I didn't know how to start this review. For the first paragraph or so of my reviews, I generally like to pull out some piece of the personality or experience of the blogger I'm reviewing to relate to or make fun of. I think of how their lives relate or don't relate to mine, I tell a charming or embarrassing story from my past, I make fun of myself and them, I tell you who I am and who they are: pretty much I find some way to make it about me, too. Because I'm just that self-centered. Also it makes for good story telling. Don't tell me it doesn't because I won't believe you (Remember? Self-centered.).
I feel like over the past year or so of reviewing blogs I've started to know what I'm doing. I've been feeling rather old-hat, really: like I've seen it all now, the good blogs and the terrible blogs and the blogs that are getting by but need some work. There haven't been all that many surprises for me lately, and the reviews come quick and dirty and easily. More often than not, frankly, I feel better than the unwashed blogging masses, which sounds really puffed up and full of myself, and, guess what, I am sometimes. (Both better than the unwashed masses and full of myself, at the same time and independent of the other. I'm also over-explainy and unduly fond of parentheticals.)
But this week I struggled.
First impressions: Nice design, organized, good about page, love the tabs and the FAQs, hate the ads, but in today's economy I'm becoming more lax on that (shill!). The archives are all tidy, but I don't like how they automatically roll back up -- sometimes static wins.
Digging in: The dating chronicles are amusing, although she reveals a slight tendency toward superficiality, which is probably forgivable under the auspices of online dating. Also, she realizes she has issues, and I like people who own their foibles. She wears Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfume, which is my absolute fave (I wear their O). But I can't figure out why she sometimes writes "noh" instead of "no."
I want to read the entire thing from the beginning, which is a good sign, although there is a marked gap between 2004 and 2008. Anna, I'd like a bit of a re-introduction when you start blogging again in 2008 -- what happened in the meantime? Now all the sudden there's a kid and a husband.
There are posts about things and products and such, which is fine by me. I'm a material girl and I like a review once in a while. And, true to her tag line, there are pop cultural references (I've never watched a single episode of John & Kate, but I don't have to -- the internet tells me all I need to know.) and thoughts about being a mother that in no way step over the line into dreaded cutesy mommy blogger territory.
Here's where my struggle comes in: I feel like I can't really critique her. Anna has got this shit down. She posts often, she writes so very well, she's insightful and charming and she's got a blog design that works and matches her personality. I like her. A lot. If I didn't have all this pesky work to do, I'd have pulled up close and clicked through her entire oeuvre. I no doubt will at some point. She strikes a balance between revealing herself in bits and pieces and just downright entertaining us. She's a smartypants and she knows it but isn't all sneery about it, and I love that. But she's also totally neurotic and acerbic and funny and honest, which I love even more. I find myself in the unenviable position of wishing she'd review my blog instead of the other way around. I figure she can teach me a thing or two.