Micaela Vega is a working mother of two and she blogs. She’s writes about bringing healthier food options to her family and publishes those stories on her StrivingBean blog.
We thought is was so interesting that her hook was beans, cooking with beans and talking about beans but we came to find out she and her blog are about so much more. We interviewed Micaela to see what she can share about her experience in blogging and her space in the Latino Blogosphere.
Tell us about yourself? Where do you blog? What do you blog about?
I’m a married, working, mother of two (5 & 6 year old) and I, like most others, seem to never have enough spare time! My blog http://strivingbean.com is about bringing healthier food options to my family. Sometimes my kids like it, sometimes they don’t. I’ll let you know about both.
Beans, that’s as niche as it gets, what was it about beans that made you think, Blog!?
I’ve recently expanded my blog to include other good food to feed your family, but here’s the back story about the beans.
In 2008 my family started to make an effort to be more “green”. We included 1 vegetarian dinner a week since vegetarian diets are better for the environment as opposed to meat centric diets. I decided to center these dinners around beans.
As I progressed with my experimentation, it really made me wonder – why are beans so neglected in the American diet? They’re so good for you so why aren’t we (as a society) making an effort to eat more beans? Many other cultures focus food on beans and somehow the American diet drifted away from this fabulous food. I want to bring beans back to families.
My family is not vegetarian. Instead we’re selective about the kind of meat we buy and as a result eat less of it. We prefer local / grass-fed beef / organic meat, wild caught fish. And of course we eat lots of beans.
What blogging platform do you use? Why?
I used WordPress. I was looking for a little more oomph and content management, so I switched from Blogger to WordPress.
Is blogging a hobby or do you aspire to grow it as a business.
I consider blogging to be a creative outlet, a platform to share my experiences, a way to connect with others, and hopefully an opportunity to serve as a positive influence. I’m working on expanding my blog and open to a “good-fit” business opportunity.
Percentage wise are you more of a content person and/or do you dig into the code/design side of the blog?
I’m both a content person and a code/design type. Writing about a subject I love (food, being green, family) is such a joy. Also I’m a web designer and web business analyst by profession (design, usability, requirements documentation, working closely with web programmers). I’m on the web a good portion of the day.
What tools do you have at hand when you sit down to blog? ( ex. photoshop, camera, thesaurus etc. )
My point-and-shoot camera, Photoshop, and my fingers to type. Occasionally I’ll run my posts by my husband, but it’s typically after I’ve put them on my blog. He’s a radio news director so I value his opinion (he’s got mad writing skills!)
What is your thought process when an idea for a post comes along?
Posts start with inspiration. I’m inspired by my family, the desire to be a good mom, and from being open to new experiences. From there I’ll take a mental note of the idea or write a few notes in a notebook or draft post. Then I’ll noodle on it for a few days and write it in my head. I’ll also do some research when that’s warranted. From there I just have to make the time to type and edit photos.
What are the social channels that you’ve syndicated your content to? How did you make the decision on where to syndicate? (ex. twitter, facebook..etc.) I syndicate at Facebook (http://facebook.com/strivingbean), Twitter (http://twitter.com/strivingbean), and YouTube (http://youtube.com/user/strivingbean). The decision to syndicate to these sites was simple – they’re the sites that I visit so that’s where I’ll post. I love “likes” and followers – be sure to stop by and say “hi”!
What have you learned about blogging that you didn’t foresee back before you launched your blog?
That writing good content isn’t as easy as it seems. Posting on a consistent basis isn’t a breeze either when so many things are vying for your attention.
From your perspective what do you feel is the state of the Latino Blogosphere?
It’s so robust and diverse. I’m very impressed with the Latina/Latino Blogsphere and the perspective we bring. The level of expertise, creativity, and professionalism makes me smile.
Is your blog a “Latina Blog?” how do you feel about that type of labeling? Is it a part of a content strategy to appeal a “Latino” audience or do you just blog and your cultural identity plays little role?
I don’t consider a Striving Bean to be a “Latina Blog” (a blog centered around Latina culture and perspective), but I am Latina / Hispanic. My perspective and experiences are influenced by my heritage and my upbringing. I’m a 2nd generation American – my Father’s parents emigrated from Mexico and my Mother’s parents emigrated from Spain (both in the 1920s). Being raised by adult children of immigrants has had a huge impact on many facets of my life. I love to connect with other Latinas/os and Hispanics – those from Latin American countries, Spain, 1st generation American, 2nd, and beyond.
What’s your best piece of advice for those thinking about starting a blog?
Write about a subject you love or else it will become a chore.
What are your favorite blogs?
I love blogs with thoughtful and entertaining content that
- cook with healthy and/or organic food
- inspire me to be more fit
- let the writer’s personality shine through
What’s one plugin that is a must-have for any blog?
The best plug-in to have are the ones that allows you to share on Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites.
What would you like to learn more about as a blogger?
Best business practices for interacting with brands. There are lots of savvy Latina bloggers that I can learn from!
You can find me at: