photograph by andrea fanning



Welcome to The Glimmer Train. My name is Andrea Fanning, and I am a writer, stylist, editor, lover of travel, and purveyor of things beautiful; I’ll be your guide. Actually since we’re acquainted now, you can call me Ande (it’s my grandmother’s name spelled backward and my nickname). After more than 12 years as a magazine editor, I decided that it was time to pursue some personal dreams and have some great adventures, so I left my full-time gig for the freedom of the freelance world. To see some of my work, visit the portfolio page.

The Glimmer Train is the place where my affinity for people, places, style, and creativity collide in a hub of inspiration. It is also the name of my freelance business in which I help people share their stories through words and images. I work as a photo stylist, feature writer, content producer, interior decorator, and brand builder. My home base is Birmingham, Alabama, but my affinity for travel takes me all around the globe—and I love it. 

During the days when I had hundreds of pages and multiple magazines due in the same week, I often found myself searching for inspiration, fuel to help meet deadlines and stay on track. A Gregory Alan Isakov song, photos of Chefchaouen, Annie Sloan’s latest painting project, a random YouTube clip—just a few minutes with something beautiful, interesting, or witty would remind me that Muse was still out there.

Sometimes the struggle went beyond writer’s block, and I needed more than motivation. On those days, even breathing was difficult. I needed a break in the clouds of heaviness. Fresh air. A glimmer of light. Inspiration.

As an attempt to curate and catalog some of the things that helped get me through another day and another deadline, I launched an Instagram account. There was only one name that seemed to suit, The Glimmer Train, and it comes from the pen of a creative writing instructor at The University of Alabama, Sophia Kartsonis. The whispers of her lyrical accent somehow translated into the notes she left on my description-drenched papers: “You are on the glimmer train again.” A few starburst illustrations sometimes followed her commentary, as did instruction on how to harness the sparkle and craft it into something worth reading. Over the years, I’ve been aiming to do just that.

Wherever you are on your journey, I hope you’ll find something on the site today that resonates, something that will ignite creativity and connect identity.