Blowin’ in the Wind (or “Where Do All the Bloggers Go?”)

Am I the only one who wonders what has happened to some of the blogs I have followed in the eight months since I have discovered the world of blogging?  I realize I have not seen a post from a favored blog in quite some time, and I pull up the blog’s home page periodically, watching time grow longer and longer since the last post.  Did some tragedy befall the blogger?   Did life just get in the way, such that the hours in the day no longer were enough to include a blog post now and then?  Did the novelty of blogging wear off?

Or, sometimes there is the abrupt “pulled the plug” message that appears when I click on a gravatar, or look for a blog I have missed:

xyzblog.wordpress.com is no longer available.

The authors have deleted this site.

“What!?”  I think, “But, they didn’t say goodbye!”

As we said our goodbyes to one of our four-legged family members this week, I was touched by some of the stories and personal notes left by bloggers old and new.  I was again reminded of the diversity of personalities, interests and creativity in the blogosphere.  Those who have not discovered the world of blogs and bloggers are missing out on a rich and rewarding community.

So, it is with gratitude I say “thank you” to those who take the time to recognize my efforts, which vary in creativity and/or intellect (or lack thereof) from day to day!  The admiration is mutual, so I encourage you to visit their blogs, even if you have been blogging for some time, because you may discover a new or previously unknown blogging voice that resonates with you.  As an added twist, I have provided a link to one of the nominators “random” posts. (Did you know that when you hover over the blog’s name in the upper lefthand corner in the WordPress menu bar at the top of your page, an option of “Random Post” appears in the drop-down menu?  Can be an interesting way to explore a “new” blog.)

Shelbur 10 ~ The “Liebster” award 

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Thank you Shelbur 10, whose “slice of life” posts include ones like “Five Ways to Master School Projects.”    An award often bestowed upon newer blogs, with questions created by the nominator for the nominee to answer, and each new nominee nominating worthy blogs and creatively drafting new questions for response.  Shelbur 10 posed these questions to me:

  1. Beef or chicken.  Why?  Actually, I am a buffalo fan when it comes to protein (I shared my love of “Wild Idea Buffalo” in this post, or other organic, sustainable and humane sources of protein.
  2. What is the thing that you’re the most proud of accomplishing?  Raising my children (although I am not done — are we ever? — and perhaps the jury is still out on that by those who may judge our parenting skills a success, or not!)
  3. Where’s the most interesting place you’ve ever visited, or the place you’d most like to visit?  As you know, I enjoy travel, and Italy holds a special spot in my heart, but so many destinations are like comparing apples to oranges it’s hard to pick just one!
  4. Do you cook?  Why or why not?  Yes, but my husbands cooks more.  Why?  Because I like to eat!
  5. What is your favorite thing you’ve ever written?  Was is received the way you expect and/or hoped?  One of my favorite blog posts since I started would be the one titled “Important Life Lessons That Family Travel Has Taught Me.” 
  6. Your very favorite pick-me-up song?  I always get a smile when I hear “Praan” come up on my iPod rotation — maybe it is because I always am reminded of the inspiring travel video “Where the Hell is Matt?  2008” which introduced me to this music.      
  7. Do you opt for convenience or sustainability?  Aka: paper plates or extra dishes to wash?  (ps, there are no wrong answers, cause I do both) Sometimes paper plates at the cabin due to lack of running water, but otherwise we do strive for sustainability in this family with most activities we pursue.
  8. What is one word that you always misspell?  Misspelling is not as bad as mispronouncing . . . I tend to do the latter more often than I care to admit.
  9. What is your stance on raisins?  Healthy treat or unwelcome chewy devil? Healthy treat.
  10. Do you find spontaneity exciting or unsettling?  As a typical Type A, I admit I find it unsettling, as I am a planner, but I am getting better as I age.
  11. What is your favorite beverage?  A dark roast coffee or red wine, depending on the day (or time thereof).

Tiny Lessons Blog and Hearing With the Eye ~ Versatile Blogger Award              

Many thanks to Tiny Lessons Blog, who takes us traveling, reflecting and dining — like when she took us on a whirlwind Egyptian food tour in “Kushari and the Thousand Crunches.”

With appreciation to Hearing With the Eye, a young woman wise beyond her years, whose random post directed me to “Happy Friendship Day!” but whose musings often wander much farther afield with some of her exotic travels.

slowgirlfastdog and Maple & Saffron ~ Very Inspiring Blogger Award  Awww shucks - thanks!

In gratitude to slowgirlfastdog, whose blog resonates with me as another runner with a running dog (in my case, a lab, in her case, whippets!).  The random post feature directed me to her most recent post, “We Should Use the Word ‘Super’ More Often.”

And, grazie to Maple & Saffron, a culinary and travel delight to the senses, who have inspired me to place Abruzzo on the travel bucket list when (yes, when, not if!) I return to Italy some day!   Their post “Il regno incantato” was my random post response — Google Translate let me know all about a magical place in the woods in Nova Scotia!

The so-called “rules” for the Versatile Blogger and Very Inspiring Blogger awards are similar, so I have grouped for sake of brevity (although I think we may as well throw away the idea of being short-winded at this point of my post!)

  • Thank the person who gave you this award
  • Include a link to their blog
  • Select 15 of your favorite blogs/bloggers to nominate for the Versatile Blogger Award
  • Share 7 things about yourself

Seven things about me?

  1. Before my husband and I had children, we enjoyed researching genealogy — this was before the internet resources really developed, so it meant trips to the local Family History Center (Mormon family history research library) and reviewing microfiche (after kids, the hours in the day never seemed to quite be accommodating enough for activities like this).
  2. I love arugula.
  3. I hate eggplant (don’t care how you try to dress it up, I still know it’s there).
  4. I am pretty respectable with my chainsaw skills, and perfectly fell an overgrown cedar tree that was at the front of our hose, avoiding the other decorative bushes and trees in the yard.
  5. One of the books currently on my nightstand (I always have a few going at once)?  Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray
  6. First song that pops up on my iPod when I hit shuffle this time?  Sarah McLachlan’s “Do What You Have to Do.”
  7. What else could you possibly need to know about me?

Bending the rules a bit, I have nominated 15 blogs total, 5 for each award, and tried not to duplicate any award nominations I have previously made.  And the envelope please:

Liebster Award Nominees:

  1. Circle Tour Adventures
  2. thelifebus
  3. The Beauty Along the Road
  4. Diplomatic Dog
  5. lucindalines

Versatile Blogger Award Nominees:

  1. Back Road Journal
  2. On the Homefront
  3. Breezy Books
  4. alesiablogs
  5. My Caymanian Life

Very Inspiring Blogger Award Nominees:

  1. From the Bartolini Kitchens
  2. Grimm’s Furry Tail
  3. Canoe Communications
  4. Tricia A. Mitchell
  5. Spontaneous Tomato

As usual, I invite the nominees to do what they like with the nomination, and feel no obligation to respond, but know they are read and enjoyed (so, please don’t go “blowin’ in the wind” on me!).  And, I do recognize some of the nominated blogs do not make a practice of participating in the awards process.  I still wanted to pass on my gratitude for the blogs they have created — some full of creative beauty, others full of personal musings, all reflecting time and effort of their authors.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Taking a Moment to Say Thank You

Since my current archive of photographs is not inspiring a response to this week’s photo challenge theme of “Kiss”, I will take this post opportunity to instead say thank you to several bloggers who have been kind enough over the past couple of months to pass awards my way!  I enjoy reading others’ award posts for the opportunity to get to know a blogger a bit better, for the introduction to new blog voices out there, or for the reminder of old blog voices I have missed along the way.

Maddie at Breezy Books flattered me with the 2012 Blog of the Year Award. I have a Susan Hunter mystery loaded on my nook and look forward to finding time to read the first in the series authored by Maddie!  Check out her often humor-filled posts, as well as her series of mystery books.

Blog of the Year Award 2 star jpeg

Across the Bored generously listed Travel. Garden. Eat. when nominating blogs for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!  I enjoy the varied nature of Across the Bored’s musings, and know you would, as well.  I was flattered to receive another nomination for this award shortly thereafter from Hearing with the Eye!  Sumithra is a young woman with an inspiring voice who I know will continue to make her mark on this world.

very-inspiring-blog-award20121   very-inspiring-blog-award20121

Taking to the Open Road nominated my blog for its first Versatile Blogger Award!  Peggy’s blog takes readers all over the world with its travel photos and insights — a wonderful opportunity to vicariously travel while building the bucket list.

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Another nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award came from Dorothy of Musings of a Horse Mom.  Dorothy actually has a couple of different blogs that I enjoy, including Eyes to Heart (whose response to the photo challenge “Kiss” this week definitely touches your heart!).

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I continue to enjoy so many of your blogs and am always amazed at all of the talent and creativity this world holds.  In the interest of space and time, I will pick the “rules” of just one of the awards to pay it forward this time — the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

The rules of the award are:

1. Display the award logo on your blog

2. Link back to the person who nominated you

3. State 7 things about yourself:

  1. I will soon be accompanying my oldest son for several college visits in Boston and Washington, D.C., and look forward to enjoying fresh seafood that can be a scarce commodity in Minnesota!
  2. I came from two biochemist parents and to their horror took Physical Anthropology to satisfy my science credits for my undergraduate degree.
  3. I do not believe that food can have too much garlic.
  4. I am a night owl.
  5. I am a “Downton Abbey” fan.
  6. I am not sure I will be able to finish my book club’s next read, “Big Breasts Wide Hips” by Mo Yan, the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature.
  7. Despite living in Minnesota for over 20 years, I enjoyed my first sauna only a few years ago. (Look for a future post on Minnesota sauna culture soon!)

4. Nominate other bloggers for this award and link to them.  

I would like to recognize some of the more recent blogs I have been delighted to discover:

Ciao! ~ Kat

Year-End Statistics, Award Trivia, and More ~ This is What Happens When a Cold Bug Plants a Blogger at the Computer for the Day

With disappointment, I look outside at the fresh layer of snow and sunny skies, knowing that cross-country skiing conditions would be lovely today . . . as I sit with stuffy head and achy body, struggling to open the darn childproof packaging of the Dayquil softgels, telling myself the holiday visit to New York City was worth the lousy cold/flu bug I picked up along the way.  I have decided that sitting at the computer is a perfect sedentary activity for the day, since doing laundry last night about wiped me out.  At least I can tackle one item on the year-end neverending organizational and decluttering list today . . . organizing digital photos. (I could sit at the computer for the next decade and probably still have digital photos to review and organize!)

While I was drafting this post, I read 3rdculturechildren’s post on statistics so have taken the liberty of adopting some of her format for my own post (just chalk it up to my stuffy head and runny nose, and forgive my lack of creativity!).  As the year draws to a close, I reflect back on my first four months of blogging, starting with that first post: “The Pecorino of Pienza” which was published on August 10, 2012.

Since then, my little Travel.Garden.Eat. blog has seen 8,383 views with 1,177 comments.  Visitors from 82 different countries have stopped by to take a look!

Map Showing Views by Country
Map Showing Views by Country

The top search terms that have brought people to my blog are:

devils tower 116
italianate architecture 19
raspberries 12
bentleyville 12
bentleyville duluth mn 2012 11

The top 10 posts by “views” for all time (since starting the blog in August) are:

Since commencement of this blog, the top 10 most-commented posts of all time are:

Post Comments
Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal 45
Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections 41
You Flatter Me, Blogger Friends! 41
Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful 39
About Kat B.’s Blog 39
Peaceful Sunday at the Feeder 37
Memories of the Lovable but Dimwitted Duo 35
“30 Days of Blessings, Condensed” Challenge 30
Weekly Photo Challenge: Big 30
Vivaldi and La Sainte-Chapelle: A Transcendental Travel Experience 28

I am grateful to each of you who take the time to comment, “like” and interact by replying to comments left on your own blogs.  The blogosphere is a fascinating, illuminating community, and I look forward to our continued interactions in 2013.

Speaking of illuminating, though, before I turn to decluttering the computer, I need to express my gratitude for a couple of award nominations for the Illuminating Blogger Award from Cancer in my Thirties and The Serenity Space.

Cancer in my Thirties writes a blog about her ongoing battle with aggressive breast cancer with reminders to enjoy the little things in life along the way.  Her posts often leave me reflecting on what is really important, and to remember to appreciate the moments along the journey of life, because we don’t know where or how long that path may go.

The Serenity Space reminds us to live a mindful life, and to continuing growing as we find or redefine ourselves throughout our lives.  She also posts some beautiful images from life in Queensland, Australia.  I encourage you to stop by both of these blogs when you have a chance, if you are not familiar with them.

breast cancer in my thirties cancerinmythirties.wordpress.com 30s

Because I am planted in a sedentary position for the day, I actually searched for the origins of this award and found this post from Food Stories Blog:  the Illuminating Blogger AwardFood Stories originally suggested the following response to an Illuminating Blogger nomination:

  1. The nominee should visit the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/) and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners).
  2. The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.
  3. The Nominee should include a courtesy link back to the official award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/) in their blog post.
  4. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.
  5. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award. Many people indicate that they wish they could nominate more so please feel free to nominate all your favorites.
  6. Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/).

Hmmm, one random thing about myself  . . .  I love planning travel almost as much as the trip itself sometimes!  Researching the history of a destination, the cultural sights, hidden gems for dining and exploration, and insider’s tips for maneuvering the in-demand attractions.

My five “Illuminating Blogger” nominations go to some of my favorite illuminating and informative bloggers (although there are many more!):

  1. 3rdculturechildren ~ life of a globetrotting family of 5 in the U.S. foreign service
  2. The Choice ~ the N.Y. Times blog on college admissions and financial aid (essential for any parent and student in the midst of the college search process!)
  3. Peri’s Spice Ladle ~ for anyone interested in Indian cuisine and cooking
  4. The Green Study ~ the recent series of posts regarding volunteer work is a great way to kick off your 2013
  5. Backpacking Kids ~ her recent series discussing technology addiction in kids is thoughtful and well-done

I do believe it is time for another hot cup of tea.  Cheers and blog on!

Ciao! ~ Kat

You Flatter Me, Blogger Friends!

Recently, I read a blog post by Peter Bregman, one of my favorite business-related bloggers in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network.  He posted a thoughtful commentary titled: “Do You Really Need to Say Thank You?”   His post was an excellent reminder of the virtue and value of those two little words — “thank you.”  No matter what the setting or the context, and whether it be a compliment, a positive communication, or a kind action, acknowledgement is important.  I encourage you to read Mr. Bregman’s post, which has application beyond the business world, as he so accurately conveys the passion, vulnerability, and sincere interests that so many of us share when we communicate by our posts and commentary throughout the blogosphere.

As I read his post, I was reminded of the need to formally thank several blogger friends for their kindness in thinking of Travel. Garden. Eat. when it came time to nominating blogs for various awards.   Thank you!

I waffle between feeling cynical about these things and appreciating them —  I discovered many of my favorite blogs through others’ awards posts, and I enjoy getting to know other bloggers I follow through some of the tidbits they share in their “acceptance posts.”  The “awards process” is subjective — we all enjoy different blogs for different reasons, and the diversity just adds to the rich content of the blogging community.  Ultimately, though, I do think these awards are a nice way to introduce newer blogs we have discovered and help expand their audience, while also providing yet another way to just say “thank you” to longstanding blogs we enjoy on a regular basis.  And I would be lying if I said I did not feel that happy skip in my heart when I receive note of a blogger’s acknowledgement of my blogging efforts (just as I do when I receive a particularly heartfelt comment)!

RunningKatTales (now how could I not follow another Kat’s blog!?) honored me with the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award.”  Kat’s blog provides motivation to get outside and run with the dog or a friend, even on those cold and snowy days!  She is gearing up for a half-marathon and I enjoy sharing her journey.  It has been a couple of years since I last found time to train for a half, so I train vicariously through others like Kat for now.  Thank you, Kat!

As an award recipient, there are “rules” to follow. They are:

  • Display the award logo on your blog. ~ yep
  • Link back to the person who nominated you. ~ done
  • State 7 things about yourself. ~ OK, OK
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them. ~ check
  • Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements. ~ in process

Seven things about me?

  1. I have items of clothing I have not worn in years because they need a button sewn or hem repaired . . .
  2. I love having all four seasons (although in Minnesota, we tend to skip spring and go straight from winter to road construction season).
  3. When I was young I made library cards for my books and would not let my younger sister “borrow” them unless she “checked them out.”
  4. I have never had a broken bone.
  5. I am thankful my boys have taken up nordic/cross-country skiing and moved away from downhill skiing — as I hit my 40’s I increasingly became paranoid about falling and breaking a bone.
  6. I like liver and onions (my mom would only make the dish when my dad was not home, as he could not stand the smell).
  7. I can’t let the holiday season go by without watching “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

In the spirit of “keeping the blogosphere a beautiful place,” the following blogs with primarily photography-focused content fit the bill.  I encourage you to check them out if you have not before (or certainly continue to follow if you already do):

Prego and the Loon nominated me for the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award”!  Her blog provides food for thought on an issue that deserves as much awareness and attention toward prevention as possible — domestic violence and abuse.  Thank you, Prego!

The rules for receiving this award are as follows.

  1. Provide a link and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award. ~ check
  2. Answer 10 questions. ~ see below
  3. Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read. ~ see below again
  4. Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know that they have been nominated. ~ working on it
  5. Include the award logo within your blog post. ~ done

The Questions to be answered:

  1. Your favorite color?  Blue.
  2. Your favorite animal?  I have become somewhat partial to black labs.
  3. Your favorite non-alcoholic drink?  Coffee.
  4. Facebook or Twitter?  Facebook.
  5. Your favorite pattern?  This time of year, anything with snowflakes comes to mind.
  6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents?  Giving presents.
  7. Your favorite number? I have to go with Prego’s response on this one: “I can’t even pretend to like one individual number.”
  8. Your favorite day of the week?  It really depends on the week . . .
  9. Your favorite flower?  Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower)
  10. What is your passion?  Travel is right up there — both traveling myself as well as armchair traveling vicariously through others photos and stories.

Living in my house of testosterone I have no aversion toward bloggers of the opposite sex, but keeping with the theme of the award, I am passing on this honor to other “sisters” in the blogging world who share much joy through their blogs:

Did you know if you enter the word “Liebster” in the topic search for WordPress you can find three or four variations and badges for this award?  Fat Lies and Fairytales was kind enough to nominate me for the award generally going to blogs with less than 200 followers (and her award post reflects one of the “other” Liebster awards that goes to blogs with less than 3000 followers).  I enjoy following Fat Lies and Fairytales for her eye-catching photography, edgy humor, and diverse musings on life.  Thank you, “FLAF” for bestowing this honor upon Travel. Garden. Eat.!

The Rules for the Liebster Award are as follows:

  • Link back to the blogger who gave you this award ~ check
  • Post the award to your blog ~ check
  • Post 11 things about yourself. ~ how much do you really want to know about me?  I am going to assume what I shared above and below are plenty!
  • Answer the questions asked of you (I dodged this bullet since Fat Lies forgot to pose questions to me :-)), plus create 11 new questions for your nominees to answer ~ can I say that I fully appreciate any nominated bloggers who decide to massage the rules on this one, but should you decide to pull out all the stops I have created a list of 11 new questions below!
  • Nominate 11 people you think deserve the award and link them to your post. ~ check (see below)
  • Go to their pages and tell them they have been chosen. ~ I’m getting there
  • (one of the posts I saw regarding this award also said “no tag backs” which I assume means “pay it forward, don’t pay it back”)

I cannot confirm with all that they have less than 200 followers, but some are newer to me so I have included!  Congrats and check out these Liebster nominees:

If you are a glutton for punishment, nominees, I do look forward to your responses to the following questions (I have tried to create questions that don’t require labor-intensive answers!):

  1. A place you have never traveled to that is on your travel bucket list?
  2. Book you are currently reading?
  3. Have you ever bungee-jumped?
  4. Morning bird or night owl?
  5. How long have you been blogging?
  6. Which movie can you watch again and again?
  7. One of your favorite quotes?
  8. Your favorite recipe (in full or via link)?
  9. Pet peeve?
  10. If you could invite anyone to join you for dinner — fictional or real, from the past or the present — who would you invite?
  11. Your favorite blog post — from your blog!

Hey, is anyone still out there?  I would like to nominate anyone still reading this post at this point for the 2012 Blogger of the Year award!

But, first, I have to gratefully thank Frankfurtmalin for the generous award nomination of 2012 Blog of the Year.  Malin has so many lovely posts, thankfully many in English since my Swedish skills are nil! — reflections on motherhood with a recent beautiful new addition to her family, photography, and everyday life of an opera singer in Europe!  Grazie, Malin!

I have decided to approach this award like the Oscars “Best Picture” award for movies — while there are many, I am going to pick just one.  I would like to honor “Lake Superior Spirit” with this nomination, in recognition of Kathy’s inspiring, motivational, beautiful, spirit-filled posts, time and time again.  If you  have not had the pleasure of a visit to Kathy’s blog, spend some time exploring her posts old and new.

Here are the rules to accept this award:

  1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award ~ this was difficult, truly, because I enjoy so many different blogs and so many different bloggers for so many different reasons!
  2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award. ~ see below!
  3. Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!) ~ yes, sir!
  4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them ~ soon enough!
  5. You can now also join our Facebook page – click the link here ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience 6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

With my first “Blog of the Year” nomination, I receive one nomination, and the following badge:

So thankful I did not have to try and color in the lines myself . . .

Now that I am likely left talking to myself at the end of this long-winded post, I bid you adieu until next time.  Thank you to all of you who fill my Reader with tantalizing dishes, thought-provoking discussions, stunning images, and humourous tales.

Ciao! ~ Kat

So Many Beautiful, Lovely Blogs

Having recently recalled my first impression after stepping off the plane in Paris, in this week’s response to the Weekly Photo Challenge, merci beaucoup seemed the appropriate response to words of appreciation from three of my fellow bloggers.  While many view these informal blogging awards with some cynicism (or worse), I admit to having come round to routinely reading (and frequently enjoying) award posts by those bloggers I admire, because they have introduced me to some of my favorite blogs along the way!

So, read on if you are so inclined, or move on to the next post or blog, if you are not . . . there’s something for everyone in this great, big blogging world of ours.

  Cafe Casey graciously nominated me for the “One Lovely Blog” award.  I believe the post that introduced me to Cafe Casey is still one of my favorites — “Failing at Music, Succeeding at Life: Part Two” — although you can’t go wrong with any of her eclectic posts.  Sometimes humor-filled, sometimes reflective, the diversity of her discussions is always enjoyable.

  Prego and the Loon kindly nominated me for the “Beautiful Blogger” award!  Prego and the Loon generously bares her soul and painful memories, as she moves forward from an abusive relationship.  Her post, “Beauty and the Restraining Order” is powerful and moving.

  I was fortunate enough to receive a second nomination for the “Beautiful Blogger” award from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Man.  I have to thank Kevin for filling the gardening void in my blog, given my lackluster efforts as summer waned!  The Nitty Gritty Dirt Man is not strictly a gardening blog, though, for even some posts peripherally addressing tasks of the garden and yard leave the reader reflecting on so much more.  Kevin’s recent post on raking, “Looking Up Before the Leaves Fall,” is a perfect example and a post I read with pleasure several times.

The “rules” (which I tend to follow loosely) are similar for accepting each of the awards:

  • Thank your nominator
  • Add the award badge
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass on award to 15 nominees
  • Inform nominees by commenting on their wall

So, what do you want to know about me?

1.  “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott was one of my favorite childhood books that I still enjoyed re-reading as an adult.

2.  Music moves me in a way words cannot explain.

3.  I organized our spices in alphabetical order.  My husband is the primary cook in the house; I’ll let you guess whether they are in alphabetical order now.

4.  I am a “cottage garden” gardener, which means weeds are welcome if they bloom.

5.  Planning and researching a trip is almost as enjoyable as the travel itself.

6.  When I was a senior in high school, I was the drum majorette (sans baton) along with a fellow classmate as drum major for our high school marching band. The other three years, I marched with the snare drum.

7.    When I went to the movie “Marley and Me” with my son, who was 10 years old at the time, I started crying about three-fourths into the movie, and couldn’t stop, until my son was ready to crawl under the seats in embarrassment (it is not as if I was the only sniffling, wet-eyed adult in that audience — although I admit I was starting to get the ragged almost hiccupping sobs by the end).  After the movie, I asked my son if he had felt like crying during that movie, thinking about one of our dogs at home who had been showing her age lately.  He thoughtfully pondered the question and responded, that he had thought about it, but the movie was about Marley, and it’s “not like [he] knew him personally or anything.”

Now for the hard, but most enjoyable part of this post — paying it forward with another round of nominations, which I have split between One Lovely Blog and Beautiful Blogger awards:

One Lovely Blog nominations

The Adventures of Tom and Atticus ~ If you are not familiar with the book “Following Atticus” it is a lovely read and vicarious tour of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, along with the endearing story of a man rediscovering himself through his relationship with his four-legged companion, Atticus.  His Facebook page provides almost daily inspiration.

Peri’s Spice Ladle ~ Peri’s blog is full of mouth-watering Indian recipes, cooking techniques, and Indian-inspired food tips.  Whether familiar with Indian food, or exploring it as a new cuisine, you are sure to find something appealing in Peri’s blog.

This Man’s Journey ~ The Island Traveler’s appreciation of life is infectious.  He always leaves you with a feeling of gratitude.

Stonehouse Photo ~ Hannah Stonehouse’s photo of John and Schoep in Lake Superior went viral, introducing her enthusiasm and passion for photography, particularly photography that includes our furry companions, especially dogs!  Her blog reflects the joy she receives from her work.

Mirth and Motivation ~ Elizabeth provides thoughtful reflections in her posts, with hand-selected quotes, and has been a sincere delight whenever we cross paths in the blogging world.

Beautiful Blogger nominations

Leaf and Twig ~ Photos with a nature theme paired with a perfect poem.  Always a pleasure to see a new post!

Perikles Merakos Blog ~ Perikles’ black and white images are particularly compelling, and his use of light makes for memorable photos whether in color or black and white.

Where’s My Backpack? ~ Many of you may be familiar with this blog due to Ailsa’s weekly travel photo themes, but if you have not checked out some of her other posts, they are worth the read.  A recent favorite of mine was her midnight drive along the Beartooth Highway.

Ron Mayhew Photography ~ Ron’s cultural photography is a feast for the eyes, and you will enjoy many of his creative galleries.

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast ~ Follow the Darnells as they restore the birthplace of James Madison and open a bed and breakfast — an obvious labor of love.

I frequently update my Blogroll and Links with many of my favorite travel, garden and eat resources and blogs, and there are still more waiting to be shared, waiting to be discovered!

Enjoy and blog on, friends!

Ciao! ~ Kat B.