Mari Hernandez-Tuten is the author of Inspired by Familia.
Q. Who/what are the most important influences in your life and how do they shape how you thinking about blogging?
I feel honored to be able to say that I've had a number of people pour into my life. For starters, my parents have always inspired me. Their strong work ethic and love for our family and faith impact me every day as a blogger and as a parent. I also have personal friends and blogging friends who take the time to listen to my dreams and creations and encourage me along in my blogging career. My faith is a huge foundation for me as I encounter blogging hurdles and challenges. Last but not least, my husband has been an amazing support and cheerleader in this blogging journey of mine.
Q. Where do you personally find inspiration related to the topic/topics that you blog about? How has that changed/evolved over the last year?
I truly believe that we must live life in order to write about it. I find my inspiration in my everyday experiences with my family and friends. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time in a day to write about all of our experiences, but what's important is we've made memories and one day those memories may inspire an article or even a book. As my kids grow, so do my blogging topics. For example, I now have a tween in our home but when I first started blogging they were all little so my parenting and activities fit the phase of life they were in. Now I'm able to spend more time writing on parenting tweens and less on kid activities.
Q. How does your cultural identity influence the content that you create, or how you interact with your audience?
As a Latina who blogs about family, I feel like it permeates my writing in every way. It's not always as visible, but so many of my values and love for family come from being raised in a Mexican home. Other times my articles are very Latina in nature especially when I'm writing about our family traditions that we enjoy with our kids. I personally can't separate who I am and how I've been brought up when I write articles about parenting or my family, so sometimes it's subtle, other times it's in your face.
Q. How did you first become interested in becoming a blogger? What was it that made you choose the topic areas that you chose?
I decided to blog because I wanted a voice that transcended beyond my four walls, mi casa. It happened around the time I was lost in between two worlds, one that was all too familiar — my Latino culture — and the other that was close to my heart, but so far away — the U.S. We were headed toward South America on our global nomad journey to change the world, leaving all that was close to our heart back in the U.S. I consider myself a lifestyle blogger, and the theme of my blog is family. So this gives me the freedom to write about all things familia: recipes, kids activities, parenting articles, family activities, and more.
I feel like it's important to maintain that authenticity with my readers in every post I write. I didn't go into blogging for money, so my decisions about this happened along the way as I discovered what I really wanted from my blog and for myself. I came to the decision that my blog would not become a product review blog. My articles for brands would have to organically be integrated into what we are doing and what we believe as a family. Some brands only want product review type of post, and those are the opportunities I've had to pass up. I feel like I am most true to myself and my readers with the decision I've made about working with brands. For those bloggers who do product reviews, that's great, they've found something that works for them. I personally have chosen a different route and voice for my blog.