Discover how Boston Blogger Attempts to give the Arts more “Air Time”
Leah claims she began blogging accidentally, but now her blog, Leah’s Life, brings her and others in the Boston community immense joy. Read our exclusive interview with Leah to discover how this Boston blogger attempts to give more “air time” to the arts.
How did you come up with the idea of starting your own blog? Tell us more about your blog, Leah’s Life?
I started blogging accidentally. I have a background in philosophy and spent most of my days during my years at McGill writing (in pen and paper-yes I’m just about that old). After, working for the non-profit, Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research, I realized that a traditional job in an office was not for me, so I became a teacher. Ever since I was little and to the dismay of my little brother, I loved being in charge, teaching skills, games, just about anything. So, I went to Lesley and studied creative arts in learning and got my Masters in Early Childhood Education. When I left teaching to have my children, I noticed that the thing I missed most, other than my ballet classes, was writing. I began a blog because I thought it was a personal diary of sorts. Once I got the ink flowing, I thought that I might like to try a little freelance writing and signed up for Examiner.com since it was an easy way to start. It is there, with the one penny per click pay model, that I quickly learned social media. Then the world of blogging came thundering over me like a roaring stream and I took off down that river with my dinghy and paddle and I’ve been trying to stay afloat in the white water ever since.
Why do you write?
I write for myself but I also write for my community. I love sharing experiences and resources with others. I truly believe that every positive experience I have is enjoyed first by my own joy and then I get to experience it again when I see others enjoy the same thing. I love writing a weekend guide and then seeing friends, colleagues, and neighbors share photos on social media of those very experiences I wrote about. I write about food because I think everyone deserves to eat well whether you’re new to cooking, new to canning, or new to the area and looking for a great place to dine out. I also write to support local chefs, artists, and artisans who work so hard to create some amazing things and often go unappreciated.
I grew up in a household and culture that placed the arts high up on the priority scale. I live in a culture that tends to place money, status, and material wealth higher than the arts. I write to try to give the arts a bit more “air time”.
At the moment, like my ideas and energy, my blog is not the most well organized, but I hope in the near future to make it a better resource as a whole for anyone living in the Boston area from teens and college students to grandparents.
Tell us about ‘Oh Baby! Boston’
OhBabyBoston is my identity on Twitter and Instagram. Even though my voice is that of a parent, I’m not your average soccer mom (well my kids don’t even play soccer but you get the gist). In fact, I think most parents are not your average anything (parents are all superhuman btw). My Instagram is me. It’s me when I was 10 years old and would storm out of the house and go for huge long walks in the neighborhood because being home felt suffocating and one of my parents made me mad. Those walks would have made a great Instagram feed of shadows, sidewalk chalk, and lucky pennies. It’s me when I was 5 and lying in the fresh cut grass staring at the clouds floating by. It’s me now as a parent of two fantastic, infuriating, fabulous, perfectly imperfect children and one equally so husband. It’s me as a traveler. It’s me as a former dancer. It’s my mind and eye that in some ways have never changed. It is my way of sharing what I notice and see and think. It’s my way of connecting with you, teaching you, and, in turn, learning from you.
What are your hobbies and interests?
My hobbies are probably: cooking, photography, and dancing. I also love to create and learn. I’ve learned to knit and sew. I love to try new things (I’m working on learning a little bit of Japanese for an upcoming trip with the family to Japan).
I cook for my family and friends. I don’t bake really (that’s my daughter and my friend Nadia’s specialty). I love to host little lunches, cocktail parties or dinners.
I was a photographer starting in middle school, but that was the dark room, black and white, photography world. Now in the age of digital photography, I am just an amateur starting to learn the technical stuff all over again. I think I still have a good eye, but I have a lot of learning to do before I could consider myself a photographer.
I spent most of my life dancing (from age 4 until my daughter was born 11 years ago). I recently have gotten myself back into the studio and even though my body has drastically changed, I’m older, more tired, and less flexible, I still feel most at home in a dance studio. I take the adult classes at Boston Ballet.
Describe your love for the city of Boston.
Boston is an underdog of a city. I used to always say Boston lives in the shadow of New York City. Moving from Montreal to Boston, I thought Boston was so conservative and had so little going on in terms of the arts and food. Now, having lived here for almost two decades, I know that Boston has a fabulous identity all its own. The arts in the city are here, you just have to look closely. In fact, some of the best musicians, dancers, chefs, artists, and artisans are all right here. There are no big Broadway lights and flashing neon signs. That’s just not our vibe here in Boston. What there is though is an incredible community. Boston is less cut-throat and more about collaboration among chefs, artists, scientists, and students. We have future stars living among us in just about any field of work there is. Some of my favorite things to do in Boston is walk. Like, Montreal, Boston is a city for walking.
I love sailing from the Community Sailing Club on the Charles. I love parking in East Boston by Piers Park and popping into KO Pies, then taking a water taxi to the North End. I love strolling through the Berkeley Community Garden in the South End to see little patches of flower gardens, and vegetable gardens filled with gargantuan Bitter Melons. I love playing ping pong in Harvard Yard with the kids outside the science center.
What about your love for food in Boston?
I love picking up our organic farm share at Lindentree CSA in Lincoln. I get a coffee just about daily at Sofra Bakery and Café in Cambridge. I enjoy writing and noshing at Forge Baking Company in Somerville and treating myself and the kids to a slice of pie from Petsi Pies on a school day afternoon. I love checking out the Farmers Markets each town is so different. I love catching up with my neighbors coming and going all morning and afternoon getting their coffee, breakfast or lunch when I blog from Sarah’s Market and Café. I love slurping oysters at B&G Oysters at the bar with my daughter after her ballet classes. I love escaping the snow into the warm, opulent Opera House to see Boston Ballet perform. I love stumbling upon quirky art installations like poetry on the sidewalks in Cambridge or Lego bricks built into the walls in Fort Point.
Tell us about an experience that changed your life drastically. It could be any story from your life that you would like to share with us.
Growing up, I was very shy. I still have a lot of that quiet shyness in me, but I don’t let the fear of having a voice, an opinion, a thought, have priority over other desires. I think that the experience of moving from my quiet little life (that still totally overwhelmed me) to a whole new life in France was a dramatic change that helped me be who I am today. Everything from going to public school in a whole new language, with a whole new culture and approach to education to going on hikes with my dad holding the wires of a live electric fence for us to climb through, forcing me out of my comfort zone on a daily basis, was so important for me.
How does this shape your life?
It shapes how I approach my own life, my life as a spouse (sorry Dan), and my parenting. I will share and understand my child’s hesitation and concern. I wasn’t much different myself. I will listen to their fears, but I am determined to teach them to not back down from anything because it’s beyond their comfort level. I remember hiking all day with my parents and brother and getting totally lost then hitchhiking our way back to our car. It was terrifying and exhilarating. I am often sad that I cannot provide those same opportunities (living in a different country, learning a second language fluently) to my children, but I hope I can give them the power that stepping over fear (however big or small) to get to a goal brings.
Now, as an adult, I get that same power from my friends and colleagues when I see them overcome the bumps and jolts that adulthood sends our way. Sometimes through my writing and photos, whether they are silly or serious, I hope I am also giving as much as I get from those around me