The Versatile Blogger Award and 15 Blogs I Love

Today, I had the honour of being nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award by the exquisite, stylish, always fashionable and eternally lovely Jackie of Style My Dreams. I stumbled upon her blog when I was just starting out, and I was captivated from the very moment I saw the stylish black layout and runway photos. It’s a site where I’ve spent far, far too much time perusing New York Fashion Week runway photos, the latest in handbags, or even red carpet looks like the crazy ones at the recent Met event.

I was very touched when Jackie nominated me. (But, even more so, that I’ve tempted her into numerous perfume sample purchases.). The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award are about paying it forward: it is passed on from one blogger to another to help spread the word about the wonderful community of blogs. Specifically, you have to:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you;
  2. Select 15 blogs that you’ve discovered and follow; and
  3. Share 7 things about yourself.

Well, first, a huge thank you to Style My Dreams for choosing me, especially when her focus is not on perfume, but on fashion and style. I’m truly touched. 

Next, I have to select 15 blogs I’ve recently discovered and follow. Since I’ve only been blogging for 5 months, almost everything is a relatively “recent” discovery but you may be surprised to know that not all of them are about perfume. And, for that reason, I’ll go beyond and add to the rules by telling you what I love about some of them. So, in no particular order:

15 BLOGS I LOVE TO READ:

1- My go-to source for anything (and everything) that is beauty or make-up related is probably not a secret to many women given that it is the largest and best blog around, but I have to choose Temptalia, a source of endless addiction. The range of reviews, the comparisons, the incredible swatches and accuracy…. Honestly, there is nothing else like it on the internet. She’s far too much of an established force to really engage in this game, but I wanted to give some of you a heads-up about Temptalia if you haven’t already heard of it.

2- A perfumed salon and a home away from home: The Fragrant Man, run by Jordan River, and with Brie and Amer as guest-bloggers. It’s a place where the perfume discussions are often emotional, intellectual or literary, and it is always makes me smile.

3- Lucas’ The Chemist in The Bottle is another blog that feels like home. Though our perfume tastes are often at polar opposite ends, it is actually one of the things I appreciate the most about his reviews. He opens me up to a wider range of things than what I may otherwise know.

4- Baconbiscuit of CoolCookStyle has perhaps the best sense of humour that I’ve come across in a while, and she’s also a fantastic, superb cook. I love food even more than perfume, so a blog that covers both? You truly have to check out her blog. And you may want to start with her hilarious post on Pasta e Fagioli, with a recipe from the renowned NYC chef, Jonathan Benno. The real gem in that post is the discussion of Nigella Lawson’s use of nylon stockings (pantyhose) to make the broth. But my favorite may be about her mother, Sichuanese Pork Wontons in Chili-Soy Sauce, and someone called Fuschia Dunlop.

5- I love checking in on Sigrun in Riktig Parfyms, a perfume blog but also a Swedish mini-boutique. Whether discussing Serge Lutens or Guerlain, her reviews are both detailed and very sensory. Plus, she’s funny as hell! And who else is masochistic enough to try to go through the Pantone colour palette range to try to find perfumes to match?! I certainly couldn’t do it, and thought so far before she got to the “Tender Shoots 14-0446” colour or the even more difficult “Monaco Blue 19-3964” one. (And no, L’Heure Bleue doesn’t fit!) Please, check out some of those posts. You’ll be amazed.

6- Mr. Hound…. a man who has that skill which I so envy: succinctness. At The Scented Hound, he captures the essence of a perfume in a few small paragraphs, often with a very dry, witty sense of humour and always with great warmth when he talks to you. A man who coins the word “bathtastic” to describe the super-hot, new Chanel should be read!

7- A completely hidden gem is té de violetas, a Spanish-English blog run by the warm, gracious, lovely Caro and by Victoria (whom, alas, I do not know as well). Caro has exquisite taste but she also covers a huge range of stuff from Amouage Guerlain, Puredistance and Vero Profumo, to Bvlgari, Thierry Mugler, Ramon Monegal and many brands that I’d never heard of prior to reading her joint blog. Each post starts in Spanish, before the full English translation is given. And Caro writes with great beauty. Take for example, “Venus Victorious” — her review of Puredistance Opardu. At the same time, however, she writes with a profound knowledge of perfumes as a whole, as shown by her review for Hermes’ Iris and the comparison to other iris scents. I truly hope you will check her out.

8- Neil of The Black Narcissus also covers a huge range of perfumes, including many vintage fragrances, but he does so in a completely sensory, visual, emotional, and intellectual manner. He’s a beautiful writer. And, he’s another one who is funny as hell. If you don’t believe me, check out his review of two Byredo fragrances, including the brand new Inflorescence. After the many gorgeous photos, his assessment, including this paragraph that had me almost choking on my coffee in laughter: “

An almost hysterically hygienic floral, it is the apex of the trend that began with Lancôme’s repugnant Miracle (the only perfume I know that made two female friends physically retch when they smelled it); its imprisoning of woman in extraordinarily artificial, spotless, ‘sanctified’ flowers: stripped of sex, grown in test tubes by fascists in white coats, grinning as they crush the heart’s desires and replace them with gender edicts.”

9- Undina of Undina’s Looking Glass has a hugely creative, original approach to discussing perfumes, as well as issues in the perfume world. Whether it’s art, flowers, or shoes, perfume is connected in the most original of ways. Undina is also perhaps the ultimate “pay it forward” blogger as she always supports others, posting about things she loved in other blogs and that you should check out. I’m glad to be able, for once, to reciprocate.

10- Lanier of Scents Memory always writes the most beautiful stories for perfumes. And his tales of magic are also often interwoven with things about Old Hollywood. His originality and storytelling abilities are only surpassed by his enormously sensitive, poetic soul.

11. I’m pretty much a fish out of water in my current location and I deeply miss my old home, Europe, so I always enjoy being transported to the Netherlands via A Flamingo in Utrecht. From rambling walks focusing on the ancient architecture of Utrecht, to a post about its history, to simply a “Wordless Post” with a gorgeous photo, Alison brings the city to life. And she’s a fabulous photographer too!

12. As a foodie, I love The Writing Cook, a great blog by a baker and cook who is also a very talented writer. The recipes are easy and beautifully photographed! I just wish it didn’t always make me so damn hungry!

13. I also enjoy A Perfume Blog by Blacknell Allen. She doesn’t review perfumes, per se, but does something more interesting: she focuses on themes that encompass a wide range of perfumes. Whether address the issue of skin chemistry, the Maserati-like power of an Amouage, or writing a hilarious spoof of Downton Abbey that is focused on the classic vintage legends, her blog is always a fascinating read.

14. A really well-written, extremely personal and emotional approach to perfume reviewing comes from Nancy at Make Perfume, Not War. This is a brand-new blog by another person with an extensive writing background, and it shows in some of the eloquent, often hilariously funny reviews.

15. Lastly, as someone deeply obsessed with dogs, I constantly read Pawcurious, a blog run by a Vet. It never gives medical advice but shares personal moments in the life of the vet, her family, and, naturally, her pets. The blog is part of a huge, award-winning site (by the same name), and I certainly don’t expect her to follow the Versatile Blogger Award, but I did want to bring the site to your attention. I know a number of you are dog lovers. Plus, I got a huge chuckle out of her recent post where she writes about the “arachnobellum,” the deepest recesses of our brain where we blame all maladies on spider bites. (If you’re a dog lover, you’d have arachnophobia too.)

PHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That took forever!

SEVEN THINGS ABOUT ME:

Okay, the last part, seven things about me:

  1.  I’m terrified of cockroaches. Specifically, the giant Palmetto bugs that are about 3-4 inches long before you count the addition 3 inches from their antennae. Here, in Texas, they aren’t the small, tiny things you’d see in places like Paris or New York. No, these are prehistoric beasts who fly, who hiss at you, and, even worse, BITE. I have been known to curl up in a foetal position, shrieking at the sight of one. I even once called my father, begging “Daddy,” for him to come over to kill it. And, if you saw them, you’d call for your father too!
  2. My guilty music loves: Rammstein, Hans Zimmer, French/Italian Euro-Pop, Donna Summer, & ABBA.  I actually find Rammstein soothes me….
  3. I’ve had insomnia and a sleep disorder since I was 6 years old, which probably explains the weird timing of some of my posts.
  4. I often eat Peanut M&Ms in bed before I go to sleep. Or, rather, try to go to sleep.
  5. I may need to take a break from blogging quite so constantly over the summer. My baby boy, The Hairy German, is going to need a 6-hour surgery for a hip implant and total hip replacement. The operation will hopefully go ahead sometime this summer, but we’ve had 6 failed attempts with the surgeons cancelling at the last-minute while he was under anaesthesia and on the operating table, due to a pesky skin condition. Assuming that one year’s worth of vet visits (my child has 2 different vets and 2 surgeons) has finally fixed the issue, then I hope to get a surgical date for June. If so, the blog will take a back seat. He will need around-the-clock care once he gets home from the hospital, and then 3 months of crate-enforced recovery which will probably drive him completely crazy. And, by extension, me. I’ll keep you updated.
  6. I love to scuba dive, and have gone diving in numerous places where sharks were nearby. My favorite places to dive: the Maldives, then Turquoise.
  7. Something I hate to do: unpacking/emptying things. Suitcases, in particular, but also moving boxes, dishwashers, dryers, the trunk of the car. I have a suitcase from 2 years ago that is still not fully emptied….

If you’ve read this far, thank you. And, again, a thank you to Jackie for choosing me. I hope you find some interesting new blogs to read.

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62 thoughts on “The Versatile Blogger Award and 15 Blogs I Love

  1. Many congratulations on the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you so much for nominating The Writing Cook as one of your recipients! I’m completely chuffed here; it’s nice to get a nod from a fellow blogger, especially one as talented as you!

    PS: The terror of cockroaches? Me too, me too! *shudder*

    😀

      • Hello! Thank you for following my blogs; I’ve returned the favour. 🙂 I’m assuming I know you from Facebook. *laugh* I’m trying desperately to place you though, and trawling through your blog for a clue!

          • Wait, what??? I’m blown away that not only do you guys know each other, but PS???!! Haefennasiel, do I know you beyond just this name as well? If you’re FB friends with Awanthi, I bet you do. Haha, this is hilarious.

          • Well, if we go by PS as the source, it may actually be closer to 3 degrees! This is so hilarious. What an incredibly small world, and yet we 3 are as geographically far-flung from each other as any 3 people could be!

          • I heard. I haven’t played in ages but I did have a giant stash of super-rare Halloween stuff that came out in 2008 or so, and I actually have been thinking about that often. They just got too greedy for me to keep on with it. 😦

          • And no, I don’t know who haefennasiel is, but they know me, apparently! 🙂

            Judging from the Philippines + Pet Society connection, I’m going to guess it’s Me-An. I might be completely wrong, though.

          • Patricia! *hug* Hello! 😀 *squeeeeeeeee* I can’t believe you’re on WordPress! 😀

    • You’re very welcome. I wish I could have found some of the amazing baking posts from Culinary Prose, but I was a little too tired to check. Plus, I love The Writing Cook. xoxoxo

  2. Congratulations!!! And……well deserved:)). We have a couple things in common, the cockroach fear, and insomnia:(. Best wishes to the Hairy German!

    • Another insomniac? Oh dear. And thank you for both the kind words about me and about FluffyButt Angel Face (one of his alternate names). LOL. He’s currently glaring at me because he’s not being worshipped or having his paws kissed. 😛

    • Thank you, dear Caro. I shall extend some paw kisses to Fluffybutt Angelface. Do you know, he kisses people on command? He would give you a wet kiss back for your appreciation. 😛

        • You’re very welcome, Virginia. You have a fantastic blog and you both do such an excellent job in conveying a perfume’s feel. I truly hope more people get the chance to read your reviews. You are both very knowledgeable and very talented. 😀

  3. Congratulations on the Versatile Blogger Award! And thank you very much for the nomination as well!

    I too have bizarre sleeping habits acquired from a life of procrastinating in school. Like tonight: for my last class tomorrow, I decided to make my students ratatouille from scratch. At 11:30pm. What am I thinking?!

    In any case, I have very much enjoyed reading your blog too! It truly does make my day. So sorry to hear that the Hairy German is ailing and will be in need to intensive care at home. I know I speak for all your readers when I say that we will be here!

    • Thank you, darling Baconbiscuit. You have no idea how much I adore your blog. And ratatouille at half an hour before midnight sounds EXACTLY like the sort of thing that I would do. Exactly! LOL. I will pass along your wishes to Zoli Zol. He’s right beside me, and actually just extended out his paw to be kissed. Yes, I am a well-trained slave. 😉 And fingers crossed that I can FINALLY get that bloody operation. He really needs it.

  4. My fingers are crossed for you and the Hairy German, I hope everything goes smoothly and he has a speedy recovery. We have another thing in common, insomnia:( UGH!

  5. Congratulations Kafka! I follow your blogs on a daily basis. New to blogging but learning from reading works of experts like yourself. I am into the business of beauty world – consulting and marketing services and spend a lot of time researching for what’s happening around the world in this industry. Congratulations once again and do visit my website if you have the time 🙂

    • Hi, Hema Aushat, thank you so much for stopping by and thank you for your kind words. I will definitely visit your website when I get the chance. 🙂 And I look forward to getting to know you better. 🙂

  6. Congratulation! And thank you 🙂

    I hope everything goes fine for your furry companion – both during and after the surgery.

    Ialso like ABBA 🙂

    • Thank you, Undina. As for the surgery, let’s hope that it goes through this time. The bloody skin issues are so small that, in any other circumstance, they’d be totally irrelevant, but they’re right on the surgical site, so the risk of infection at the implant site deep down at the bone is too high for the surgeons. Every time I think I’ve finally beaten it, the damn pustules pop back up due to skin allergies and yet another surgery is cancelled. Fingers crossed that, this time, it finally goes through. xoxox

  7. Thank you for pointing toward some of the blogs I haven’t discovered yet.

    Now, that you mentioned it, I hade emptying suitcases too. I don’t mind filling them (as that means I’m traveling somewhere) but the opposite is a real pain.
    Good luck with the surgery!

  8. Congrats and thank you!

    I like the idea of peanut M&Ms before bed, but suspect the craving for more would add to my own insomnia. 😉

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Zola can finally get the surgery and begin the path to better health.

  9. Congratulations!
    I’m crossing my fingers for the Hairy German. What is it with those damn hips of theirs? Every breed has its issues I guess.
    My aunt used to live in Texas. I got to see those ” palmetto bugs” firsthand when I visited. She had a yorkie at the time and I swear those bugs were as big as her dog.
    Thanks for listing a few blogs I hadn’t seen yet. I will check them out. Perhaps at some odd hour of the night. I don’t have any sleep issues but my little poodle has been waking me to go out to pee. I’m coming to the realization that I’m going to have to learn to live on less sleep because no matter what I try she will not sleep through the night.

    • I’ve had a number of German shepherds but this is my first go-round with Hip Dysplasia. And it’s bi-lateral too! 😦 He was diagnosed at 4 months of age, poor boy. He’s a total trooper, working through the pain and running fast as the wind with his weird gait and quasi-bunny leaps, but it’s clear he won’t be able to continue like that for much longer. 😦

      Palmetto bugs are, indeed, far, FARRRRRRRRRR larger than anyone would believe unless they’d seen them with their own eyes. I had one who came after me like jaws, flew up to the 2nd story, tracked me down, flew to the ceiling fan, and then landed on my chest, hissing at me. I almost fainted from sheer terror and shock. Honestly, I will never, EVER forget that.

      How is your furry one? Is she on steroids at all? That can be an additional trigger for the midnight peeing. I hope she’s improving a little, sweetheart. If anyone understands how these issues can impact one, it’s me. I send her some belly scritches and a few kisses on the nose.

  10. Congratulations my darlin! You deserve the kudos. You have taken the fragrance blogosphere by storm since your first posting. I’m glad that I’ve been with you from very near to the start.

    Good luck with the Hairy German…ah, if we could only fix those problems ourselves. As our babies, we hate to see them suffer. I have no doubt that you will be his uber mom and will make him feel better in no time.

    Thanks for the shout out and thanks for introducing me to some wonderful new blogs!!!

    xxoxoxox Steve

    • My darling Mr. Hound, thank you so much for your kind words. You supported and encouraged me from the very, very start — and it’s meant the world to me. It always will. I hope more people turn to your brilliant, concise, succinct assessments of fragrances, and that you will find a few blogs that you yourself enjoy. There are some hugely talented bloggers out there! I send you the biggest and deepest hug, my dear friend. xoxoxo

  11. Yay! Congratulations on the award! Such a lovely way to make someone to be noticed 🙂
    Thank you for listing me as one of your favourite places, and I’ll be sure to check out few places listed that I didn’t know about.

    • You’re very welcome. And I hope more people discover your blog, along with your wonderful take on various perfumes. From the Opus VII to the Micallef, you’ve shown a great talent for what you do. And I love how our tastes are so different, because I always learn from your perspective. xoxox

  12. Congratulations on your award! You are for sure one of my favorite bloggers. I am sending your darling dog my wishes for a successful surgery, and a smooth and rapid recovery. Thank you for sharing your favorites, too.

    • Thank you, my dear Tora. Let’s hope this surgery will finally go through. I don’t know if I can take another call, telling me it’s been cancelled while he’s on the table and under anaesthesia. It’s been such an emotional roller-coaster. Honestly, I suspect this one will be cancelled too, because it’s so hard to tell if those tiny skin pustules from the allergies have gone *UNTIL* he’s fully shaved an hour before they plan to operate. I can’t seem to beat that skin issue, no matter what I do. But, fingers crossed, because he certainly needs the hip replacement!

  13. ¡Felicidades! What great news! Well-deserved! Mmmm, peanut M&Ms. They are a close second only to peanut butter M&Ms. I can eat both until I basically have to have my fat self taken off the couch via a tractor. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, my dear, darling friend. Most of all, thank you for all your support and for having encouraged me from the very beginning. Without you, there probably would be no blog at all! xoxoxo

  14. Kafka, congratulations on receiving such a well-deserved honor and thanks so much for the mention. Reading your blog is one of the highlights of my day every day, something I save to savor when the house has finally gone quiet.

    My blog has not been updated in a week because I have been felled with asthmatic bronchitis, which makes both writing and perfume sampling difficult if not impossible. I’m on the path to recovery though and will be posting later today, as well as checking out your other recommendations.

    I’m very dismayed to hear about the difficulties your furry son has been having and the surgery in the near future. I hope it all resolves quickly and painlessly.

    • Asthmatic bronchitis sounds incredibly painful, my dear!!! You poor thing. I hope you feel better soon, regardless of the blogging issue. And it was my pleasure to introduce your blog. I’d like more people to get to know it, as you add an extremely personal, hugely emotional perspective on perfume that can be a joy to read. Plus, you’re incredibly funny. 😀

  15. Huge congratulations to you dear Kafka, for the Versatile Blogger nomination. I don’t know if I should thank you or curse you for more blogs to read. I stopped reading a cat blog (I don’t have a cat) ever since I got more active in the perfume blogs.

    I wish you and The Hairy German the best of luck with the surgery. Wet kisses from him are welcome; thank God he’s not a mastiff 🙂

    • HAHA at the Mastiff comment! We should add Bulldog to that drool list, too! Thank you for the congratulations, my dear friend. It seems so long ago when I first just “met” you fleetingly, here or there, on other blogs. I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know you better and that we’re friends. You’re an utter joy, in everything, and so wonderfully sweet and funny. The blog would be so much less fun to do without having you here. I shall tell Prince FluffyButt AngelFace that you welcome his kisses. And I send you a very big hug myself.

  16. First off…CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    Secondly, thank you for including the Fragrant Man in your list of favorite blogs.

    Thirdly, now you have whetted my appetite and given me yet more blogs that I must explore!!!!

    Fourthly, despite our numerous conversations there is much I have learned about you that I did not already know…and there are some parallels in our lives…..as you know from my comments at 4am my insomnia occurs during the wee hours of the morning when I am tossing and turning at 2am and then finally just decide to get out of bed and do something productive (like read blogs :D!!)…I love peanut M& Ms and could eat an entire one pound bag in one sitting (although you would never know it judging from the size of me :)!!) ….. I absolutely fear cockroaches…even the tiny ones in my NYC apartment used to scare me to death so I could only imagine how I would react to the mammoth Texan ones you have described….and I adore ABBA so much that I ignore the dirty looks I get from my teenage children and play my ABBA CD LOUDLY
    with reckless abandonment when driving in the car!

    Finally, and most importantly, my love and prayers go out to my favorite hairy German with wishes for a successful operation and speedy recovery! And although my sensory issues preclude me from usually enjoying wet dog kisses I would gladly take one from your baby any day!!!!

    xxoo

    • Brie, your sweet words mean the world to me. Thank you most of all for your friendship and your endless kindnesses to me. ABBA, too?? “Super Trooper” is a favorite for a sing-along, I think. 😉 As for Prince Fluffybutt, thank you for your great love for him, especially since I know you’re normally terrified of big dogs.

      I truly doubt this surgery will go ahead, since the skin issues have been impossible to beat thus far and the surgeons won’t operate if there is even the smallest pustule there. Honestly, they’re probably the size of pimples but since they’re always on the surgical site, incisions carry the risk of infection right down to the bone socket. That would infect the whole implant and lead to some dire consequences, so 6 surgical dates have led to 6 cancellations thus far. They can’t even know if they can proceed ahead of time for various medical reasons, so it’s always when he’s on the table and prepped for surgery that they discover that they have to stop. I’m not hopefully that #7 will be lucky, but we’ll see.

  17. Congratulations on the award and thank you for the mention! It really brightened up my day when I saw it 🙂 And, I now realize, I’ve still got 3 more Pantone colors to go until the whole spring palette is covered 😀

    • You’re very welcome, my dear Sigrun. (I sent you an email, btw, but it’s probably in your Spam folder. lol) I meant what I said about your blog. I was awed from the very first Pantone perfume comparison that I read, but when you got to the well-nigh impossible colours, I was stupified, amazed, and so, so incredibly impressed! I could never do it! Not in a milion years! You are, indeed, both Versatile and very accomplished, so I hope more people discover your reviews and your very funny sense of humour. xoxoxo

  18. Congratulations! 🙂 and it was lovely reading very personal things about you! All the bestest to the Hairy German and you totally described me with the cockroach story… while still in Grasse, I one time spent a total of 4 hours trying to kill one beast, with assistance / motivation / reinforcement / coaching via phone from my friend! It was a real trauma!

    • How absolutely WONDERFUL to see you, Viktoria!!! Thank you so much for your kind words. Thank you also for sharing your hilarious cockroach story. *grin* I have to say, I admire all of you who go after them with murder on the mind. I’m always too scared and run away. But 4 hours with telephone planning, coaching and guidance from a friend… hahaha, perfect! Again, it was SO wonderful to see you, my dear. xoxox

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