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.
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.
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?).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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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.
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.