When I started this blog a little more than a year ago, my vision was to reach out and connect with other like-minded individuals but it wasn’t necessarily my be-all, end-all goal. I had been blogging about yoga, dance, and related mind-body activities for years, but I restricted my posts to a limited audience, and I always felt guilty for plaguing my friends’ feeds with my contemplative posts about Kripalu, kundalini, and chaotic drum circles.

So when yogi/blogger Liberez Vous contacted me to let me know that she was gracing my blog with the Liebster Award (German for favorite, dearest, or beloved) for inspiring her through my words, I did what makes me me: I stood up from the kitchen table and did the happy dance around the ceramic-tiled floor. I write mostly for myself, but I love knowing there are other eyes out there taking in my oftentimes quirky collages of nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

Even cooler, Liberez Vous digs me mostly for my musings on my month-long yoga teacher training experience at Kripalu, that weepy/emo/euphoric series of 29 posts that recounted each day of my wild journey to becoming a yoga teacher. Bless her for following along and not getting freaked out, especially when I discussed having visions of a garden full of eyeballs or the time I swore my yoga mat was turning into a Magic Eye book. It must’ve sparked something in her, because she’s applied to the Kripalu YTT program as well. Wish her luck!

What I’ve learned about the Liebster Award is that it is awarded by bloggers to other, newer bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers, to spread the word and help the “new(er)bies” gain wider recognition. The award comes with four conditions that each recipient must satisfy when accepting:

1. Choose 5 up-and-coming blogs (with fewer than 200 followers) to award the Liebster to.
2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
3. Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites. Leave comments on their blogs so they know about the award.
4. Share 5 random facts about yourself that people don’t know about you.

That said, I’m ready to spread the Liebster love! Please welcome…

Eating From the Earth. Emma, one of my nearest and dearest friends from high school, is essentially a 21st-century Laura Ingalls Wilder. She’s a full-time pharmacist, wife, and mother of 2.5-year-old Gabriella (cutest toddler ever!), yet somehow finds the time to cook everything from scratch and make by hand nearly everything she wears. It’s sickening! 🙂 I once ate a meal at her place in which the noodles in the butternut squash lasagna were made at home, and the bread we broke started as yeast and water in her oven. Emma doesn’t post often, but clearly that’s because she is outside stomping grapes for wine or de-feathering a chicken or something.

VeggieVinyasa. I don’t know Angela personally, but her posts—usually about food or yoga—are refreshing (both visually and mouthwatering) and so clean and sleek, like a center spread out of Whole Living magazine. The inside of her refrigerator looks like a miniature farmers market, whereas mine is housing beer, leftover baked beans, and a box of tomato soup that I’m fairly certain has turned into a solid by now. Go read her recipes, and learn some Sanskrit while you’re at it, too!

Hour 23. Join California native Jessica for her touching posts about motherhood and learning the delicate balance of being a full-time working mama. I first connected with Jess via our old blogging stomping ground, and we actually had the chance to meet several years ago when she was in New Jersey to visit family. Jess’ posts about raising Charlie V are honest, hilarious, and chock full of photos, both tender (like the one of her son mesmerized by garbage trucks) or downright silly (like the one of her mom trying to take a self-portrait with her iPhone in the bathroom mirror).

Me vs. Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. I stumbled across Nicole’s blog after it popped up in my Google Alerts for “Kripalu,” because I love reading about others’ experience at the yoga center in Massachusetts. She had been there for a retreat with her husband, who was just getting acquainted with the practice. She writes openly and down to earth about the process of turning her solo yoga practice into a shared experience with her spouse. Nicole has a unique medical condition that she occasionally discusses in her posts, but for the most part she simply blogs about what keeps her sane—yoga—and the solace it brings to her often-aching body.

Adventures of Flapjacks. This little lobster has some big adventures, which all started in 2003 when my husband and I “rescued” him from a cruise ship gift shop. He’s became a 3-D version of Flat Stanley, traveling wherever we travel and always finding new ways to charm his followers (especially when he wears his miniature Mickey Mouse ears in Disney World). He’s been to Detroit, on ski trips, to Kripalu (twice!), both Disney World and Disneyland, the Jersey shore, the Franklin Institute, plus he’s run for office several times. His obsessions are Starbucks lattes/Frappuccinos, motorcycles, the teacups ride in Fantasyland, and operating the laser gun in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Flapjacks apologizes for all the random Cyrillic on his blog; he’s getting a bit frustrated with the LiveJournal platform and plans on upgrading to a WordPress blog soon.

Congratulations, Liebster inductees!

Finally, to fulfill the last requirement of being a Liebster blogger, here are 5 random facts about me:

• My sister and I both have mild forms of trypophobia, a “fear” of holes, clusters, and repeated patterns. For example, honeycomb, crumpets, and wasps’ nests make us want to hurl.
• I have never pumped my own gas. (I live in New Jersey, one of only two states in the country where it is technically illegal to pump your own, and anytime I’ve been in other states, I’ve had someone else with me who’d do it!)
• I’ve been to China/Tibet and Egypt but never to Canada, which we could drive to in about 8 hours.
• I haven’t eaten beef since I was 14.
• If I hear the Wishes soundtrack (fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom), it will take me approximately 0.64 seconds to start crying on the spot.