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Yay, our very first Liebster Award! To be honest, it was one of our goals to be nominated since we started our blog in August. The Liebster Award is a great way for beginner bloggers like us to network and get to know each other on a more personal level. We are very grateful to amazing Julie from Riserva Tour and Travel for nominating our blog and helping us reach our goal.

Julie and her husband Bryan have a travel blog and family business, where they help families to save money and time on travel planning. I love reading Julie’s posts because of her captivating writing style, beautiful pictures, and informative stories about every location her family visits. Like Julie, I’m one of those people who like to do research about the places I’m about to visit. I love learning about local history and traditions by visiting unique locations that only locals would know about. Julie and Bryan’s blog is perfect for finding information like that.

What Is the Liebster Award?

So what is the Liebster Award? It originated in 2011 as an award given to bloggers by their peers to help the beginners get recognized in the blogging community. As I already mentioned, it is a great opportunity for new bloggers to meet and collaborate with one another. Bloggers with fewer than 200 followers are eligible to participate. From the perspective of the audience, it’s a chance to take a peek behind the scenes and get to know the nominated bloggers better. Let’s start!

10 Unique Facts About Ourselves

1. Our blog is created by myself and my sister Anastasia.

 We are not only the co-founders of this blog but also best friends. Even though Anastasia lives in Houston and I live in North Carolina, we call each other every day and try to visit each other as often as we can. Here is a picture from our vacation in Las Vegas this summer. It was heartbreaking to hear about the terrible shooting that just happened there.

2. Both of us happen to have graduate degrees from the University of Houston.

I received Ph.D in Economics and Anastasia got her M.A. in Economics. Our studies overlapped during my graduation year. It was fun to go to school together.

3. We have a passion for education, with more than 15 years of combined experience of teaching undergraduate classes.

Here is a picture of the beautiful Appalachian State University campus, where I was teaching last year.

4. We speak more than one foreign language.

Both of us are fluent in English, Russian, and Ukrainian and have a basic conversational knowledge of French. Anastasia also speaks basic Spanish. I’m learning Turkish now, which is by far the hardest one for me.

5. I am blessed to live in one of the most beautiful little towns in the country – Boone, North Carolina.

Boone is the home to Appalachian State University. It is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina and has elevation of 3333 feet above sea level. Here is a picture of a breathtaking dusk I took this Saturday.

6. We are citizens of the world.

We grew up in Eastern Europe and moved to the U.S. to go to graduate school. After living in Houston for 5 years, I moved to Atlanta and then to Boone, North Carolina.

7. We are into arts and crafts.

Anastasia is really good at painting and design. Here is a picture of us at a painting class in Houston this summer. It was so much fun! I highly recommend Pinot’s Palette to anyone. If you are in a big city, treat yourself to a painting class. No experience necessary.

My hobby is an old Native American art form of weaving yarn designs on a set of wooden sticks. It’s called Ojo de Dios, which means “Eye of God”. Here are some of my recent ojos.

8. Our family lives in 5 countries.

Our extended family is spread across United States, Germany, Turkey, Ukraine, and Russia. My husband grew up in Turkey and we communicate in English.

9. We love cooking and making DIY products.

Anastasia is great at cooking delicious, healthy, and balanced meals from scratch. I make my own products with essential oils and contemplate starting my own aromatherapy product line in the future.

10. We enjoy traveling.

So far, I’ve visited 13 countries and many U.S. states. Here is a picture from our vacation in Turkey two years ago.

izmir-turkey

Answers to Questions asked by Julie:

  1. What is your favorite blog post you have written?

I have to admit choosing one is not an easy task. Every post is dear to my heart, and they are all special in their own way. However, I want to highlight the review I did on the book The Five Love Languages. This book was so eye-opening for me and for many of my friends that I recommend it to everyone. If you haven’t heard about the five love languages, put it on your reading list.

  1. Tell us where you are from and what inspired you to start blogging?

We are originally from Eastern Europe (Ukraine), but we lived in the U.S. since college. When I was teaching at Emory University and at Appalachian State University, students often came to my office and shared with me their day-to-day problems and concerns. Eventually, I was motivated to start a blog to address students’ questions and to have a more significant impact on their life. We were inspired to provide essential advice to students on how to succeed in college. Our blog is intended to be an online support system that students often don’t have in the education system.

  1. What social media platform do you prefer and why?

I like Instagram because it is so easy to connect with someone through visual content they post.

  1. What do you want to accomplish with your blog?

Well, where do I start? To begin with, we want to continue publishing two posts a week – on Mondays and Fridays, increase the number of newsletter subscribers to 1000 in the next 3 months, and publish an e-book for our readers. We are planning to offer exciting new products to help students with organizing their study and life. No spoilers!

  1. What is your favorite travel destination and why?

My favorite travel destination is Glacier National Park in Montana. We only spent three days there, but it was the most beautiful place I’ve seen so far. A close runner up for me is Pamukkale in Turkey. I would go back to both of these locations for a week or so to enjoy and soak in the beauty.

Our Lovely Nominees:

  1. Blossom from Blossom the Creativist
  2. Sarah from A College Girl
  3. Joie from Crescendeaux
  4. Paul from The Code to Riches 
  5. Lexi from Life by Lexi
  6. Molly from modDollar
  7. Close from Practically Close 
  8. Elisa from It’s The Journey Blog
  9. Angie from Indiana Hypnosis Center 

Questions for Our Nominees:

  1. If you could meet anyone you wanted, who would that be?
  2. What was/is your major in college and why?
  3. What is the most important lesson you have learned in life so far?
  4. What motivates you to reach your goals in life?
  5. What is your favorite movie?

Liebster Nomination Rules:

  • Display the award on your blog in your post and/or as a widget on your page
  • Provide 10 facts about yourself
  • Write a 150-300 word paragraph on your favorite blog that is NOT your own and explain why. (Provide a link(s).)
  • Answer the questions that the person who nominated you asked
  • Nominate 5-11 other bloggers and ask them your own questions! (Don’t forget to tell the other bloggers that they are nominated and when you post it)
  • List rules in your post