Designer, blogger, Cuban cook, scrapbooker, photographer and mother of four Martha has been blogging for almost six years. She has been sharing her life, culture, family, and recipes in her own Cuban-American style.
Born in Havana, Cuba her family left the island on February 14th, 1961. Martha strives to share her Cuban traditions, all things Cuban and particularly the music and the food on My Big Fat Cuban Family. Martha lives in Southern California with her husband, Eric and is a proud mother to Amy-28, Adam-26, Lucy-18, and Jonathan-16.
“I tell the stories of my extraordinarily ordinary Cuban-American life. I believe in celebrating the “everyday.” Often. And well,” Martha Maria Darby
Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging six years ago. I am an avid scrapbooker and wanted to have a place to collect my stories that I envisioned would go into my albums. It seemed like a great way to document my everyday life which has everything to do with being Cuban in Southern California. My blog was also a perfect place to share some of my memories of my childhood in Cuba and what it was like to start a new life here in America. As I started writing, I not only found my own voice, but I soon realized that I had tapped into an readership that related very strongly to my Cuban-American experiences. Plus, they loved my recipes!
Do you any have advice for beginner bloggers?
My advice for bloggers who are just starting out is to always write from your heart. I think people respond deeply to authenticity. And to enjoy the process. It may take a while to find the direction your blog should take, but it’s like trying on shoes. You can’t just pick the perfect pair and go, you have to try them on to see which ones fit well.
What tips can you share on attracting new readers to your blog?
My blog has grown by word of mouth and I am very active on my Facebook Fan Page. I usually post a photo of something that resounds with me as a Cuban (mostly Cuban food!) and my fans share and that brings me new readers. I also do giveaways and broadcast on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For Hispanic Heritage Month I started a feature where I have asked my readers to share their “Coming to America” stories and that has been quite a hit. Not only do I get to showcase my fans, but they are quick to share with family and friends. Also, I visit other blogs and leave comments. Believe me, bloggers always want to know where their own readers come from. If you are commenting on blogs similar to your own, you will quickly find a community.
What inspires your posts, what flavors do you love?
The things I write about have to be related to my own life. Being Cuban, I think, makes me a natural born storyteller. Again, when I write from my heart is when I best connect with my readers. Cuban food always begins with the Trifecta of Cuban Food Perfection, the Sofrito: onions, garlic, and peppers. That’s almost always the beginning of my favorite dishes. When I write, I try to find a “sofrito” – a good photo, a great story, and some humor.
What have you learned from blogging?
I am always surprised by the people that are reading and how they respond to me. They often write and tell me their own stories and I guess because I am so transparent in my writing, they feel like they know me and my big, fat, Cuban family. This makes me happy.
What are your goals for the future? I plan to do a lot more video blogging in the near future. I already have a YouTube Channel (I’m Smrtqbn) and I’m a good storyteller. I think it would be fun to take my blogging to a new, more visual level.
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Image Credit: My Big Fat Cuban Family