Meet MJ: (@mjtam)
In her own words…
“It was 1999 when I first stumbled writing online. I was in the fashion industry at that time, and I was extensively traveling for work so during my flights and hotel stays, I started documenting my daily experiences on an online journal. I anonymously blogged my life as the new mom-to-be. I instantly connected and found a community of blogging women and next thing I knew; I became a big part of the first collaborative blogging network in the nation. My blogging hobby became a career, and since then I worked hard on keeping progressive and always at the forefront of the new media. Social Media became my business. I hosted branded Social Media campaigns, organized high-profile influencer events, and even created a blogging conference that ran for a few years. But behind all that, I continued to blog and tackled topics that meant to me the most: family and parenting.
Part of writing about parenting, I often look to discover places to go and experience with my kids in Chicago. Bringing them up in a big metropolitan city was vital to me as a parent of color. Chicago provided the many cultures that I wanted to surround my family. Chicago is a city of immigrants, rich in diversity, and a perfect place for me to raise my children. I ran around with them exploring neighborhoods from up North by Rogers Park to get some Indian groceries, Vietnamese food by Edgewater, Ethiopian food by Uptown, and of course, there’s Greektown, Little Italy, and Chinatown by me. I am passionate about this city and coined myself a Chicagonista.
A Chicagonista is someone who lives, loves and breathes everything Chicago, and with that, in 2008, I launched chicagonista.com (link), so I can share the vast richness of culture that this city offers. At Chicagonista.com I am joined together with talented and dynamic collaborators from diverse Chicago neighborhoods and backgrounds who share their voices en masse to help unearth some city gems that some may have never heard of like the Filipino Kamayan Feast (link) or about the new Taiwan-inspired Bakery (link) that just opened. Chicagonista.com also goes beyond Chicago. The site has covered travels from around the U.S. and as far as India (link) , Beijing (link), Malaysia (link), Japan (link), and many more!
In 2010 I also created and built the first Social Talk Show of Chicago called The #ChicagonistaLIVE Show . It was a Chicagonista.com come to life interactive show via live-streaming that garnered about 18million Twitter impressions during a one-hour show. I am proud to see that so many followed that path and now that everyone has easy access to doing live online shows, and as technology progress, I have to make sure that I keep up and stay ahead. So it’s that time again to respin, reinvent, or maybe morph the show into something different. Let’s just say; I’m not done yet!
Besides blogging, I also actively post and engage on Twitter and Instagram . There I often use tags #CapturingChicago, #Chicagonista, and #ChicagonistaLife to share a glimpse of my everyday Chicago life.”
*** Please follow along on instagram as well and learn more about MJ. This year for my birthday, I am embarking on a weekly photo essay project highlighting 52 Phenomenal Women. This is week 12 of 52. Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!***