This month, my hyperlocal journalism and blogging worlds collided with this feature story about Heather Hernandez, one of my fellow San Antonio bloggers, for a neighborhood publication produced by the Boerne Star. (Plus, I always love to illustrate that the term “mom blogger” is too narrow a definition for female bloggers with kids.)
When asked, Heather Hernandez says with delight that she’s a senior research engineer in the USAA innovation department, the information technology group responsible for creating the first mobile check deposit photograph. “I didn’t work on that project, but it came out of our group. I’ve only been at USAA for six years.”
A UTSA alumna, Hernandez studied computer science and math. “I loved my major, the logic behind it and discovering how to make technology do what I want it to do.”
She joined USAA first as an intern. “I was assigned to the application server team, and I was surrounded by great mentors. Our job was to make sure everything was online for our members, 24/7/365.”
Today her work for the San Antonio-based financial services group is intellectually stimulating and demanding. “We each put in a pretty solid day, every day,” she says. “It’s great work.”
In addition to her day job, Hernandez is a newlywed and the mom to an elementary-aged child. Thus, like a lot of working suburban moms, her calendar is packed. She still makes time, however, to develop and maintain a personal blog, Geekette Bits.
Hernandez launched her blog in 2010. In so doing, she joined ranks with what national marketing firm Scarborough Research estimated in 2012 to be 3.9 million “mom bloggers,” or “women with at least one child who have read or contributed to a blog within the last 30 days.”
The parent-centric moniker obscures the diversity of topics covered by women like Hernandez, however.
Hernandez’s Geekette Bits posts are an eclectic mix of stories, many of them tending toward money-saving tips and reflecting her skills as a researcher. Hernandez says her most popular post ever was on “the last Winter Olympics. I compiled all kinds of information on related activities, characters, and more so that people could find and make the most of the content. I streamlined a lot of information that was already out there. The post was on the first page of a Google’s search and for a little while it averaged 20,000 hits per day.”
Long-time fans know that Hernandez’s passion is for food, especially locally grown and prepared food. “From the beginning, my tagline, has been ‘Great Bits, Tasty Bytes.’ I’ve been a passionate foodie forever.”
As a food-loving blogger in a city with a growing foodie culture, Hernandez says she’s been able to enjoy access to chefs and events in ways that she might not be able to do as a blogger in New York or L.A. “It’s so easy for me to gain access to and talk to chefs here at food events. Some people remember [details about] football. Me? I remember dishes that chefs prepared at events two years ago.”
For Hernandez’s September 2012 wedding to Jonathan Walters at Éilan’s Hotel Resort and Spa, she partnered with a local chef to create a “revelation of food experience” for her guests. “Because of that indulgence, I went out of my way to look for ways to save money on my honeymoon,” she says with a chuckle. “I also did a post on best places to register to get free stuff, too. I’m working on some posts on DIY wedding crafts for the blog right now because I did a lot of crafts on my own.”
She credits her interest in budget-friendly strategies in part to her time as a single mom. “I learned how to save money during that phase of my life, and I won’t forget it. There are many different ways to do that, but you have to take the time to figure it out. I like to teach people what I know through the blog.”
Hernandez, who regularly interacts online and in person with local bloggers, believes that blogging “opens up the world. It’s a grassroots movement, and I feel more engaged with the community here because of it.”