Blogging has changed the face of the Internet. It has given everyone the power to become virtual columnists who express personal thoughts to the world.
Today I’m happy to introduce somebody who is carving out her own space in the blogosphere: my sister-in-law Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi.
Steph, as the family fondly calls her, has always been a bag full of talents—whether it’s rapping (yup, as in hip-hop), cooking, hosting and writing. So it wasn’t surprising when she decided to launch her own lifestyle blog, stephaniezubiri.com, or SZC.
The idea had actually crossed her mind for the past several years, but she constantly put it off because, at the time, she said, “I didn’t feel I had enough to say, nor did I want to just spew random information about my daily life.”
But being hired to host for shows “Modern Living TV” and “Let’s Eat!” on ANC changed Steph’s perception. Exposed to various personalities, she was inspired to find another avenue to further share her experiences and teach others how to make their lives better and more enjoyable.
“Of course the blog remains very personal,” she said, “and I allow myself the liberty to recount memories, draw from personal experiences and, once in a while, ramble on about whatever may be preoccupying me at the moment.”
But Steph makes sure to keep a careful balance between personal and relevant. “Rather than being a diary of what I did, or what I wore, or what event I went to, I really wanted it to be useful,” she pointed out. “I wanted well-constructed posts that serves a timeless purpose—recipes with beautiful photos that you could incorporate in your every day meals, tips on entertaining at home, advice from experts or people I value, tried-and-tested products that could really be of use, all of which I add a personal spin to.”
She added: “And not everything is meant for only a feminine audience. There are articles on wine and liquor, even on cigars; I want men to visit the blog and feel comfortable to browse. I really want it to be a celebration of life, and the people and things that help make it better.”
Having this in mind, Steph carefully crafts and edits her material so that people visiting her blog will leave feeling uplifted. She wants people “to learn something new and find ways to inspire them to make even small changes that will make life more enjoyable—whether trying a new yoga pose to relieve backache, or cooking a new healthy recipe, or just getting inspired by a phrase or quote or maybe a personality I featured.”
On her blog, readers can take their pick from among her featured categories, as listed below, and go with whatever suits them best.
A La Maison—It’s all about making the everyday better. It included housekeeping tips, baby stories and Steph’s easy, breezy recipes.
Feast with Me—Spun off from her articles in another broadsheet, this section is about celebration and indulgence. You’ll find interesting tips, wine suggestions, favorite liquor and cocktails, even cigars. It’s all about sensory experiences and enjoying life’s little pleasures.
Design and Details—Inspired living and beautiful design are what drive this section. It’s not so much to showcase what’s new or what’s out there, but to focus on a well-curated life. From art to furniture, interior design, table decor or floral arrangements—it’s everything with an interesting visual story, as well as practical tips to spruce up a space.
Physique—What creams do you use to erase lines? How do you ease back pain? Favorite workouts? The perfect lip color? The best kind of dress for your shape? This category is all about physical self-improvement covering beauty, style, fitness and wellness.
People—Ten questions. Different answers. Professionals from all walks of life get the same set of questions. There is a focus on journalists and the people who often conduct the interviews and never really get interviewed themselves. It’s about celebrating people—who they are and what they have to say.
Furthermore—For everything else worth sharing.
What most readers will appreciate with this blog is its comprehensive nature, almost like a magazine, with Steph as editor in chief. She confirmed that, from the beginning, she already had an idea of what she wanted: I didn’t think of it as a blog, but constructed it like an online magazine. I didn’t want to replicate or emulate but to come up with my own thing.”
Her experience with her first website, travel blog thegypsetters.net (TGN), together with co-founder Vicki Abary, helped Steph take the next step.
“I realized that I was ready for that two-way street that the Internet had to offer,” said Steph. “To receive comments, suggestions and the like. A true interaction with your readers.”
Now that she is an official two-time member of the blogging community, she offered advice to those who would also like to create their own space in the cyber world: “First of all, start it not because you want to make money or capitalize on it, but because you are passionate about it. When Vicki and I started TGN, my husband was laughing at me and asking, ‘Why are you giving yourself extra work and not earning anything?’ All I could say was, ‘I don’t know, I love it!’
“It’s the same with SZC. Many people think I’m a chef or a foodie or a restaurateur first, but no, my first, true and everlasting love is writing.
“The other thing is, don’t make it all about you—unless it’s meant to be self-promotional. Make it about other people, places, things, anything you’re passionate about. Believe in what you post and the rest will follow.”
Though Steph finds herself busier with her new project, she is thrilled with the new challenges that each day brings. But this is exactly what happens when one is busy making one’s dreams come true.