Twelve Years But Not Full Circle

Undina’s Looking Glass is twelve. I missed it by a couple of days – not because I forgot, and not even because I didn’t know what I wanted to write about, but I wasn’t organized well to do it in advance, and when the day came, there were some less pleasant but more important things to take care of. But since I still love holidays, birthdays and anniversaries, I knew I didn’t want to skip it.

Twelve years is a long term for almost anything in our lives: people get an education, move houses, open and close/sell businesses, change cars, jobs and even partners/spouses, get and lose furry friends and go through many other less significant life events in that period. So, keeping a perfume blog for 12 years is worth celebrating, don’t you think?

When I started this blog in 2011, I didn’t expect to get “free-range” readers. My initial intent was to have it as a sort of a visiting card for when I was commenting on other blogs’ posts – so that those blogs’ owners would know who I was and could return a visit if they felt like it. I love being a part of a community (and belonged to several great ones in my life, both real and virtual), and I thought that having a blog was the justify way of participating in Perfumeland’s community. MUA, Fragrantica or Basenotes felt too large and not personal enough (and the same I felt later about FB groups). But blogs felt just right.

Undina's Looking Glass Blog Header

Back then, a HUGE number of perfume blogs were active. I followed many of them, became virtual friends with some bloggers (and even met with several), and somehow managed to read dozens of posts every week. Many blogs had “blogrolls” as a part of the layout: one of the two prevailing platforms, Blogpost, provided it “out of the box,” listing all other blogs that one followed; and WordPress allowed adding those manually via the Links collection. So, many bloggers were building those cross-reference lists. My approach was slightly different: I put in my “Reading List” only those blogs that I followed and whose posts I always read.

In these 12 years, some blogs have gone silent, many disappeared altogether, and a much smaller number of new blogs appeared.

Only 12 blogs are left on my current “Reading List,” and even those are not all really active (but I still have hope they will stick around for a while longer). I also know of a few other blogs that still publish, but I didn’t find common ground with those, and since we do not communicate, I turned them off in my list.

Out of all the blogs that I used to follow and read, the 12 I miss the most (those that are still online are linked):

When I was thinking about this post a month ago, I planned to put Australian Perfume Junkies as my #1 blog that I miss: even though Portia is now one of the regular guest writers on my blog and Perfume Posse, I miss coming to the APJ for the weekly report on perfumes worn, food eaten and friends met. But I might be putting it back on my Reading List instead! If you missed it, Portia and Old Herbaceous of Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities are running some interesting collaboration that involves both blogs. It makes me happy.

But now to my list of 12.

Olfactoria’s Travels is one of the first blogs I read (the NST doesn’t count because I was reading it before I even knew what blogs were or realized that people commented on those posts). Birgit’s reviews were very elegant and composed. And it was her blog where our Saturday Question (back then, Monday Question) series started.

Olfactoria's Travels Header

A Bottled Rose was created by Tara, who started as a guest writer on the Olfactoria’s Travels blog (and once posted on ULG). Most of you are probably familiar with her soft and thoughtful review style. Her blog became home to Portia (once the APJ went on hiatus) and Val, the Cookie Queen. Tara hasn’t officially announced the blog closure, but it has been getting “quieter” for the last couple of years, so it looks like she’s done (but one can hope, right?).

A Bottled Rose Blog Header

At least for a while, we were friends with Natalie from Another Perfume Blog. She posted not only perfume reviews but also perfume and fashion news and fiction stories. A couple of times, she participated in the blind-test games for my Déjà vu series (Episodes 2 & 4). She moved, moved on, and deleted her blog.

Another Perfume Blog Header

Suzanne’s Perfume Journal was an unusual blog. While Suzanne was highly social and outgoing and had many friends in the Blogosphere, her blog ran on a platform that didn’t support either comments or automated comments subscriptions. She manually added people who wanted to know about new posts to the distribution list. Suzanne wrote wonderful perfume stories and amazingly supportive and thoughtful comments on other people’s blogs. She passed away way too early. Unfortunately, her site isn’t available directly. But you can still get to her stories using the Web Archive’s copy.

Suzanne's Perfume Journal Blog Header

I met Asali, the author of The Sounds of Scent, when she was a guest writer on another wonderful blog, All I Am – a Redhead (it’s still on my Reading List, and Ines is still around, but it’s one of the blogs that isn’t updated as regularly as I’d like it to). Asali’s blog, now moved under the “Private” lock, was unique because it connected her two passions – perfumes and music. She is the author of the picture that I use as my blog’s header. Asali is still present on Instagram, where you can catch from time to time her artistic perfume flatlays and photos of her beautiful black cat Vega.

Lavanya of the Purple Paper Planes is still around, but those who didn’t know her back when she was active on her blog might now be more familiar with her subscription service Boxwalla. I completely understand that running a small business should take up all the creative resources she might have. But I miss her in the perfume Blogosphere.

Purple Paper Planes Blog Header

Beauty on the Outside was another “one of the first” blog that I started commenting on back in the day. Dee was active for a while, and some of her reviews were quite unusual (if you’re curious, read this Amouage Opus VI review. Then she went silent and came back, got silent again, and tried to come back again.

Beauty on the Outside Blog Header

Victoria from EauMG was the one who ran her blog almost as a professional magazine: she published formal reviews, had a beauty series where she recreated makeup looks, and even tried to make some YouTube videos (probably a little earlier than it became “a thing”). She stopped posting on her blog, but you can still find her on Instagram.

EauMG Blog Header

My taste didn’t coincide with the taste of Christos (Memory of Scent), but it was interesting to read his take on perfumes I knew. I stopped following him closely once he started writing for the Fragrance Daily (I’m not sure what happened to that community: now it is just an online perfume shop). And then he stopped writing.

Memory of Scent Blog Header

I felt that with Mals86 of Muse in Wooden Shoes, our background, lifestyle and almost every other aspect of life were very different; we didn’t “click,” but I liked reading stories about life and her kids that she shared in her perfume diaries. And she’s probably the only other perfumista who I know who liked Climat by Lancôme, my first and everlasting perfume love. Her blog is no longer available, but I still see her in NST’s SOTD threads from time to time (though I haven’t followed those for a while).

Muse In Wooden Shoes Blog Header

Gaia, The Non-Blonde, was probably the only blog I kept following (and even commenting on from time to time) despite her disregarding half of all comments readers left on her posts and rarely participating in conversations on others’ blogs. But she was one of the “founding members” of the perfume Blogosphere, so she was an exception to my mental rule not to engage with those who didn’t want to engage with me. Besides, she loved and shared her life with a lot of cats. Her unexpected passing (from an undiagnosed heart condition) made a big impression on me, and I pay more attention to my health than I would have without that awful life lesson.

The Non-Blonde Blog Header

There were many more blogs I read regularly and communicated with, and the last one I want to mention here isn’t the one I miss the most. The Perfumed Dandy blog was an odd duck. I had a feeling that the writer wasn’t a real person but rather a project run by at least one woman (but maybe a group). “He” didn’t sound like a man playing the role but rather like a woman playing the role of a man playing the role. I will probably never know it for a fact, so that blog got an “honorable mention” in this list for the mystery aspect.

The Perfumed Dandy Blog Header

* * *

Back to Undina’s Looking Glass.

I’m not done yet. Since I don’t expect it to go on for another 12 years, I will not consider it a full circle and keep going as long as it naturally goes. I love perfume. I love my blog. I enjoy talking to all of you, no matter how you got here. I notice when you disappear for a while and am glad to see you back. I want you to know that I usually read your comments the same day you post them, even if sometimes it takes me several days to respond. I’m not sure if you still want to read about specific perfumes, but I’ll keep writing about them occasionally (if I have a story to tell or something I want to share). Whether you care about this aspect or not (I did notice that those posts get fewer participants), I plan to continue my Sunday Self-Care series because it amuses me. I hope Portia will keep writing guest posts every couple of weeks, even with other APJ projects going. And once again, I invite any of you, my “free-range” readers, to use my blog as a platform if you have in you a story or two that you’d like to share but don’t feel like starting a blog for it. While his health allows, Rusty will keep being a part of this blog. And as long as you all come back to participate in the Saturday Question posts, I’ll keep coming up with questions for those.

Rusty Sleeping

This week’s Saturday Question is coming, so don’t think that this is it. But I wanted to offer you to guess: Links to how many blogs (both visible and hidden) do you think I collected over the years in my Reading List? Just a reminder: it has never been a list of all existing blogs, just those I read and communicated with.


Images: all blogs’ images are from the corresponding blogs; the rest – my own.


66 thoughts on “Twelve Years But Not Full Circle

  1. Happy Anniversary!! I think you and I met virtually around 2012 and yes there were definitely many more active blogs. I am happy you have stuck around as I do enjoy popping in, despite the fact that my activity level online is down to nothing. Pickles , Wedge and Squirrel say hi to Rusty.
    P S I too always wondered about the Dandy. I once sent him a perfume package he won on Daisy’s blog and he refused to give his real name :)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Twelve years – in some ways a lifetime, in others the blink of an eye …. Congratulations on your anniversary, and thank you for sharing your thoughts with us over that time. And long may you continue to do so!

    I feel a little sad reading about the blogs that have melted away. You mention several that I used to follow; I also used to like Octavian Coifan, whose posts were sometimes acerbic, but always informative and honest. I am quite cheered by the fact that Gaia didn’t always respond to you either!

    Melancholy touches me when you write about Rusty … our girl cat is beginning to fade, and I feel those familiar pangs in my heart as I contemplate the briefness of our furry children’s lives. So the best thing to do is love them even more and enjoy the time we still have – much like all things, including favourite blogs.

    With hugs, and a specially big one for Rusty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jillie. I smile every time I see your avatar.

      I also followed Octavian and enjoyed reading his posts. I remember when he closed his blog. He explained it, if I’m not mistaken, by the conflict of interests with his new job. But he suffered bouts of misanthropy because there were nobody to have a conversation with on his level, so he lost interest in just single-sided lectures.

      Rusty is loved (and spoiled) by all the inhabitants of our household and our friends. It warms my heart that so many of my virtual friends “know” him and enjoy his company. He is an amazing cat, and I know that I will never feel fine about the unfairness of the shortness of our time together. But for now I will enjoy his company and try to spread joy through my blog and IG.


  3. Happy anniversary and may you continue for more years. NST was the first blog I discovered and its blogroll opened up new discoveries. Sadly, most have now shut down, as you say. I didn’t participate in commenting on most of them, so never found out if Gaia would have answered😉 I’m glad you are interactive, it definitely adds to the experience. And we also get to see the handsome teenager, when he’s up for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cassieflower.
      Interactions are the best part for me!
      What I like on the NST the most is that participants talk to each other. The audience thought is too large for me: I can’t remember that many people to fully engage. 20-25 returning readers on my blog is an optimal group for me. But because this group hasn’t reached the “critical mass,” we get less interactions between commenters. But we have some (and thank you for that too :) ).


  4. Congratulations on your 12th anniversary! I admire you so much for your consistency and continued passion. Your posts always made an impression on me because of your unique voice and the way they were perfume-related stories from your life rather than impersonal reviews.

    This was also such a nice stroll down memory lane and I truly appreciate your kind words. I had forgotten about The Perfumed Dandy and Muse in Wooden Shoes which I followed along with many other smaller blogs. I now see it rather sentimentality as a kind of ‘golden age’ and am beyond grateful to have been a part of it and retained so many lasting friendships as a result.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Congratulations on 12 years! I really miss the regular blogs and so I eagerly await the new posts from the few who are still regularly writing. I stumbled upon NST when I was trying to learn something about a perfume that intrigued me from an ad, and down the rabbit hole I went. I imagine I found yours from a blog roll, I was reading everything I could find back then. I found I couldn’t keep up with daily SOTD posts on NST but a weekly pop in with you and Old Herbaceous keep me somewhat connected. While I post my own SOTD on Instagram, I’m not nearly as interested in that format (or YouTube) for perfume content. I’d much rather read. Thanks for staying the course, at least while it’s still fun for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, MMKinPA!

      I follow your SOTD posts.

      I love seeing beautiful perfume photos on IG, but I can barely force myself to read longer descriptions from my friends (I mean those with whom I communicate via blogs). I refuse to read anything else from anyone else: IG isn’t the right format for longer posts, in my opinion.


      • Totally agree on IG posts. And they are pushing reels HARD to compete with TikTok (will never download that app) – so lots of mini review videos, I don’t watch those at all. If I can’t find a beautifully written full review on a blog, I’ll just read Fragrantica comments (with a grain of salt) and get a sample. (Every now and then I’ll look at a YouTube video, but not often.)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on 12 interesting and informative years of mostly fascinating posts! I rarely answer most blogs, but have followed many. So miss APJ and all the highjinks, travels, friends of Portia and Jin. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s that everything passes, changes, or morphs into something new. I hope you find your blog as much fun in the future, and that you keep the faith with your sisters and brothers. Kitty kisses to Rusty from me and my fur babies Monte, Mitsy, and Callie.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks so much for this post. I am a creature of habit and miss the old abundance of perfume blogs. Video perfume reviews just don’t work for me–I keep thinking, Why would I watch somebody going “Um, this is sort of–” when I could read something that’s been edited instead? But that’s just me. I joined MUA in 2004 and often wonder where all those people went–did they eventually lose interest in perfume, did “real life” intervene?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations on 12 years! That’s one “circle” in the Chinese zodiac. 😉 I will admit I haven’t commented on the self-care posts because I’m not familiar with the products at all. Hard to guess your reading list but maybe… 20? I wasn’t around in the golden age of blogging so I may have a skewed perception of the scope of it. Cheers to more posts and photos of Rusty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, NP!

      I’m not complaining about less attention to my skincare posts: it’s rather an acknowledgment of the fact that I understand my readers are interested less in the topic (but plan to disregard that knowledge :) ).

      You are the first person to answer the question! I was totally prepared to everybody ignoring it completely! My list has 86 links total (and there were more than 100 blogs at the time, some of them were on their way out when I started, others appeared later).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Glasses of champagne raised to you, Undina! I can’t believe it has been twelve years of reading, writing, and sniffing. It seems like just yesterday that we “met” via blogging. I don’t read or comment as much as I used to, but I do look back on those early days with awe and admiration for how vibrant, supportive, and engaged the community was. It still is, but differently as you mentioned. In any case, my life is richer and fuller with you and Rusty in it. Congratulations on this milestone, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, D! I feel lucky I met you all online (and I still hope to meet you and hajusuuri in RL one day).
      I miss your old blog as well. Are you going to post anything on your new one? (Trying to figure out if I should add it to the Reading List.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure you will! One day, one of us will make it to the other coast. It will be a wonderful and wonderfully fragrant meet-up!

        I miss blogging too. It just baffles me when I found the time to do all that recipe writing, testing, and photographing. I think for some dishes, I had to make them a few times to make sure that what I was posting wasn’t a fluke.

        As for the new blog, slowly, slowly. But please no need to add it to the Reading list! It’s a super kind thought, but there is not enough on there yet.

        I really truly admire those who post often! It’s a true accomplishment and always lovely to have news, both perfume and personal.


        Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations my dear. The world has changed so much in the past 12 years, not only in the perfume world, but the real world as well. It all seems so innocent back then with the perfume blogosphere and the wonder of the industry that it created. I do miss those days because let’s face it, the perfume vlogs are just not the same and I have find them unwatchable and they seem to be about the person and not the perfume. Love you, love your posts and look forward to 12 more years of your perfume loving views, insights, stats, questions…and of course Rusty!!! xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Steve, I’m glad to see you still around. I was afraid you’ll “fade away” once you moved, so I’m happy you haven’t.

      I agree that a lot has changed. But it’s great that we had that wonderfully innocent and joyful time. We’ll see what happens next.

      I tried watching perfume channels. Nope. It doesn’t work. I think it could have worked with some very creative person who would build each episode around perfume (or several), but not doing just a review. Because 15-20 minutes review of a single perfume is nonsense – and shorter videos don’t get similar promotions and views. I don’t want even try watching TikTok perfume reviews! :)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m too old for Tik Tok. IG was a stretch! My least favorite youtube posts: My latest haul.” I don’t know why it annoys me so. Just sounds braggy, I guess. Specifically the term “haul”. If they just said “I purchased 8 perfumes,” or “I received five perfumes”, it wouldn’t grate on me so much. I know, I’m being cranky today!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I can totally relate, Cynthia! Those Youtube ‘reviews’ drive me crazy. The presenters always make the viewers watch them opening a box. Really? I don’t want to spend my time watching anyone open a box! And they always want to show off their collection of 1500 bottles. I’m not impressed, sorry youtubers…


        • I think that even more than “My Recent [PR] Haul” I dislike “de-cluttering” videos: I could still remember the time when that creator was over the moon about that product – and now, a year or two later, it’s being thrown away in an almost-new condition.
          I understand that this is a business expense, and that they theoretically cannot use up all the products they buy or are sent. But I don’t understand that showing of throwing away products, many of which were bought by their audience in response to the favorable review.


  11. 12 years! Congratulations! As to how many perfume blogs to which you’ve linked at least once, I guess 45.

    I’ve met a good number of your commenters over the years: Asali, Birgit, Daisy, Gaia, Portia, TaraC, The Scented Hound, Val, Victoria (and quite a few others who don’t comment or whose blog you did not mention).

    Here’s to 12 more years and give that handsome cat of your a big smoosh and a boop!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Congratulations on 12 years! I can’t believe it’s been that long! I think I started following you in 2012 or 13ish. I know I don’t comment that often but I read every single post, I love the honest and laid back style here. The perfume blogosphere and internet in general has changed so much over the years. Like you, I miss so many of the OG bloggers. I can’t ever see myself getting into all the YouTube and TikTok posts. I hope the written perfume review never dies. Keep up the wonderful work, I know it can’t be easy some days but, know that you are really helping to keep this wonderful community alive! Here’s to many more years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, dubaiscents. I really enjoy having these circles of friends/readers/bloggers that intersect on different platforms, find topics to discuss and share, perfumes to love or criticize and make each other’s daily life a little bit fuller, better and more fulfilling.


  13. Thanks for the walk down memory lane! I loved that era when the written word ruled, and the community of perfume lovers it created. I think I found Now Smell This first, but your blog followed shortly after. You were a pioneer and your longevity has been amazing!

    I didn’t start blogging until it was already starting to die out. I’ve never claimed to be a trendsetter! I do instagram a little, but I’m like many of you here, youtube videos annoy the heck out of me. They drone on and on, and in the end don’t really seem to say anything much (there are some exceptions, of course).

    You mentioned many of my favorite blogs. I also read Bois de Jasmin, Fragrance Bouquet, I Smell Therefore i am, Grain de Musc, and others I’ve forgotten. I was a little intimidated by Gaia. My posts are riddled with “in my opinion” and “to me this smells like”. Her statements were definitive and imperative. She had no doubt in voicing what she thought. And her posts were succinct and fun to read. She passed way too soon.

    I’ve always admired that you started your blog back when it was a rarer thing, and now I know the founding story. I like how you’ve evolved into keeping a community conversation going. Please keep it up and congratulations! And love to Rusty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cynthia. I do remember that you started later, but in my recollection it was a very long time ago, so looking back from now – you were there “from the beginning” :) And I think you’re doing wonderful job with IG!


      • Thank you, Undina! I post in spurts, lately it’s been nothing. But I do enjoy that form of communicating perfumes when I travel, and don’t want to write a long post.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. twelve years is an eternity in blogging, kudos! You are right, so many great perfume blogs are now defunct. I was also truly sad to hear of Gaias passing, but am happy to read your blog and now Portias blog again. Please keep on writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Congratulations! That is quite a milestone. I look forward to your blog posts each week and I love the community of people who post on the blog. Thank you for giving us all this gift of thoughtfulness and intellectual stimulation.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Twelve years, that is a long time indeed. Thank you for all the posts, and hopefully future ones to follow. I miss many of the blogs you mentioned, also now Colognoisseur who seems to have disappeared.
    For some reason I haven’t received notifications of your new posts. I subscribed again which I hope will work.


  17. Undina, happy blogoversary!
    I was so very happy to get a mention here, and I feel that I should say that unfortunately in the case of my blog, all is lost, it’s not just a private lock.

    I loved Tara’s mention of a golden age, it was such an amazing time. I still love my perfumes, and feel such joy from having been part of it all, and getting to know all these amazing people.
    I feel that somehow you’ve managed to strike the perfect tone for your blog, with all those personal stories and postcards, which makes for a long lived and unique blog. I love hanging out here, and hope you’ll keep up the pen for all those of us who ran out of ink along the way. Cheers to (at least) 12 more years.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sorry I’m late to the party to wish you a very happy blog anniversary – I have been distracted with yet more medical issues – but it was lovely to read all about the blogs that used to be part of my everyday reading list to which I would add The Left Coast Nose, and Notes from the Ledge. (I think that was its name – Shelly Ferguson’s blog.)

    And thank you for not putting me in the “gone category”, as I am definitely going to be coming back – more than lately certainly.

    Keep up the good work! You are an important thread to the beginning of the hobby for my generation of perfume lovers.


    • You’re never late! You managed to post right by the time I got to commenting on the last portion of comments :)

      Interestingly, I don’t recognize any of the two blogs you’ve mentioned. Probably it was “before my time” (since you started your blog almost a year earlier than I did).


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