Sarah Kieffer is a baker turned stay-at-home mom and she lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two kids. She’s the creator of The Vanilla Bean Blog, a food blog sharing her baking adventures with beautiful photography and unique recipes. She also works with Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg of the Artisan Bread in Five Cookbook series, and is a contributor to Handmade Charlotte. When she’s not baking, pinning, blogging, or taking care of the kids, she can be found with a good book, sewing, or taking a long walk. Sarah also shares that Ella Fitzgerald is playing quite often in the background of her home. Sarah’s talented baking skills, photography skills, and beautiful Pinterest account has earned her over 193K Pinterest followers!
When did you start using Pinterest and what inspired you to make an account?
I started using Pinterest almost right away – I didn’t think I would like it, but decided to try it anyway. I was instantly hooked.
Why do you like Pinterest?
I’ve found Pinterest to be rather soothing. I know some people complain it is a time waster, or that they feel depressed after using it (because they feel they need a better house, or clothes, etc), but I’ve always found it to be the opposite. I feel inspired after browsing, and want to create.
You have gained over 192K followers! Very impressive! So what makes your Pinterest unique?
I made a decision early on to only pin things I genuinely liked and were true to my personal style or interests. I also pin a lot of photography – images I find moving, honest, and beautiful.
Where are you from originally and where are you living now? What do you like about it there?
I grew up in Minnesota, and still reside there, although I’ve moved from the suburbs into the city. Minneapolis is great – it is beautiful, and there is plenty to do, with so many great places to eat and explore. It isn’t a large city, but I find that suits my personality just fine.
Have you traveled much? If so, where and when?
I’ve traveled some, but not a lot. In the states I’ve made it to California, Florida, Washington DC, and New York. I’ve also been to Russia and China. My husband lived in China for a year (teaching English) before we were married, and we took a trip to the city he lived in (Tianjin) 6 years ago. It was amazing, and our day at the Great Wall was one of the best days of my life.
Tell us more about your Pinterest boards. What are your favorite boards to pin on and why?
I’m very interested in photography, so I love pinning to all my photography boards. I also recently started a board entitled ‘motherhood’ and I find myself frequently moved by the images there; I have two littles of my own, and know how precious all those moments are.
I enjoy taking photographs, and I am constantly inspired by many of the images I find on Pinterest. I also was a baker for several years before I had children, and I love making cakes and finding unique ways to decorate them.
What is your Pinterest aesthetic/style?
I would say I’m a minimalist who is part hippy, part rustic, and part geek.
When did your passion for baking and photography start?
I fell in love with baking in college. I was working at a coffeehouse that made everything from scratch, and the owners not only taught me how to bake, but to care about the food I was making and the people I was serving it to. It’s what I love to do, and hope to do more of.
I’ve always loved taking pictures, but growing up I never thought photography was something I could pursue or afford. A few years ago I bought my first DSLR and I just started taking pictures of my children and playing around with food photography. It’s been a slow, growing process, and I have so much to learn, but through it I’ve discovered I love capturing moments and movement.
Tell us more about The Vanilla Bean Blog!
The Vanilla Bean Blog started 2 ½ years ago – I had another blog before it that focused on daily life, crafting, and recipes, but I found the food posts to be taking over everything, so I decided to start a space for the recipes. I realized in the process that I had no family food heritage – my mom was never crazy about cooking, and my Grandmothers never passed any recipes down. Baking was so important to me, and I wanted to have recipes for my children to know and love. So I started posting.
How has Pinterest helped your content/blog get more exposure?
Pinterest has helped a lot! Most of my blog traffic comes from subscribed readers and Pinterest.
What are your plans and hopes for the future?
Right now I am focusing on raising two little ones, and haven’t spent much time thinking too far ahead. I’ve always dreamed of having my own neighborhood café/bakery, so maybe one day!
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