We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Tomko and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Heather, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
As a disabled woman, I don’t often see myself represented. It can be disheartening to feel invisible and unseen. I’m a huge reader of blogs and user of social media, but I didn’t see myself in any of those spaces either – or if I did, they were all focused on the medical side of disability. So I decided to create what I wanted to see and read! A space where I can share all about my life as a disabled woman – the more medical parts, yes, but also my love of style, the books I’m reading, and the rest of my life, too!

And what ended up happening was more than I ever could’ve hoped for. Not only have I helped people learn more about my life, I ended up really connecting with an incredible community.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My goal with my blog has always been to share my life, disability and all. My disability is a huge part of my life and my identity, but it’s not the only part of it, and that’s what I want to help people understand. But it can be tricky! It’s hard to know the right about of detail to share – how to help other people learn and understand about what it’s like to live as a disabled woman without giving away all of my privacy. It’s also important to me to share other things that I’m interested in, too, and not only talk about my disability and how inaccessible the world is. But what I’ve found is that blogging and social media isn’t a race, and it’s so important to remember that Instagram isn’t reality. Over the years, though, I’ve come to understand that if I share the type of content that I want to read, I’ll eventually find my people and my community, and it’s been incredibly fulfilling.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love getting to show off Pittsburgh! As a caffeine addict, Pittsburgh’s coffeehouses would be at the top of my list. I’d take them to Commonplace Coffee, to DeFer, to Redhawk, and to Adda. Ideally, we’d grab a coffee at Redhawk and take it to Schenley Plaza in Oakland – it’s less than a 5 minute walk – and grab one of the tables and hang out for a bit, maybe do some reading, too! And then we could get dinner at the Porch, conveniently located right there. Sharing Pittsburgh’s other incredibly restaurants would be high on my list, too! It’s hard to come up with a complete list because there are so many, but some other favorites are: Meat and Potatoes, Senti, Piccolo Forno, DiAnoia’s Eatery, and Spork. I also love a fun afternoon tea at the Cafe on the grounds of the Frick estate – we could tour the beautiful grounds after tea is done, too. We’d also have to grab some to-go BBQ from Rowdy’s one night – their ribs and brisket are amazing!

When you’re in Pittsburgh, you have to make sure to visit their museums! The Andy Warhol Museum is a personal favorite, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the Carnegie Museums, and the Mattress Factory is such a fun experience, too. We also have an incredible symphony and if there’s a musical touring at the time, I’d make sure we had tickets! And if there’s any more time, I’d take us to a concert at Stage AE or the Roxian.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To my family – who advocated for me before I learned how to advocate for myself, and to my friends – who believe in me even when I doubt myself

Website: https://theheatherreport.com/

Instagram: @theheatherreport

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heathertomko/

Twitter: @theheatherrepor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheHeatherReport

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.