May 262012
Lana and Ljiljana 600x450 Verbal Essences

My sister (on the right) and me

It has been two years since those two ubiquitous words “Hello, world!” appeared on the first page of my newly-hatched blog. You would think that I should have been a blogging pro, having spent several years reading various blogs from their inception to  celebrity status. But no, my blog started out on an impulse and I was like a startled rabbit, scrambling to come up with a name, design, and a theme. I did not think for a second that I would have to pronounce the name of my blog EVERY SINGLE TIME I found myself surrounded by fellow food bloggers. It did not cross my mind that I would have to recite the etymology of my blog’s name at every meeting, conference, or workshop.

I was happy with my choices in my self-absorbed little universe, completely unaware that there are other human beings out there who would be reading my words and having a hard time relating to my seemingly innocuous and vague word associations. I wish I could go back in time and change some features of my blog, but as I am not on speaking terms with any branch of physics that would enlighten me to the ways of making a time-travel machine, I have reconciled with my blog being the way it is, awkwardly named and verbose. I find it charming, if unpopular, and decided to embrace it and plunge forward, damn the SEO and Google Search.

I do not want to deceive you that I am an utterly impractical person, but opportunism usually comes to me too late in the game, and I scramble to salvage what remnants I can. One day soon I will publish another blog that will exemplify everything I learned since I started blogging. It will be a site some of my blogging mentors would be really proud of.

It might be serendipitous, but today I was nominated for a Food Stories Award by Lisa of Parsley and Sage. I hate to admit it, but it felt a little bit like back in high school when one of the most popular, gorgeous guys asked me to go out on a date. (We lasted for almost four years, which made me reassess the pecking order and realize that the high school hierarchy is bullshit. This does not mean that I expect to rule the blogosphere for the same time.) Lisa, you have made my day! Thanks for all the smiles that appeared on my face today:)

The rules of the game state that I have to write one random fact about myself to be considered for this nomination. So I am sitting here chewing on my virtual pencil not because I cannot come up with a random fact, but because I cannot pick one from the many. OK, here we go. When I was in eighth grade, I won an essay contest titled “What You Know about Traffic”. Instead of winning a few hard cover books as I expected, my reward was a curse: I had to compete in the town’s bicycle race. It was on a weekend and the course ran from our school, through the city park and on throughout closed-for-the-traffic city streets, which were lined by eager-looking parents and students. I was a socially awkward child and riding a bike was not a boasting point for me, as I considered myself lucky if I avoided the trucks and crazy motorcycle riders on my way to my friend’s house. Here I was exposed in front of my whole town, my crush included, trying to navigate the curves of an “8″ drawn on the concrete of the playground, trying not to touch the lines and attempting in vain to keep my front wheel straight enough to balance through the ten yards of an “as slow as you can go” stretch. Do I need to reiterate that I finished close to the bottom two? And all because I could write?

In order to further qualify for this award, I have to nominate at least five bloggers whose writing I enjoy, which was even harder than coming up with a random fact about me. I encounter talented writers every day and every day someone’s words seduce me. Here are my favorites who have not been chosen yet:

Dana has a great sense of humor and her everyday stories usually make my stomach hurt from laughter. I wish I had her penchant for snark. I turn to her blog whenever I need a dose of weirdly colored sunshine.

: Who does not feel the effects of Monet’s beautiful writing? Even when the fates deal her hand after hand of ugly, she keeps on writing, offering us insightful pieces of her soul.

Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Maureen Abood’s writing is wistful, evocative, and beautiful. In every sentence you can feel the love for her family and her Lebanon.

Food for the Thoughtless: I have no clue how I stumbled on Michael Procopio’s brilliantly written blog, but I don’t care. Every post he writes is a literary gem, an essay worth of publishing in the best of magazines.

Sasa Sunakku: I did not expect to discover such fresh and beautiful writing when I clicked on Sasa’s Harissa Carrot Salad recipe. But I was smitten from the first click and even though she does not update her blog as often as she did, I await every post with eager anticipation.

Lentil Breakdown: Adair is the master of the metaphor and her wit can slice through the toughest armors. The only predictable thing about her posts is that they will make you smile.

You might wonder about the significance of the photo. It was one of the best vacations: me, my sister, and my girls in beautiful Montenegro. And I like the way I looked. yes, I am that vain:)

19 Responses to “Verbal Essences”

  1. Lana – you deserve this award and so much more! Nice way to head in to the weekend. You deserve to be part of the storytelling panel I will be on at BlogHerFood in a couple of weeks – you are such a master of that skill. Don’t stop doing what you do so well. And I love the photo too – be vain – it’s a women’s prerogative :-)

    • Beth, thank you for those words! You just made my day! These days I second-guess the simplest of tasks and it means a lot to me that you think I am worthy:) Sending a big hug your way!

  2. Dear Lana, congratulations! both for two years of blogging and for the nominations. You are not alone in realizing after the fact the implications of the choice of name for your blog (in my case also of post titles). I don’t know how you pronounce it, but, for I have always liked it – maybe for the wrong reasons, but I don’t think it matters.

    • Simona, isn’t it the truth? And the titles bother me, too! I started with funny ones and now I have to continue, I think, even though they are not serving any purpose (but who thought of purpose when I started the blog???)

  3. I am quite convinced that “”stories” is your middle name. GREG

  4. I feel the way you do about Michael, but I feel that way about you, too. I’ll check the others out, and congrats! So glad this award didn’t involve a bike race!

  5. Heya… happy 2nd! congratulations for both. here’s to more blogging, more recipe sharing, and more stories to tell… cheers!

    • Thanks, Malou! It’s getting better and better and I don’t even want to imagine what my life would have been without my blog!

  6. Congrats on your award Lana. Nice to discover some new blogs, although I know Michael’s and Sasa’s. This a lovely photo of you and your sister.

  7. Congrats on your award Lana and congrats on your second anniversary! Both are great achievements. And I am unfamiliar with all the blogs you have forwarded the award to so I’m not about to hop over and introduce myself. Congrats again and I love that photo of you too – but which one is you???

  8. Happy blogiversary! Thank you for sharing yourself with us and for rising above all the cookie-cutter blogs. Must be your double-acting baking powder (a.k.a. amazing talent). And thanks for including me on your list!

  9. Happy anniversary, my darling woman. May your blog (and your person) thrive for many more years to come.

    And thank you so much for the kind words. They very much lifted my spirits this weekend.


  10. Once again..Happy 2 year blogiversary! I laughed at your analogy of being nominated to being asked out by the most gorgeous guy..that’s how I felt when Maureen nominated me, except I was like “Me? Moi? Did she make a mistake?” lol Another great post, and wow, you can rock a bikini!

  11. You are so so sweet. It was so touching for to be mentioned here. Thank you for sharing…and thank you for your kind kind words on my blog! I’m excited to have it up and running again. I hope you are having a beautiful day, my friend. Hugs from Austin!eet! Thank you so much for this. It made my morning.

  12. Congrats, Lana! Well deserved! :)

  13. A well-deserved award, Lana. Congrats! May you have many more years of explaining the meaning of Bibberche ;) Thanks for commenting on the eggplant parm – an oldie, but goodie! I look back and think I should rewrite and rephotograph all my posts from 2 years ago.

  14. HI! First of all, you look hot! so yes, be vain. lol. Congratulations on your nomination. It was only a matter of time. The mark of a good blogger is not the photos/layout/glam, but it’s the writing that keeps bringing the readers back. Just don’t forget us little people once you become famous. ;-) I thank you for introducing me to these other writers. (and I agree with your assessment of Lentil B, too!) I love knowing the next “tier” of talent. For example, the musicians I love – what do they listen to? :)
    by the way, i totally relate to your bike ride. Athletics were not one of my talents and the crush factor makes it 1000 times worse! my talents were in the arts (barely) and even that, it was never a “performing art” like dance or song. It’s drawing and painting (which i don’t do anymore) but I can’t exhibit a silent talent. Writing is very similar.

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