Thursday, April 16, 2015

A New Journey Begins...


Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”
Pablo Picasso

I embarked on a quest to find my creative side… and slowly ventured into acrylic painting. I recently finished my first art piece and it gave me a sense of accomplishment in creating something beautiful and to see the happiness it brings to someone else and love the painting, is the most fulfilling compliment I can ever ask.

So here goes my first art piece... definitely not perfect but happy with what I have created


 

I always believe that we all have some hidden talents that we need to tap. God has gifted us in many ways and it’s up to us to cultivate our talent. And I hope you all get to do the same.  Discover your passion and do more of what makes you happy. And if you have already done so, then just enjoy every minute of it.


 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

House of the month: Supriya from Aalayam Inspiration

Today I am visually drawn towards Supriya Murthy’s aesthetic home, because there is inspiration everywhere. She is the talented co-author of Aalayam Inspiration, a blog that I adore. Her home is predominantly ethnic with memories and stories attached to it. I love the way she created a symphony of colours, fabrics and décor pieces.

 
Please scroll down to enjoy the home tour and hear from Supriya herself as she shares with us on where she got her inspiration to decorate her home.


Supriya:
Our home incorporates global design elements that are not necessarily conformist! The palettes range from ornate Indian furniture with vibrant textural softscaping to irreverent Bohemian chotchkies combined with quirky antique chic! This decor scheme blends form and function, and works like a charm for moving stuff around based on mood and occasion. The featured snapshots of my living space epitomize my style philosophy "let the room speak for you!"

 

 Color is synonymous with inspiration to me. I derive my joie de vivre everyday looking at a palette of vibrant colors in my living space - whether on the walls, on the bookshelf or on kitschy cushions thrown around all my rooms! When I moved to the USA, I was very keen on bringing back a piece of Indian flavor - fabrics and decor pieces, with me to infuse color into my first apartment! These pieces have traveled with me through two apartments, a Masters degree and two babies, into our current home. The cushion covers (the colorful patch work ones you see in the pictures) are dog eared and worse for wear! But I love them! Because those are the first things ever that I bought for MY own living space! 

 

 
 I have always been attracted to traditional accessories, masks and sculptures and antique, generational serve ware. In today's modern homes, I feel it’s vital to use every opportunity there is to bringing that antiquity in! I have tried to infuse ethnic color via the russet tones of bronze and gold, conveniently providing both design and function throughout the house.




Finally, a story to finish off my color splash! I pepper our home with my favorite accessories bought from street vendors back home in India. One particularly charming fellow was trying to put his kid through school, and I have brought many a thing from him, sometimes needlessly.

I have bought wind chimes and dancing puppets that you see in our home, for their gorgeous workmanship, the beautiful colors and to commemorate his heartwarming entrepreneurial spirit!  These gorgeous things, and the memories hang proudly in many sunny corners in our home, reminding me of my real roots...far far away!

 
 



Thanks Supriya for sharing your beautiful space with us. It definitely quenched my thirst for a beautiful home tour!!

Click here to hop on to her beautiful blog called Aalayam Inspiration, a blog that is filled with inspirations to take away.
 
 
Images via Supriya from Aalayam Inspiration
 

 

Monday, April 13, 2015

The White Ramekins

Today I’d like to introduce you to a food stylist and a food blogger, Himanshu Taneja, whose work speaks for his passion for food. His gorgeous blog, “The White Ramekins”, is filled with rustic pictures and earthy style photography with simple recipes. To me his blog is just… therapeutic… 
 
Let’s get to know more from Himanshu himself. Please scroll down to view his beautiful pictures and read the interview.









Tell us something about yourself. And what inspired you to start your food blog? And why the name "The White Ramekins”?

I am an easy going and fun loving person who likes to spend his time with his friends and family. At the hindsight I am a hardcore techie guy who works for a finance company. My connection from food start from the days of my early years, when I used to help out my mother in kitchen. I got my learning from her, observing her making food for the family. But I never cooked my meal on my own until I moved to another city and started living by myself. The White Ramekins started a couple of years ago out of a sheer encouragement from a very dear friend, while we both were baking some muffins at home (all by trial and error) in my convection microwave. We were so thrilled to see that we could also have baked. And we baked the same recipe again and again for next few weeks. By that time, I had started following Nigella Lawson and Rachel Allen on television. And also, I had been reading a couple of very good food blogs such as 101Cookbooks, La Tartine Gourmand, Tartlette and Passionate About Baking. There style of food writing and food photography has always remained an inspiration. While I created my blog, I wanted to give it a name which defines what I am really passionate about doing. It had to be related to food, or baking if I be more precise. So, I named my blog on the name of the white ceramic ramekins in which I baked my first trial of those muffins. And it just clicked that way.  

 
How do you juggle between your career in finance and blogging?

As I say, I am a hardcore techie person, who loves to write those endless lines of code with same amount of passion the way he likes to bake, style and shoot his creations in the kitchen. So I have never found it challenging switching the hats of a programmer and a food blogger, however crazy it might sound. :) Honestly speaking, I generally spend my weekends around blogging, which includes, deciding onto recipes, sourcing of ingredients, cooking/baking, prop shopping, planning about photo shoot, food styling, photography, editing and finally pushing that onto the blog.  


Have you had any formal training in Cooking or Food Styling?

No, I haven’t had any formal training in cooking or food styling. I get inspired from so many amazing food bloggers and other artists’s whose work I follow. The web is full of inspirations and learning resources.


Your photographs depict your passion for food and food styling. And you have a great eye for colour. How important is food presentation?

Thank you. You are very sweet. I think food presentation is as important as the taste of the dish. It perks up the experience of having an awesome preparation, if it is aesthetically appealing too. And it becomes all the more important for the virtual world, where your audience are experiencing the taste of your preparations through their eyes only. Present the dish in not so pleasing appearance, chances are that your effort and hard work you have put into bringing it up together will not be noticed. 


How do you innovate in your cooking? Do you mostly experiment in your cooking? 

My style of cooking is completely inspired by the seasonal produce available. I am very much into idea of adding seasonal fruits and vegetables in my cakes and bakes. And I am on constant lookout for new fruits and vegetables which appear in the market by the change in season. I think the magic a seasonal and fresh produce can bring to your food and the styling is unmatched.


Do you have other passions or hobbies apart from cooking, blogging and photography?

Apart from cooking, blogging and photography, I like to listen to classical music and sometimes can hum a tune or a song, if my friends insist. 


What is your advice for someone who wants to start a food blog? And any photography tips for fellow bloggers?

Follow your heart and dive in, are my two cents for the fellow bloggers. As far as photography is concerned, I am still a learner. I am not sure, if I am right person to talk about on this subject. But to start with, I think one should be clear about handling a DSLR camera in manual mode. That gives one enough comfort in playing with light, which is a crucial thing to consider in food photography. The texture and the appearance of food is what makes an image stand out and light is the key factor to bring in that magic. It can’t be neglected. And the other thing is about getting inspired, which will help you identify your own style one day. 


Any future plans? Can we expect a cookbook?

I have many plans which keep on playing on my mind. That varies from running food styling workshops to writing a cookbook, but nothing is conclusive right now.  Let’s see what destiny has in store for me. 


Click here to head over to The White Ramekins and here to get updates from facebook.


Thanks Himanshu for sharing your passion with us and more importantly for being an inspiration!
 


Images copyright/credit The White Ramekins


 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!



Easter brings hope…. New life… renewed relationships … stronger faith… peace… and lots more goodies in life!!

Wishing each one of you the same!!
Happy and Blessed Easter!!
 
 


 
 

*Thanks Lincy Jacob for the lovely prop.. I enjoyed clicking with it!

All Images are clicked by me

 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Decor Inspirations


Here are some Easter décor inspiration for you


Country Living

 


Country Living


Decorate Eggs with origami paper, BetterHomesandGardens



Image via Lonny


Image via Lonny


Image via Lonny


 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lingering Aftertaste

Today I’d like you to meet an incredibly talented food blogger, cook and photographer behind Lingering Aftertaste, Ambica Selvam. Her blog is not only gorgeous to look at but incredibly delicious recipes that are high in flavor and easily approachable. Her food styling is simple, rustic and enhanced beautifully through her dreamy pictures.

 Please scroll down to read the interview.

 Welcome Ambica!!

Ambica: Thank you for this opportunity to share a little about me through your wonderful blog. I am very humbled that you’ve asked me to do this.  


 
 
 


Tell us something about yourself. And what inspired you to start your food blog? And why the name Lingering Aftertaste?

Ambica: Hi Dearest Readers! I am Ambica Selvam and I am a passionate lover of food! I live in the wonderful city of ‘Bengaluru’, India. Having grown up in various different cities, right from my childhood, has shaped up my present. The experience of savoring different cultures has had a great influence on my way of thinking, my way of life and food, of course!

 I have always loved to eat but my real affair with food started late in life. However, when it did, it changed my life forever. I realized how passionate I was about food and cooking...I surprised myself!

I cook with all my heart and love to share what I cook as much as I love to eat it myself (I love to host, particularly, friends with a good appetite)

The culinary journey that I am on is more like a road to self-discovery. It is through food that I discovered my love for food styling and the ever growing penchant for food photography. I’ve always had a creative urge for doing things differently and that has always been the driving factor.

www.lingeringaftertaste.com – My food blog is my way of documenting my culinary pursuits - an outlet for me to share my food, my passion with everyone. I love sharing moments from my life through food. My blog is also my tribute to my mother who I lost last year. I grew up watching her cook… with love. She had always wanted to me write about what I cook. I regret having started when she is not around anymore. I regret not having cooked with her enough. (I do feel she will be keeping up with my blog from somewhere up above though).

The word aftertaste always fascinated me. I think there is something very profound about that word. I believe that food experience is not just about the moment you eat but also about the moments after you have eaten. Good food should speak to all your senses, and when that happens the taste lingers on; not just in your mouth, but in your heart too. And hence the name, Lingering Aftertaste.


 
Have you had any formal training in Cooking or Food photography?

Ambica: No, I do not have any formal training in Cooking or Food Photography. I just follow my heart whether it is cooking or photographing food. Creativity plays a big part in driving my passion for both. I constantly experiment in both these aspects. If it feels right from within, and if I have faith in what I create – I go ahead.

I am an explorer of food and believe in loving what I eat; I love to experiment with the tastes I discover. I believe food must rouse all five senses. That is when it is truly complete. I am pretty much always on the pursuit to achieve this. That drives my cooking.

As for food photography – I don’t really consider myself as a ‘Photographer’…I mean not in that sense. What I mean is that I use my camera to create my vision. Something like an artist, with a concept. Photography to me is my way of using subjects to express my concept, my feelings…visual storytelling. That said, to be an artist, one does need to work on one’s craft. I am not a very technical photographer. I use a Canon 1200D (18mm-55mm and 55mm-250mm lens). I am learning the technical aspects of my camera and will always try to upskill myself…my craft! There is a lot of talent and learning out there, one just needs to be open to learn. So I source inspiration and learnings from all around me. I always try to imbibe that learning and there, that is my training! I know I have a long way to go.

 
Your photographs depict your passion for food and food styling. How important is food presentation?

Ambica: A lot, to put it simply! I’m someone who believes we “eat with our eyes first and then the mouth”. For someone who is looking at my food photographs, my attempt is that they should get a sense of the taste, the texture besides being able to relate to my food story. Styling and composition is something I give lot of importance to and I’m constantly learning that as I go along.

For me, presentation is essential to be able to express your vision. It is all about my way of telling my story. While trying to do that, I intend to natural and not make it look like I am trying too hard or make it look contrived. Basically, keep it simple and real.

That is what I believe my food style is – simple, minimalistic. I don’t do elaborate food styling; what turns me on are the simple things. I believe every subject is beautiful in its own way, even the most mundane or flawed subjects. I try to use elements (props, light, and styling) in a way that brings out that beauty I see in those subjects, while I try tell my story. I try to ensure that they add to the story and not clutter it or take away from my subject.

I love when my readers and people who see my photos, connect with that story. I am thrilled when they see something completely different. I love listening to different perspectives, I learn in that process.

My style of photography is an extension of my food style, my presentation – earthy, rustic, moody… almost intimate. I love (pretty much always) to shoot with natural light. (This is also another way so saying I’m not really skillful to use studio/ artificial lights). I experiment with blocking light, indoor, and outdoor. It is not easy to tame natural light, but trying to do that… is definitely fun!

 
What are your other passions apart from cooking, blogging and photography?

Ambica: I love so many things, but I am not sure if I am as passionate about all of them… as much as I am about food. I love music; I always have it on when I’m doing something…esp, when I am driving. Music in my car is as important as seat belt! And Cooking with music is fun! Movies and certain TV shows help me escape. In fact, they’ve had a strong influence on me to help me pursue my passion for food. I have to mention Julie & Julia and Masterchef Australia and a host of Food Shows. I love making pop-art collages… that is another passion I nurture. I pick a theme, work around that. I love to personalize it, frame them and gifting it to my friends or just put it on my wall at home. Driving is something I always look forward to (Hate struggling for a parking spot though). It is such a simple activity yet so liberating. I love it so much that I’ve almost made my peace with the maddening traffic in my city. I may whine but will not stop driving! Travelling is fun, discovering new places is rewarding. Haven’t done enough but there are plenty of places on my wish list. Hopefully, soon. And finally, Books – I enjoy reading a physical book. Just that I wish I could read more.

 
What is your advice for someone who wants to start a food blog? And any photography tips for fellow bloggers?

Ambica: I’m really humbled by this question, actually. I really don’t think I am experienced enough to guide someone new, however I’ve share my two cents based on my journey so far.

Before starting a food blog – ask yourself if you are truly committed towards that! Please don’t start one because people want you to, but do it when you really want it and more importantly, only when you think you are wholeheartedly, 100% committed to do that.

Here is confession - LingeringAftertaste was actually born way in 2011. Embarrassingly, I couldn’t go beyond my first post (which was basically an “About me/blog” post – not even a recipe). Clearly, I was not ready back then – in terms of time and commitment. Or probably, I hadn’t realized the depth of passion then. I re-launched my blog not because I wanted to redeem myself, but I was truly ready , committed and was absolutely aware of my passion. And once the blog is started, it sort of becomes like a habit. But habit can die down if one doesn’t keep at it. Always remember ‘why’ you started a blog; keep the fire burning, get into a routine (anything, whatever works for you)….but keep doing it, passionately!

Another point of introspection should be “why do you want to start a food blog” – The reason! Do you want your blog to be a journal of your life around food, a platform to record/share your stories with the world or do you want to reach out to as many people as you can through your blog, to teach them or do you want you want to be famous! Your approach to your blog will be according to what your reason(s) is. I brought this up is because we live in the world of instant gratification and constant need for appreciation. That can totally drive one over the edge! Please don’t get discouraged if people don’t talk about your blog, or “like” your blog on social media immediately or “leave comments” on your posts. Actually, there is nothing wrong if that feeling kicks in, it is just that you need to rethink your reasons and approach your blog differently.

For Photography – Learn & Practice! Seek inspiration, find what appeals to your eyes, your heart. You don’t have to experiment, if you don’t wish to…But do discover your style and make it your own! What I mean is get really good at what you like doing. You can strive to be a photographer or an artist or both…but whatever you create, try that it evokes some response from people who see it. Put your work up for critique, listen to different feedback and work on ones you believe will help enhance Your style, Your craft - that is one of the greatest ways to learn. Remember, for good photographs you don’t need a fancy high-end camera. You can create magic with your phone camera too (Honest!). So think before you invest! Buy a decent basic camera and lens (initially, based on a simple thing – how close or how far do you want to be from the food/subject). Once you spend enough time honing your skills, you will know what you want.

 Yes! Photography gears are expensive – so again, please don’t invest in anything fancy until you are absolutely sure that you need one. The best initial investment will be a good tripod. Everything else can come later.

And lastly, understand and play around with the light (natural or artificial – whatever is your need/calling). You will be surprised with what you find…while you do that.

 
Any future plans? Can we expect a cookbook?

Ambica: Until a few months ago, I was juggling between my wonderful corporate 9-5 job and my madness for food. The fire in my belly was so fierce that I had to choose. I finally gave my job up to follow my passion. I have barely stepped into my present, so my future plans seems a little farfetched at this time. I am still on the road to figure out what I really want to do in the food space. At the moment, I am super thrilled that I am doing an array of interestingly different things in this space – Recipe development for clients (and for my blog of course), Professional Food styling and Food Photography, Food Write-ups etc.

Can you expect a cookbook – possibly yes, eventually! It will stem from my blog, so it will be an extension it. I don’t intend for it to be a regular cookbook that focuses on recipes. I would want that to be like a memoir of my life through food.



Click here to head over to Lingering Aftertaste and here to get updates from facebook. And if you have any enquiry please write to her at ambica@lingeringaftertaste.com



Images via Ambica Selvam


 

Monday, March 30, 2015

My blog has turned 3!!!

Tickled by Inspirations has turned 3 today!!! It has been a great year for me. I have been blessed to network and get to know so many people in my blogging journey and that broadened my experience in the design and creative world. I am forever grateful for the continued support and encouragement I have received from all you wonderful readers and I hope I can continue to blog as long as I can.

In this New Year I hope to be more consistent with fresh ideas and inspirations. I am starting a new journey of discovering my inner artist and spark some creative energy.
A big thank you to you for following my blog and thank you for being a part of my journey! Stay tuned for more inspirations!!!

 

 
 
All Images are clicked by me