I Won! Country Living’s Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards

If you were reading about My Friday in Five Sentences last week, you may have wondered how I went from tweeting in LA one day to suddenly appearing in NYC the next.

I’m excited to finally spill the beans… I won the first annual Blue Ribbon Blogger Award from Country Living! The magazine and a guest panel of judges named Garden Betty as the best in the gardening category! I can’t even begin to express how thrilled I am!

Country Living's Blue Ribbon Blogger Award

Back in September, I found out I was selected as a finalist among 700 submissions that Country Living received. That in itself was an honor, but since my blog was just a few days shy of being one year old at the time, I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high about winning and filed it away under my “Wouldn’t that be swell someday?” list.

Fast forward a few weeks later, when I was on the tail end of my Europe trip and had almost forgotten about the award, I opened my email to see Country Living congratulating me on my win! It was very exciting to come home to. I’ve been sitting on this news for over a month until the magazine made its official announcement last Thursday, and I’m ecstatic to finally share it with all of you!

The winning bloggers from all seven categories were flown to New York last week for an awards ceremony.

Upon my arrival, I was treated to a sweet welcome gift at the hotel from Christine Rannazzisi-Gerstein, associate publisher of Country Living, who conceived of the awards. Those cupcakes made a sleepless, up-before-the-sun, cross-country flight much easier to bear!

Sweet welcome gift from Country Living

The next day, I made my way to the magazine’s headquarters at the fairly new Hearst Tower. Interestingly, it was the first skyscraper project to break ground post-9/11, and the first green highrise ever completed in New York City, becoming the city’s first LEED Gold-certified skyscraper in 2006. The first six floors are the original cast stone facade commissioned by Randolph Hearst and built in 1928. The upper 40 floors, made of structural steel and glass, were added nearly 80 years later to bring all the Hearst publications under one roof.

Hearst Tower

Elevator greeting

The awards ceremony and luncheon were held on the 44th floor, which had views for days over Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.

Awards luncheon at Hearst Tower

Awards luncheon at Hearst Tower

View of Manhattan highrises

Looking down over the streets of Manhattan

Central Park and the Manhattan skyline

We mingled with the other guests at the event, which included design and lifestyle mavens Sarah McColl and Jodi Kahn (two of the judges, and bloggers themselves), various press and sponsors, and the incredible staff at Country Living, whose hospitality was top-notch. (Interior design and lifestyle expert Eddie Ross — at one time or another the style guy for Martha Stewart, HGTV and Bravo — was also a judge, but unfortunately couldn’t make it.)

We snapped lots (and lots) of photos — here I am in front of the PR background feeling quite fancy; with editor-in-chief Sarah Gray Miller; and with the rest of the talented winners. These women are fabulous! I was in great company.

Linda Ly

Sarah Gray Miller and Linda Ly

First Annual Blue Ribbon Blogger Award winners

Winners Rachel and Wendy even got behind the camera for a few shots.

First Annual Blue Ribbon Blogger Award winners

We wined and dined on bottomless glasses of champagne and white wine, zucchini and arugula salad, Good Housekeeping-style popovers the size of my head (I really should’ve gotten a picture of those!), roasted organic chicken, confit potato pancake and apple cinnamon strudel.

Awards luncheon at Hearst Tower

Awards luncheon at Hearst Tower

Awards luncheon at Hearst Tower

Awards luncheon at Hearst Tower

Our charming guest judge (and singer/songwriter, cooking show host, and Country Living contributor who also raises a flock of 50 chickens at home… what doesn’t this guy do?) Cooper Boone co-hosted the event with Sarah Gray Miller. They were both a hoot and presented our meticulously handmade, big blue ribbons (by project contributor Cathe Holden) encased in lovely glass cloches.

Country Living editor-in-chief Sarah Gray Miller

First Annual Blue Ribbon Blogger Award winner Garden Betty

The awards and winners will be featured in Country Living’s December/January 2012 issue, which hits newsstands November 22, 2011. I’ll post an update when I get my copy!

In the meantime, please visit my fellow Blue Ribbon Blogger Award winners and their inspiring sites! Each has such a distinctive style and voice that I love.

I also can’t thank all my readers enough for following my blog over the past year — you’re the reason I keep writing! Knowing that there are people from all over the world reading Garden Betty, taking the time to comment on my posts, my Facebook updates and Twitter musings — and even link back to me — makes this award secondary to the pure delight I feel over reaching someone through my stories.

You’re awesome!

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November 7 2011      13 comments     Linda Ly
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