05 December 2011

Versatile Blogger Award!

I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Sam at TwoBlackDoggies. Thank you so much for the compliment, I really appreciate it. I have learned a great deal about the power of the internet in this last month. Not only its power of communication to spread news and information on an almost instant basis, but also the power to bring people together, no matter how far apart. It has been truly spectacular to see the outpour of ‘virtual’ love sent to Vernazza and all the victims of the October floods. It has been so heartwarming to read hundreds of messages, comments and emails; chat forums and Facebook groups all lending words of support and solidarity. People sharing their stories of their trip to the Cinque Terre or their special experience in Vernazza and wanting to help in whatever way they could. Donating money, sending relief packages and promising a return trip to the “Pearl of the 5 Terre”. 

There is now some news coverage available, but during the immediate aftermath of this tragic event, I quickly learned about the power of blogs. For several weeks it was only a handful of blogs spreading information on the disaster—news that wasn’t available from the media. And working together, linking to each other, we created a network that drew people from the tip of Australia to Singapore; from India to Tunisia; from South Africa to Finland! Never in my life did I think I would be part of a blogging group that would become the source of news for the entire planet. It has been truly amazing. So thank you to everyone that has been a part of this, has linked to our blogs or helped to spread the news about the help that is needed here in Liguria. 

Now, back to the award because there are specific rules that come with it. 
Rule #1: Link back to the person that gave you the award
Rule #2: Pass this award on to 15 other deserving blogs 
Rule #3: Give seven facts about yourself 

So first, here are my 15 picks, starting with Kate, my fellow Monterosso blogger who has been keeping everyone updated on the damage and progress in Monterosso. Next is the blog for the non-profit set up by American expats in Vernazza to keep us all updated on the progress and accept donations for the rebuilding projects in Vernazza. Please visit their site and donate if you can. Third is Andi's blog, Once in a Lifetime Travel, who is collecting great stories of Vernazza to publish in a book to raise money for Save Vernazza. If you have a story of falling in love with the town, the people, the food or your spouse there, send it to her. Then I have linked to other bloggers, both local and not so local who have been a part of this event, helping to spread the word and gain support. The last few are blogs that I follow.

1. Little Paradiso

2. Save Vernazza 

3. Once in a Lifetime Travel 

4. Bella Vita In Liguria

5. Italian Notebook

6. BellasAbroad 

7. ItalianFix

8. Italy Retreat

9. You Grow Girl

10. The Graphics Fairy

11. WastedFood

12. Elana’s Pantry
13. Girl’s Guide to Paris

14. Urban Garden Solution

15. Great Oak Circle

7 Things about me:

1) I am currently working on a cookbook that I plan to publish as an e-book for your ipad or Kindle in the very near future. It is more of a fun guide book than a strict book of recipes. It is the culmination of my years in Italy and is a blend of yummy food and great pictures. It includes some of my mother-in-law’s recipes, some dishes from my time in Sicily and many of my favorite fast and easy dishes.

2) I have a passion for nutrition and botany and I nearly completed my master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition with Clayton College of Natural Health. Then they suddenly closed down, leaving us all hanging in the wind. Being in Italy, it is hard to find a way to finish my studies from here, but eventually I will find a solution.

3) I have family and friends spread all over the world. I have family in California, Arizona, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Florida, Italy, Sicily and Norway. My three dearest friends are each on separate continents: One in California, one in Hong Kong and one in Australia.

4) I was married in a huge cathedral in Sicily, what I refer to as my Big, Fat Sicilian Wedding. In a type of inter-continental family reunion, it was the first time my mother, my sisters and niece were all together with our Italian family. That was my biggest goal of my wedding and I was able to make it happen!

5) The tale of my Italian heritage is a rather tragic one. My mother’s grandparents left Italy at the turn of the century to start a new life in America. In the 1920’s, a letter arrived from Italy and my great-grandmother fell to tears when she read “I am your son”, from the baby she was forced to leave behind so many years before. This reunited my family with our relatives in Italy and I heard many stories about what happened growing up, but they were all conflicting. So two years ago, I put on my detective shoes and tried to sort out the real story of my Italian ancestors. It is a classic story of honor, nobility, treachery, mafia and tragedy. Turns out that stories are much nicer than reality.

6) While researching my family tree to discover my Italian roots, I turned out discovering much more about my Scottish and Irish heritage. I followed my family line up to the Tudors on the Scottish side and connected with a distant relative in Dublin. I even learned of the small town in Wicklow county where my last name comes from!

7) I dream of working for the UN, WHO or UNESCO, so if you know anyone that works there, please connect me!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Thanks Nicole! When I have a sec, I will get right on it!

  3. Ciao Nicole,
    Thank you so much for including me in your group and writing me such a sweet letter on my site Italian Fix.
    Social Media is the new Media. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter have put a microphone in each of our hands and it is a powerful tool. We can't rely on traditional media to give us the full stories-- indeed they never have.
    What I have seen people produce with their hearts, hands and heads on the internet is nothing short of amazing. We are HUGE and POWERFUL. And we can do AMAZING THINGS TOGETHER. Thanks you Nicole for reminding us all. Bianca

  4. Thanks Nicole for the nomination. I will be posting soon. Thanks for your informative blog, and for keeping the world updated on the Cinque Terre progress.

  5. I have accepted your nomination for Versatile Blogger Award and posted on my Italy Retreat Blog. Grazie! http://italyretreat.blogspot.com/2011/12/versatile-blogger-award.html

  6. Proud of you Lenora! Congratulation! you word very hard and you deserve it!

    I hope I will get chance to travel Italy some day .

    Wishing you all the Best.


    "I love to Cook Food, Love Eat,Travel the world and Share the Culture, Life is about Expression Go for it and Do it BIG " -International Award Winning and Renowned Ayurvedic chef Mangal Tamang


I really appreciate your comments.

Vernazza Updates:

Vernazza is well on its way to normalcy and while I no longer write updates on their status, you can learn about the devastating floods of 2011 by clicking the label "Vernazza Updates". For the latest information from the organizations in Vernazza and Monterosso, visit SaveVernazza and Rebuild Monterosso.

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