she is in her mom-era she enjoys exploring the world with her son Brighton and creating content centered around food, family-friendly topics and travel (of course!).