Liebster Award!


I have been nominated for the Liebster award by Sandi of the excellent What Oft Was Thought blog and am pleased to accept!

According to her post about the award, the rules to accept it are as follows:

  1. Acknowledge and accept the Liebster Award by leaving a comment on the blog where you were nominated;
  2. Copy the Liebster logo and paste it onto your own blog;
  3. Inform your nominees by leaving a comment on their respective blogs;
  4. In your blog post about the Liebster Award:
    • link back to the blogger who nominated you
    • answer the 11 questions put to you by the person who nominated you
    • list 11 random facts about yourself
    • nominate, and link to, 3-11 other blogs which you enjoy and which have fewer than 3,000 followers
    • list 11 questions for your nominees

Here are my answers to Sandi’s 11 questions:

  1. What is your ideal vacation?

I’d love to travel internationally to a place I’ve never been before; my first choice would be Tokyo, Japan because I’ve been dying to go there for some time but haven’t had the ability to do so as of yet. One day…

  1. What was your first job?

I helped out during the summers at the school my mom worked for, doing whatever special projects they needed help with, like organizing their archives, helping with mass mailings, etc.

  1. What motivates you to post on your blog?

Great question. It’s hard to define, but I’d say it usually has to do with anything I find helpful or new. For instance, I like to share tips and ideas readers can hopefully use to make their own lives easier, whether they’re cleaning their houses or trying to think up gift ideas. I also like to talk about interesting ideas in books I’m reading that I think others might find interesting as well.

  1. Name a book that you recently finished reading.

The Hidden Tools of Comedy by Steven Kaplan. A good read. I especially liked his points on the differences between comedy and drama, like this statement.

  1. What is your opinion of reality T.V. shows?

At first, I was about to write that I dislike them, but then I realized “reality shows” are more than just Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I’d say they also include competition shows like Master Chef Junior or shows where struggling businesses are turned around, like Hotel Hell and Kitchen Nightmares — all of which I enjoy watching. I’m also a fan of Shark Tank.

  1. How do you feel when a snowstorm hits your area and everything is cancelled for the day?

I usually love it! It’s a fun, unexpected little surprise, as long as it doesn’t shut down things for too many days in a row. Then, the novelty wears off and the challenge of doing what you have to do isn’t so much fun!

  1. Last night, my daughter was telling me about a friend who was applying for dual citizenship in another country. If you could obtain dual citizenship in another country, which country would you choose, and why?

Hmm, this is an interesting question. I’m not really sure without getting to see most of the countries that come to mind, but I lean towards Ireland. Haven’t been there, but I hear it’s beautiful and a friend who has traveled throughout Europe said she finds the people there to be very friendly. That’s a generalization but based on her stories, I can see what she means. I like the idea of having convenient access to traveling throughout Europe from there but also being in a location where many people speak English.

  1. What is your pet peeve with WordPress?

This is an easy one. While I love pretty much everything about WordPress, I’m not a fam of its new stats page. Luckily I can still access the old one, but it’s an extra step to get to now…

  1. Recently, I saw a study claiming that people who read fiction tend to be more empathetic. This study has generated controversy in my household. What is your opinion about this “finding”?

At first, I thought this sounded odd but the more I thought about it, I can see how this could be. People who can buy into a fictional story and relate to its characters could be more inclined to do so with people in “real life.” Once I read the article linked here, I see that is indeed a major part of the explanation for this. However, it should be noted that those who do not enjoy fiction can be just as empathetic — I know I read less fiction than I used to, preferring to learn more about true-life events; I’d say people who enjoy this kind of reading as well simply prefer to relate more to true stories versus made-up ones, but can be just as empathetic. Also, fiction lovers could also be the type who prefer a fantasy over real-world experiences and ironically may not relate so well to people they actually know. So, as with any study, there are nuances to be aware of.

  1. Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a child?

Yes, until about age 7, I think. I started getting suspicious about a year before, when notes to me from Santa looked strangely like my mom’s handwriting. The final straw came when my mom said something the following year like, “Oh, did I leave the price tag on that gift? I was so tired when I was wrapping presents that I forgot to take it off!” yet she was referring to an item that was labeled as a gift to me from Santa…! We still laugh about that whenever it comes up!

  1. How do you prefer to learn about world news — through the Internet? Through the television? Through a newspaper or magazine?

My preferred choice is actually talk radio, which I find I can have on in the background without being distracted too much from whatever I’m doing while also keeping up with the news. I like how it’s acceptable to do so even in most workplaces, as long as it’s not too loud or on during an important meeting, of course!

And now for 11 facts about myself:

  1. I’m an only child. Well, I’m an adult now, but you get what I mean!
  2. I’m right-handed.
  3. I’m near-sighted. I sometimes wish I could just wake up seeing perfectly without a need for glasses, but I’m still too squeamish about eye surgery to take that step…
  4. I enjoy playing a wide range of video games when I can.
  5. I read a lot — everything from foreign-language books to profiles of companies as well as autobiographies.
  6. I hate the taste of citrus in pretty much any form, whether it involves eating the fruit or in the form of juice. Not sure why!
  7. One of my favorite movies is the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol. It must be that version; his portrayal is the best of the ones I’ve seen! Sadly, I don’t see this one aired as much as I used to…
  8. I have never lived in a house; only apartments.
  9. As a child, I used to confuse the words “globe” and “blimp” with one another. Do with that what you will.
  10. I was addicted to soda in college. Kind of embarrassing to admit! Luckily, I was able to quit when a friend said she’d buy me the CD of my choice if I stopped having any for 1 week. That was the motivation I needed, and was able to keep it going!
  11. I like spicy food. The hotter the better!

As for the 3-11 blogs I nominate, I will go with 3 — I like that number, plus many blogs I follow and would nominate are either no-awards blogs or have more than 3,000 followers. (By the way, it’s not always easy to find follower counts on every blog, so I say to my nominees: if I have underestimated your follower count and you do in fact have over 3,000, I apologize!)

What the Eff!?

Touched by the Page

Dear Diary

As for my questions to these nominees, they are (and feel free to swap one out for one of your own if you like!):

  1. What made you get into blogging?
  2. If you had to spend a year on a deserted island and could only bring one non-electronic item with you, what would it be?
  3. What skill or strength of yours are you most proud of?
  4. What is one goal you have for yourself in the coming year, big or small?
  5. Let’s say you were granted an opportunity to try out another career for a year without any risk to your current job/career and with all your financial needs adequately met, what would it be?
  6. Would you classify yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?
  7. What is one of your favorite movies or TV shows?
  8. What is your opinion of the Mars One program, which plans to send people on a one-way trip to Mars in 2024 — specifically, are the people who want to take part being selfish, as some have claimed?
  9. Do you speak any other languages besides English? If so, which ones, and how fluent are you?
  10. What part of the world would you choose to visit if you won a free trip and hotel stay to anyplace you wanted?
  11. Is there a fashion trend, past or present, that you can’t stand?

I know accepting this award does take a good amount of time, so I echo what Sandi said in that anyone nominated is under no pressure to accept, of course. But of those who do, I look forward to your responses! 🙂

Oh, and I just had to include 3 honorary mentions. These are blogs I follow and would have also nominated, but they already were nominated for the Liebster award very recently — but check them out because they’re interesting to read!

Shan Jeniah’s Lovely Chaos 

Jeanne Owens, Author 

Creative Writing For Me 

You can find a list of other blogs I enjoy here — hope you find a few new favorites too!

“One Lovely Blog” Award Nomination!


I have been honored to be nominated for the “One Lovely Blog” award by margaretdj —  I thank her so much and sincerely recommend you check out her great blog!

This award recognizes blogs considered to be “lovely” by fellow bloggers and is focused on helping them attract more readers. There are a few simple rules to follow to accept this nomination:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  • Share 7 facts/or things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog.

Having already done the first two, now I’ll share 7 facts about myself. Coming up with these was a bit tricky — here is what I think might be entertaining to read (I hope!):

  1. I love purple. Anything purple calls to me…and I was thrilled to find out in recent years that I’m not alone in my purple obsession. There are even stores and websites devoted to selling purple things exclusively. I found myself in such a store during a trip to San Antonio, Texas a few years back, and couldn’t believe it. I was like a kid set loose in a toy store; let’s just say my luggage was much more full on my return trip home!
  1. Having grown up in New York City, I love city life. A noisy city is more calming to me than an eerily quiet suburb. “Where are the car horns?” I’ll think as I try to fall asleep whenever I’m visiting a more rural area.
  1. I studied French and Spanish from my junior high years up through college. However, I still get frustrated with my struggles to break past basic-level communication in each language: While I can read both fairly decently, I understand spoken Spanish better than I do spoken French, and I struggle to write or speak either one myself. So I keep working on both…
  1. This is somewhat embarrassing for me to share, but I never learned to ride a bike. And since I don’t really need to, I still haven’t — plus I would dread being seen learning now as a fully-grown adult. I know I shouldn’t care about that, but nonetheless I would feel funny if people witnessed me learning like a six-year-old; most areas near me are not isolated enough for me to feel comfortable trying!
  1. I also can’t swim — but I love being on boats. I never got around to learning to swim, being a city kid and not having easy access to pools or official lessons during my childhood. It was just one of those things that never happened. Occasionally I think about maybe trying to learn now, but somehow I never get around to it. One day…!
  1. I love cats and dogs. I often wonder why so many people still feel inclined to pigeonhole people like me into one or the other?! I’m a cat person and a dog person; I have a cat now and would love to have a dog too, but my building doesn’t allow them. I once took a side job as a dog-walker years ago specifically to have some access to dogs, and even dog-sat for friends recently. If I could have one of each right now, I would!
  1. I love flying on airplanes. Minus travel hassles like lost luggage and long lines, of course. But aside from that, being in the air thrills me, and I try to get a window seat whenever possible; as other people sleep, read or watch TV, I tend to stare out the window most of the time. You’d think it was my first flight ever, but no. I’ve flown many times, yet each time I’m just as obsessed with how beautiful everything looks from the sky and have to admire it all for as long as possible. If you check out my Twitter page, you’ll see a photo I took from one of my flights at the top. I’m a shameless sky tourist every time I’m on a plane!

And now, the best for last — here are the 15 bloggers I admire, and why:

  1. Get Fuzzy! – This blog is written by Craig Blower, who’s been battling stage IV lung cancer since 2012. His blog is so well done — first of all, it’s informative. For example, he shares lots of details about lung cancer, such as this fact, written on his “Why This Blog” link: “it’s important to get the word out that lots of lung cancer victims are non-smokers.” Plus he skillfully balances sharing the realities and emotions of his experience with lots of humor. I think everyone should read it, whether you have a connection to cancer or not.
  2. Touched by the Page – Although this blog is described as “a blog about books,” which is great, it’s also so much more than that. Yes, there are a variety of insightful book reviews like this recent one (written carefully so as to avoid major spoilers, a real plus!) — but Fien, the writer behind the blog, also writes about personal issues such as her mother’s lung cancer battle with such heartfelt honesty and grace. Definitely check it out.
  3. What The Eff? – I am lucky enough to know this blogger in “real life” and I find her to be as dynamic as her blog, which features a wide range of topics ranging from shrewd movie reviews and TV show critiques to tasty recipes and much more. Well worth a read!
  4. Words I Wheel By – This blog is written by Emily Ladau, who writes that her blog is committed to “exploring disability in society and my experiences living with a disability.” The blog does such a great job at writing on such an important topic in a way that informs and motivates the reader. In addition to Emily’s well-written pieces, her blog also features articles by other writers and links to news sources focusing on disability issues — a wealth of resources can be found here.
  5. Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen – I love this blog’s “recipes for healthy living,” since they’re also tasty and aesthetically-pleasing, complete with easy-to-follow instructions and high-quality pictures.
  6. Jay Dee in Japan – This is one of many blogs written by Jay Dee Archer, a Canadian man who moved to Japan in 2005 and plans to stay for the foreseeable future. This blog is another favorite of mine since I love reading about life in other parts of the world and am particularly drawn to Japan. You can also find links to his other blogs here.
  7. People, Places, and Perspectives – Alexis, the writer behind this blog, publishes a wide range of inspirational, positive posts including lovely haiku poems and stream-of-consciousness pieces. Her writing is very engaging and warm, which likely has to do with her view of blogging as a way to, as she writes on her “About” page, “learn from and be inspired by my fellow dreamers.”
  8. Joeyfully Stated –I really enjoy the writing style and humor of this blog, which is described as “narratives of a neurotic and other nonsense.” It features an entertaining approach to a wide range of topics ranging from introversion to true (yogurt) love.
  9. My Life at the Big D (Dillard’s) – I get a kick out of this blogger’s true-life accounts from her job at Dillard’s department stores, complete with funny stories not just about the store’s customers but its employees as well. You don’t have to work in retail to relate to the incidents described, like in this post which touches on staff members who are supposed to be on vacation but are constantly in touch and assigning work to employees…
  10. Silver Threading – This blogger writes about her “journey into retirement.” I admire how she went back to college a few years ago, and I enjoy her accounts from her personal life, complete with great photos like these of her “neighbors!”
  11. Joatmon14 – This blog is written by Mark Eaves; I like his mix of posts ranging from funny family stories to introspective pieces about life. His reason for writing is also something I feel many of us can appreciate and relate to — as he says on his “About” page, “at the age of 49, I am trying to find my voice. Maybe starting a little late, but better late than never.” So true!
  12. Good Lifestyler – I appreciate this blog’s diverse range of topics covered: recent posts have dealt with how alcohol affects our emotions as well as the importance of letting go of the past.
  13. Top of JC’s Mind – I value this blog a lot. Its writer, Joanne Corey, can address painful/poignant topics, share honest assessments of herself and recount interesting accounts and photos from her daily life — all equally well. I admire her versatility and enjoy seeing what she’ll post next.
  14. irenedesign2011 – This blog is devoted to the “creative jewelling” done by its writer, Irene. I am impressed by her dedication to blogging in English even though it isn’t her first language — how I wish I could get to that level with the languages I’ve studied! — as well as her craftsmanship: to get an idea of her work, take a look at this post about a recent piece of jewelry she made. Lovely, isn’t it?
  15. Taste of Japan – Again, my interest in Japan led me to this blog, and I enjoyed it the minute I found it. It features a very attractive layout, as well as in-depth cultural information and a wide range of eye-catching photo galleries like this one.
  • And an honorary mention goes to LindaGHill’s blog — the only reason she’s not on the official list above is because she was already nominated for this award this year. But I couldn’t leave her off my list in some way; Linda writes such great posts, ranging from poetry to pieces on parenting and so much more. I recently enjoyed this amusing one which was both funny and thought-provoking! She also does so much to connect bloggers with one another. A perfect example of this is her Stream of Consciousness Saturday posts, in which she shares a writing prompt for bloggers to use in a free-flowing post, with minimal editing beyond typos and whatnot. She also does One-Liner Wednesday posts, in which bloggers share funny or inspirational sentences — they can be original creations or quotes from other sources, as long as they’re one line. One of her guidelines for both series is checking out everyone else’s posts for that week, which helps new bloggers gain some exposure and creates a great community among bloggers. For all that, I had to include her even though she was already nominated once this year!

So that’s my list of blogs I find to be lovely and also deserving of the “One Lovely Blog” award! Although at first choosing 15 sounded like a lot, once I got started and listed all the blogs I follow and enjoy, it was actually hard to choose only 15! It helped that some blogs I like have elected to be no-awards blogs — if that hadn’t been the case, I’d have had an even harder time choosing just 15! Anyway, hope you find a few new favorites in this list. 🙂