The Liebster Award

I’ve got about a million–well maybe just five hundred–photos to edit and process before I can blog more about Dubai or Chernobyl. I’m workin’ on it. In the meantime, here are seven fantastic blogs you should check out!

Last week, my awesome friend Cynthia gave me a shout-out with the Liebster Award. It’s a great idea–an award specifically for blogs with smaller readerships. The deal is, you award five blogs, and then they in turn each award five of their favorite small blogs, etc. The only downside is that I can’t award Cynthia’s blog! But go read it anyway–it’s full of thoughtful commentary on life, travel, academia, philosophy, and being a family caretaker. Reading her blog encourages me to be a more informed, thoughtful and compassionate person.

Disclaimer: I couldn’t find full follower-stats for all of these blogs, so I might have inadvertently selected someone with an already-wide audience. My apologies, if that’s the case–but honestly, I just want to share some awesome blogs I read with y’all!

And now, in no particular order, the blogs:

A Defense of the Beautiful and Broken | My cousin Victoria writes this blog, primarily about her career as an academic and a poet. It sparks our conversations about higher education and the humanities on twitter and email–I love being related to someone who’s also passionate about these issues! She’s also an unapologetic geek, knitter, tea-lover, and cat-owner, so I file this under “kindred spirit.”

Made by Velma | So, I actually know several geeky gals who knit. Velma knits and crochets and sells her adorable wares on Etsy, and she’s doing a bang-up job of raising two geeks-in-the-making. And? She’s a therapist. Her blog and twitter feed keep making me itch to create more geeky knitted/crocheted things (and to catch up with Dr. Who)… but I may just take the lazy way out and buy one of those cuddly amigurumi unicorns instead.

8 Months in Ukraine | I found this blog one day when I was desperately trying to find someone else living in and blogging about Kharkov. Katherine teaches English here and I love her humorous “Snapshots of Ukrainian Life” series. (Yes, sour cream, milk, mayo and many other things really do come in plastic bags. It’s weird.) We just met in person last week, and I’m so happy to have found a good tea-drinking friend!

A Food Bitch | This blog is full of food and humor–what’s not to love? The blogger shall remain anonymous to protect her amusing “bitchiness” and interesting, frank reviews of food and atmosphere. She also features guest posts from around the world, and has graciously hosted one of mine (thanks, AFB!). If you travel a lot or live in SoCal, you should definitely check this out for recommended eateries.

Kait Nolan and Pots and Plots | Kait is a fiction writer who juggles an academic day-job and creatively brews up gluten-free recipes on her second blog. And she also heads up this writing thing called ROW80 (and one day, I will totally participate!). And she constantly re-tweets awesome content. Reading about her life could make me tired… but instead it fills me with determination, because she speaks with honesty and humor about trying to manage all of this.

And finally, because I just can’t give this award without a proud shout-out, here’s an honorable mention for a gal whose blog completely blows away the small-readership requirement, but who nonetheless deserves mention:

Claire Legrand (formerly Builder of Worlds) | Claire blogs about unicorns, middle-grade and YA fiction, pop culture, music, and has a hilarious penchant for using the word “y’all” in the most awesome way possible. She’s also master of using embedded video or GIFs to hilariously appropriate effect. AND her first middle-grade novel, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, (read the first chapter free!) is about to launch this fall (her second and third books are already lined up for subsequent publication.) I have read Cavendish, and to quote a Claire-ism: Y’ALL. It is awesome in a deliciously creepy and quirky way–imagine if Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, and E. L. Konigsburg were locked in a room together until they write a story about an orphanage and an OCD girl whose music-loving best friend has mysteriously disappeared. This is that book. Go buy that book.

I am a wee bit biased, because I was Claire’s master ninja librarian when she was a wee ninja apprentice, and she has since become a master ninja librarian herself–not to mention published author of awesomeness. And she’s been my roomie and fellow Fat-Couch-occupant. But as a librarian, I have this fabulous ability to be objective about stuff, so take my word for it: read her blog, buy her book, go forth, and be merry (preferably with a unicorn of your own).

FACT: If you add all these blogs to your follow-list/RSS-aggregator/email-subscription, you gain +86 Awesome Points. For serious.

12 thoughts on “The Liebster Award

  1. Crazy about Ukraine says:

    Thanks for the nomination, Starr!! : ) What an honor to be included on your list!
    Btw, can’t wait to read/hear your stories of Chernobyl… hope you’ll have time to share them with us soon.

    • Starr Hoffman says:

      You’re welcome! 🙂

      It was quite an experience–I expected it to be depressing and barren, but there was a lot of beauty in the nature that has taken over. The scope of the affected area is simply immense.

  2. Kathy says:

    I have a Ukrainian language question for you. I have been watching the early matches of the Euro 2012 soccer tournament (which you might have noticed is joint hosted by Ukraine!). They pronounce (and spell, as far as I can tell) Kharkov Kharkiv and Lvov Lviv. I’ve only heard and seen the “o” spellings, not only on your blog but on maps, etc. What’s the story?

    • Starr Hoffman says:

      Great question, Kathy!!

      So, Kharkov (Ха́рьков) is the Russian pronunciation/spelling and Kharkiv (Харків) is the Ukrainian version. Kharkov is in east Ukraine, which primarily speaks Russian–Lviv is in western Ukraine, which primarily speaks Ukrainian, hence I call it “Lviv.” The language issue is HUGE here, and there’s a national movement to switch much official paperwork, etc., to Ukrainian. Hence, lots of signs here are in Ukrainian, even though many of the locals don’t actually speak it fluently. I’m assuming the EuroCup stuff is primarily in Ukrainian because Ukraine’s trying to promote its national identity.

      Yep, we’re certainly aware of EuroCup, since Kharkov is one of the primary host cities, along with Kiev and others. 🙂 There’s a HUGE fan area for concerts, etc., in the square across from Alex’s office, which is the largest square in all Europe–including the Red Square in Moscow!

      • Kathy says:

        This makes perfect sense. I knew the 2 languages were closely related but didn’t understand how they differ. Of course the tournament would emphasize the Ukrainian spellings and pronunciations. Thanks so much for taking the time to explain this to me! I can now *really* impress my soccer buddies. I also love how you can’t really get into watching one of these tournaments without learning all kinds of geography and cultural tidbits.

    • Starr Hoffman says:


      Welcome! It’s kinda hard to talk about blogs without talking about yours… Unicorn is one of my favorite characters on a blog, ever. I mean: UNICORN EATS CHEESE. AND NACHOS. What’s not to love? ❤

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