For this week’s “Lazy Friday” feature, I’m reviewing 4 of my favorite blogs. One author I know personally, others I “discovered,” or were recommended to me. Regardless of how I started following these blogs they’re all wonderful! Check it:
An American in Ireland was a recommendation by another blog I enjoy, Edible Ireland. Clare, the author, is a professional freelance writer who moved to Ireland two years ago. She started out living in Drogheda, but after meeting “Mountain Man” (now her very recent fiancé), she moved to Dublin. Despite being a Japanese-born American, Clare’s perspective does not come across as the self-righteous outsider. Even before meeting her fiancé, Clare naturally immersed herself in Irish culture. Clare possesses that valuable trait of expressing the inevitable cultural clashes and frustrations without judgement. “An American in Ireland” is also a food blog. Writers know that, to improve one’s own writing, it’s important to read what others are creating. The same is true with cooking – and Clare’s connections with other Irish food bloggers have given her a closer look into both Irish culture and a wider view into food. Originally from Japan and more recently from Los Angeles, her food tastes are already healthy but creatively delicious. As time passes and Clare experiences more Irish food and influence, her recipe variety increases. So far I’ve tried two of them: seaweed rice and African stew over quinoa. Both are wonderful and I plan on making them again…soon! When I at last make it to Ireland, I plan on hunting down several places Clare recommends for food, sights, and socialization. Check out “An American in Ireland” for truly good recipes and insight into Irish living!
It’s difficult to express how much I love this site. I love LOVE Boho Baby Bump. If you and I are friends, there’s a good chance I’ve told you more than once about this blog. Jessica is the author. I first saw her on the TV show “Girl Meets Gown.” Even through the screen, she was bright, bubbly, genuine, and bohemian. How could I not love her, even without knowing her? Eventually I found her blog, where she features new music, her personal boho style in home décor and clothing, and sweetest of all she has chronicled her journey as a mommy. As if her wedding story wasn’t beautiful enough, her son’s birth was, too. Jess and her husband Samuel elected to have a home birth. Her sister-in-law provided a photo story (not graphic) of the experience; though it was obviously difficult, strenuous, and hard for Jess, it was also truly beautiful. Recently, Jess suffered a devastating miscarriage…but through her honest expression of how she was struggling, many of her readers were comforted or encouraged. Even more recently, though, Jess found out she “has the bump again!” Read Boho Baby Bump for creative inspiration, to follow the story of a genuine and beautiful family, and for wonderful ideas for hippie-boho living.
2summers became a part of my regular reading when it was “freshly pressed” on the WordPress.com homepage. As you may expect, this continues my theme of blogs-that-feature-travel-writing! Heather, 2summers’s author, is an American who moved to South Africa. There were no guarantees and no top-paying job awaiting her. But Heather’s significant other, known as “Joe” on the blog, was there for her – and so was a new and vibrant life. Readers are able to experience South Africa with Heather as she photographs, samples, and writes with an open heart. Her reviews are for the everyday person, not merely those who sightsee and vacation at resorts. Following in Heather’s footsteps would allow a person to become, even briefly, a part of South Africa. My interest in this country was low before I began reading 2summers. Since following the blog, I’ve definitely placed it in the “Must Experience” checklist!
(*Note: In December, Joe passed away. Please pray for Heather.)
Technically, I’ve never met Emily, author of Japanese Coffee…but we function as if we’ve been friends for years! Emily is an OMS missionary in Japan and has been a friend and encouragement to me since we started “talking” in December. Japanese Coffee chronicles Emily’s journey from funding (the beginning of her blog), through training, and now her life in Japan. She blogs about her art, her writing, her spiritual journey, and the relationships she’s been built in Japan. What strikes me most about Emily is her honesty. Sometimes, reading her blog, I’d cringe – not because Emily had written something awkward, but because her honesty about her weaknesses or experiences with God did something to convict me. I believe Emily allows the Holy Spirit to work through her, even in writing her blog; because the overarching theme and motivation is grace. The grace of Jesus in her own life, the grace she must exhibit to the Japanese she is teaching, and the grace they must show her as a newcomer. Emily and I hope to meet in person this summer, when she returns to the states for an OMS seminar! Read Japanese Coffee for funny and frank cultural observations – from the perspective of a young, dedicated missionary with a heart & soul of gold.
…Well, this blog review has been fun! Look for more blog reviews in upcoming Lazy Fridays. : )