Friday, July 8, 2011

SheCon Lovely: Maria de los Angeles

The SheCon Lovely feature is my way of introducing my readers to the new friends that I made while attending SheCon '11 in Miami, Florida in May. Rather than doing one post with only my thoughts on the conference and telling you about those that I met, I thought it would be more fun for you to read opinions from more people while meeting them firsthand through a guest post.

To read what the previous SheCon Lovelies had to say, click here.

Today we're meeting Maria who blogs at Sex and the Beach. 

*Tell us a little about yourself and your blog (your name, your blog name and any meaning behind it, what you write about, WHO you are, etc.)
I’m Maria de los Angeles, a freelance writer based out of South Florida. I’m the publisher of Sex and the Beach, a blog I started about six years ago as a place to practice my writing craft in a carefree way, since my friends had encouraged me to publish some of the funny and crazy things I tend to blurt out in mixed company. I’d never written humor before – I was an academic and poet before I became a journalist. Sometime in between all of that I also worked as a grant writer, raising funds for a major cultural institution.

Early Sex and the Beach was semi-fictional. I used a penname to write about being single in South Beach, but since then it has evolved as I have in real life, as every artist should. Today I write about all kinds of things – including travel, pirates and social media.

I was also involved in the Ford Fiesta Movement, which helped me generate great content
about adventures with a car. But the tag line is still the same: “a single woman’s guide to
chronic living.” I’m still single and so it’s just kind of how I see the world, with my voice and idiosyncrasies.

Blogging has brought me some really interesting writing gigs, such as a Social Media
column for the Miami New Times, a Sex and Relationships column for Citylink Magazine
and guest contributions over at Tiki Tiki Blog. I’m also an online community moderator for and a blogging instructor. Some social media consulting jobs have fallen in my lap, but that’s not something I intentionally set out to do.

I also co-host a weekly online radio show called Social Chats, where we discuss local people, events, places and a bit of social media.

*Have you been to any other blogging or social media conferences before? If so, which ones?
I’ve been to Blogalicious and several Barcamps in South Florida. During SheCon, I also
presented at the Empowered Women’s Summit. I have attended countless Social Media Club South Florida meetings and although I’m not a board member, I’ve been involved in supporting the group since its inception. I have spoken as a panelist or presented at many professional events, such as Chamber of Commerce small business workshops, artist workshops, public relations seminars, undergraduate and graduate courses at local universities, etc.

*What were some of your reasons for attending SheCon?
I had a panel on Social Media and Diversity as well as a presentation on Travel Blogging at
SheCon. But as a blogger, I wanted to support South Florida’s first homegrown conference devoted to blogging and to meet the many other wonderful bloggers who attended.

*Who were your favorite speakers and why?
I loved Guy Kawasaki. He is always so inspiring and I love the simplicity of his message – both its form and content. I also enjoyed Aliza Sherman’s sass, wit and insight. (What’s not to love about that boa?) All of the presenters were great though – it’s hard to choose a favorite.

My panel with Blanca Stella Mejia (@miamishines) and Jeannette Kaplun (@jeannettekaplun) featured a last minute special guest – Laura Tellado (@laurita86) who writes a blog about her experience with Spina Bifida. It was so inspiring to see her courageously step up to the dais at our impromptu request. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s a true role model.

*What do you think is the most important thing you learned from the SheCon presentations?
That we all have so much common ground and that we have much to learn from each other. It’s not just about the presentations either. You learn a lot by sharing while networking and socializing. I get inspired when I can encourage people to follow their self-publishing dreams and I was able to do some of this over the weekend.

*What do you think is the most important thing you learned from the conference as a whole?
Again, just being with a group of creative women finding a sense of entrepreneurship through self-publishing was the greatest highlight.

*What were your favorite events/activities?
Does late night karaoke after a few cocktails count? Actually, I really enjoyed a cocktail party hosted by Calliope Games. It was great to meet other self-publishers while playing board games – a great way to connect and break the ice. The Wine Sisterhood Suite was totally fun, too. I might as well give props to GM as well … I took advantage of their Chevy rides and got chauffeured around South Beach!

*What advice would you give to someone who has never attended a conference and is
considering one in the future?

Don’t even think twice about it! You can’t blog in a vacuum. Get out there and network. Share with others what you know and learn from others as well. Trust me, even the absolute beginner has something of value to share. We all do. Blogging is just a way to manifest what you already know and are passionate about.

If money is an issue, then start your own event in your community. It doesn’t have to be some elaborately planned thing. Connect with other bloggers. Rally a group of them together for happy hour. It’s really that simple. Good community building starts small and grows organically.

Just because you don’t think you’re a leader doesn’t mean you don’t have the potential to be one. Six years ago, I never dreamed I would be where I am today. Just keep following your passion.

*Is there anything else you’d like to share about your SheCon experience?
I just want to thank SheCon and its organizers for a great experience.


  1. What a great post & such great advice, which I think is applicable many things, not just blogging (certainly application re: the conferences I go to for research purposes).

    Kelly @
    Elegantly Academic

  2. Another great post about your SheCon lovelies. Everyone sounds like they had such a wonderful experience!

  3. Sounds like a fun blog, will definitely check it out

  4. I'm inspired and energized now! I wonder how she seeks out her freelance opportunities.

  5. Thanks for this, Melissa!

    TiAnna, I do a lot of networking but every single writing gig I have gotten in the last six years has been because of the blog. It's a on-going, constantly refreshed portfolio.

  6. This blog sounds like a lot of fun so I am going to check it out! I am still trying to understand what freelance opportunities mean in the world of blogging. Styling? Writing a post? Hmmm!

  7. Love this interview and and btw I just LOVE that photo of her and the parrot...I adore all birds!!

  8. Maria is a true community builder in South Florida and besides being happy to have her as a friend, she enriches my life with her spontaneous humor all the time!

  9. B. Inspired, for me, freelance opportunities mean freelance writing and/or social media related jobs.

    There are also events, projects and sponsorships that don't pay cash but still provide lots of perks and benefits.

    Blanca, that is so sweet, thank you! You are an inspiration to me as well.

    Katherine, I'm crazy about birds! Thank you!

  10. Kelly,I used to be in academia. It certainly does apply! Nice outfits, by the way.

  11. i love all the positive vibes from this post! great interview!

    cute & little
    $100 Fresh Faces Giveaway

  12. What a great lady. I would love to check out her blog.

  13. SheCon sounds like such a great opportunity. I'm so jealous!!!!
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  14. Thanks everyone! Yes @bonnie, SheCon is a good opportunity. I believe there is another planned for next year. There are other blogger conferences out there as well.


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