If you’ve not yet come across Hola Irela, you’re in for a treat. Irela’s blog is one of my all-time favourite reads. I discovered it a few months ago, and fell hard for Irela’s wonderfully light and airy photographs, and her blog’s simple, minimalist vibe. She’s also just about the only person who could tempt me into trying vegan recipes, since hers always look so delicious! Irela took some time out to answer a few of my questions, so let’s get to know this wonderful lady and her sweet blog a little better!…
What made you want to start writing a blog? Do you remember the moment in which you fell in love with blogging, or has it been a gradual thing?
I’d been toying with the idea of writing a personal blog for quite some time. In the past I’ve had journals which I guess could be considered “blogs” but I quickly tired of them. I was never really happy with what I was contributing and often felt like it was a waste of time. One night in November last year, I finally took the plunge and decided to start “Hola Irela!”. I made a vow to myself that this blog would be my own little personal haven and that no matter what happened I would always remain 100% true to my beliefs, ideas, words and photos. I can’t wait to look back twenty years from now at my blog to see how far I’ve come and how many obstacles I’ve surpassed.
What three words would you use to sum up ‘Hola Irela’?
Optimistic, Unconditional, Personal
What’s been the best thing you’ve learnt or discovered in the past year?
How strong and self-sufficient I can be.
I moved out exactly six months ago and I never thought I would be able to fend for myself so easily. Being an only child, my parents were always very doting (too doting, really) and therefore I never really had to do much for myself. I always thought moving out would be a long process but I took to my independence quite easily. I wouldn’t have it any other way now. I feel like I’ve finally began to grow up, and being able to chronicle this on my little blog is a blessing.
Where do you take your inspiration from? Is there anything you do to help recover from writer’s (or photographer’s!) block?
I’m inspired daily by the world around me. I love to capture small things that maybe others wouldn’t pay much attention to such as a browning leaf, or patterns on a pretty dish. Photography serves as a way to journal my life, therefore all my photos are in a way small mementos.
I don’t really look for ideas or subjects to photograph or write about, I pretty much just share whatever I happen to come across or seems interesting to me. This really prevents me from suffering from writer’s block. As a result sometimes I post sporadically, but I think of my blog as a personal journal, therefore I don’t really feel much pressure to present content. Not being on a time crunch really helps to make the whole blogging experience a pleasant and enjoyable one.
How long have you and your wonderful man Patrick been together? How did you meet? :)
Patrick and I have been together for nine years, this November 30th will be our tenth anniversary! We actually met online, on a website called DeviantArt. I fell in love with his photography and left a comment on his page once. We shortly began emailing back and forth and a month later we met in person. Luckily we lived really close by! It really was love at first sight, we’ve been inseparable ever since!
Your photography is always so stunning! Will you tell us a little about your process when it comes to shooting, and share a top tip or two?
Thank you so much Rosie! The only requirement I have when I take photos is natural light. It doesn’t matter how great the subject matter might be, without the right lighting it won’t translate successfully to a photograph. I don’t really like to do much processing, I find it tedious and time consuming. I try to always use a 50mm prime lens, because it’s really sharp, lets in lots of light and has great depth of field.
Tips? The ones I live by! Invest in a 50mm lens and shoot in natural light.
What’s made you happiest in the past week?
I went out on a little dinner date with Patrick on Saturday to one of our favorite Japanese restaurants. We hadn’t been on a date in quite some time and it was so nice to sit back and enjoy fancy drinks with my favorite guy. Little dates like that one are good for the soul.
And lastly, you’re from Cuba, right? J What’re your favourite things about Cuban culture? Any wonderful Cuban dishes you feel the world should know about?
Yes I am! My parents and I moved to the US when I was about 8 years old but I maintain a very close relationship with my family still living in Santiago. I might be a little biased here but I love how warm and friendly Cubans are. We really are a fun bunch! In our culture family is extremely important, and we hold our loved ones very close to our hearts. Even though I’ve been raised in the United States I try very hard to make sure I still radiate the warmth and friendliness that characterizes my people.
And the food…oh the food!!! Even though I am Vegan, I still lust after all the Non-Vegan goodies I grew up eating. Everyone surely knows about rice and beans but some of my favorite dishes are Arroz con Pollo (Yellow rice and chicken simmered with beer and chicken stock), Ropa Vieja (shredded beef in tomato-based sauce) and Fufú de Plátano (mashed plantains with pork in a mojo sauce made with olive oil and lots of garlic). And I can’t forget the delicious Pastelitos (puff pastries filled with guava fruit jam or ground beef) and Papas Rellenas (fried mashed potato balls filled with ground beef). When it comes to food I could sit here and write all day!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, lovely Irela! You should know how much it pleases me to have these posts as an excuse for asking questions. I *love* asking lots of questions of people, so this is basically the best thing ever! ;)
Head over to Irela’s blog by clicking *here*, and say hello!
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