Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Over a cup of tea: The world of blogging

I am in an introspective mood today and so I am going to write down some thoughts that I have regarding blogsBlogging takes up a lot of my time but it is very satisfying to add my voice and viewpoint to the teeming millions of the design blogger world. (Millions. Thats how many design blogs there are.) Contrary to popular opinion, I don't think design and decor blogs are frivolous. Adding something beautiful to your (and someone else's) day should not be considered frivolous :).

Blogging helps me indulge my creative alter ego- I am a physician and scientific researcher by training- and to have this platform to express my design and decor loving-self is just splendid. It also gave me a chance to write and to use words that describe how important a person's home is. And to be honest, I also did consider it to be a great business opportunity. Do all bloggers want their blog to also be financially viable? I think there is something about blogging that awakens entrepreneurial instincts in everybody.  I have been offered opportunities to try so many new and different types of ventures and they would not have come my way if it wasn't for the blog. (I am thankful for all this even if I didn't take up most of them- there are only so many hours in the day :).) 

Of course, like everything else, there can be a downside to blogging. Sometimes words and pictures get copied and you see suspiciously similar lines repeated on another blog.  Sometimes there is a sense of competition for the largest number of readers. All we need to remember is that  it is a blog world with enough place for each and every unique voice. 
I have learnt so much in the last 2 years of blogging- it ranges from how to take a decent picture to how to become good friends with someone who lives thousands of miles away. I have also learnt that I tend to use gorgeous at least a few times in a post and that I am happiest when I am blogging. What have you learnt? Share your thoughts with me.

Pictures: I have not had a chance to take new pictures this week. Will fix that soon!

Twinkle, twinkle

I like using candles and twinkling fairy lights more in spring and summer than during winter. The days are longer and candlelight and other sources of dancing romantic lights are all you need as you sit in the cool evening breeze and watch it s-l-o-w-l-y get dark. I saw these pictures on Red magazine's Living section on the 10 best ways to use fairy lights and have to say I am really tempted. Not too many of them but one strand of  lights dangling lazily in the corner ....
Visit Red magazine here

Photo credits: 1) Brent Darby 2) Polly Eltes 
(Click on the photographer links (in red) to visit their amazing portfolios.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dot, dot, dot...

This post is about the dot or the bindi that many Indians dress their forehead with. I read a blog post by Prutha Raithatha on Vogue India on Making a statement with a dot and I thought you might like it too. Its fascinating to me because I have experimented with every shape and color of bindi but I usually associate it with ethnic wear and not, as Prutha recommends, with western wear.

Read her perspective here.  
Image from Vogue India and taken by NURBS for Don’t Shoe Me.

Stylist portfolio (and major crush): Emily Henderson

I found stylist and HGTV host Emily Henderson via Oh Joy and I am smitten with her, well, style :). All the rooms in her portfolio are simple yet elegant and well-layered. They are a treat for someone like me who is always looking for clues to the personalities of the people that live there. The rooms hint at lives well lived and well traveled, of homes that are not designer perfect and where the old and vintage fits easily with the new. She also seems to be partial to blue and indigo and you know I fall for that every time! 

I don't know who the photographer is but he or she has my deepest admiration. Visit Emily Henderson's website here. I plan on watching her show, Secrets from a Stylist, on HGTV to see her work her magic on real homes. 

All images taken from Emily Henderson. 
(If you know who the photographers are please email me so that I can give proper credit).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Its all in the eyes...

I want to change the generic/ big-box-store art in my house and replace it with pictures and prints that mean something to the current me and us.  Our house in California, like us, has morphed into this hybrid state where loves and traditions from the old country (India) meet and live happily together with the new found delights and attractions of our adopted home (US).
Which is why I am really tempted by the paintings at Audrey Eclectic Folk Art shop. Talullah (pictured below) looks like someone I want on my wall...

along with Ella and Carolyn..

The faces invite confidences and I am so tempted to get both prints! The Audrey Eclectic Folk Art store is based in Oklahoma and you can visit the store online here. While you are there, also check out the made to order Jane Austen mug. Truly lovely!

All images copyrighted to Audrey Eclectic. 
 (I am adding this to my It's all in the eyes series that I wrote 2 years ago.)

Traditional style with global treasures..

While visiting Horchow I found this home featured on the March issue of their Home catalog. It is furnished and decorated in a traditional style with beautiful treasures. Its the home of Jo Marie Lilly and Bruce Mueller.

 I loved this breakfast area- to me, there is something feminine about it. It hints at long confidences exchanged over longer cups of tea. Do you like it? 
The photography is by Matthew Savins and the styling by Philip Montanez.  Visit the entire house here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Moroccan Tea Glasses from Horchow

For this week's tea cups/mugs/glasses find, I want to share this gorgeous set of 4 Moroccan-inspired tea glasses from Horchow. I haven't visited their website for the longest time and was happy to find these beauties there today. They would make wonderful gifts! Each set has a glass in turquoise, amber, purple and green colors and they are all decorated with golden Moroccan motifs.

Image from Horchow.

NYTimes article: "New York City's Extinct Blooms"

Read this article  by Marielle Anzelone and Wendy Hollender in the New York Times on the lost flowers of New York City. It is fascinating to think that the city was once a haven for flowers. 

Image from New York Times of botanical paintings by Wendy Hollender

Keep it simple (and warm)

So grateful to the neighbors for hosting a backyard birthday party today. Its the first warm day in many months and finally feels like spring. Nothing 'shouts' out the onset of longer and warmer days more than the laughter and screams of twenty odd children (my 2 boys included). To me, its the equivalent of birdsong.
The pictures are from the Spring and summer 2011 Toast House and Home catalog. I love how they are always about the simple pleasures of life.

(Images from the Toast catalog)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Are you hungry yet?

Sridevi of Sreelu's Tasty Travels and her kids are big-time fans of public radio and tv and today she is sharing a recipe from the show Lidia's Italy.  Over to Sridevi..
"I am an ardent fan of PBS/KQED... in fact, my kids can identify the news casters from their voices. I get my daily dose of news from KQED. I love all the cooking shows that are aired on Saturday. Seriously, I am glued to the TV..there is so much authenticity in the cooking, the ingredients and  the people. A few weeks back, I saw a pasta sauce recipe on Lidia's Italy and decide to make the same.
Spaghetti gets chowed down easy in my house! Hope you like it!


2 ripe tomatoes
1 cup toasted almonds
1 garlic pod
1 cup olive oil
1 cup finely parmesan cheese
Handful of basil leaves
Lemon rind
Tbsp. of lemon juice
Fresh pepper
and salt according to taste

1. Cook spaghetti according to instruction and keep aside
2. In a food processor add all the above ingredients and blend to fine consistency
3. Now add the pasta sauce and finely chopped parsley and toss well till spaghetti is well covered with sauce

Serve warm with bread and trust me there is no tussle or war with words in getting the kids to finish eating." 

Sounds heavenly. Thanks for sharing! You can visit Sreelu's Tasty Travels by clicking here. Not only does she make the most amazing meals, her pictures are so tempting too!

 Image courtesy/copyright Sreelus Tasty Travels.

Rain, rain, you can stay

It has been raining almost non stop here in the Bay area but we finally have {a watery but at least its here} sun today morning. I was away from the computer the entire day yesterday as I caught up with work, errands and kids homework. That actually sounds boring- it was anything but. I..
a) stepped in puddles on my way to work
b) raced the kids
c) read a book on worms at a local school (!)
d) drank hot tea with warm scones
e) dreamed about baking a decadent chocolate cake
f) blared rainy day music in the car
g) chatted with some friends and made plans for lunch with some others
h) helped the 7 yr old write a report on spring and all it means 
i) hoped/prayed that my sister (there is only two of us) moves to live down the street from me.
Just your average rainy day. How was yours? I will be back a little later to share Sridevi's lovely recipe for this week, more decor inspiration and the books I am reading. Visit often!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rooms that tell stories...

These gorgeous pictures comes from a new {to me} website Decoratrix that I stumbled onto via Pinterest. What a lovely space to relax and watch the rain fall! It looks tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the house. How nice it would be to crawl in there on Saturday morning and leave late Sunday night? (You can tell I have the mid-work-week blues!) You will need candles, some heavy rain and music. Seriously though, wouldn't it be nice to have a corner like this to retreat to? You don't have to pick up and clean up here for it to look good- the artfully tousled look works best for spaces like these. 
Visit Decoratrix for tons of design and decor inspiration. 
Images copyright Decoratrix.

For the love of brick.2

I blogged about balconies and city life and I blogged about what a beautiful statement exposed brick makes and now we have two of them together in this gorgeous picture from Livet Hemma. Is this somewhere you would like to hang out? I have to say this: I might remove the canopy before I sit down :).

Image fro Livet Hemma- sorry, I don't know who the photographer is.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Summers in France

I am going to buy this book- any book written by Kathryn Ireland is a must for every lover of bohemian style. Plus, her fabrics are to die for! Click here to visit.

Images from Summers in France by Kathryn M. Ireland.

Splashes of color

I heard from Rachana Saurabh, a very talented artist from India who is currently based in Baltimore, Maryland. I like her paintings for their bold splashes of color and for the immediacy with which they bring the bright warmth of India into a room. Visit Rachana at her blog to browse through the collection of paintings. 

All images courtesy of Rachana Saurabh.

For the love of brick..

I find the prettiest of rooms/homes at Canada-based Style at Home. This Feasby and Bleeks designed Toronto loft hits all the right notes with its exposed brick and casual mix of modern and eclectic styles. I don't think I would have liked it quite so much if it had been all sleek lines-   its just right the way it is! 

The photography is by Virginia McDonald ( among many other beautiful pictures, she took this one that I have blogged about) and I am a huge fan of her work. Blogging has made me aware of how much work goes into each picture that is featured in a magazine or website and how many talented people are involved. The designers, the stylists, the photographer..each one of them brings/adds something magical to the room and the end result takes your breath away. I blog about so many gorgeous rooms and I want  to say Thank you to all these wonderful artists who inspire me!
Visit Virginia McDonald's portfolio here and read the complete article on this 800sqft loft on Style at Home here

Rue Issue Four

Have you already checked out issue 4 of Rue magazine? What do you think?

I think that you may rue missing this one! (heehee, couldn't help it!) This is my favorite issue yet- click here to read.
Image copyright Rue magazine.

More spring colors

Yesterday I found a new website to drool over..1st They are a UK based agency that among other  design and production services provide locations for photo shoots. Click on the links to visit and browse many beautiful homes. This home with its pretty spring palette of colors caught my eye. 
Image copyright 1st option dot com. Link via Alkemie.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring into action..gently

Spring officially arrived yesterday and I like this elegant and understated way of announcing it.  Ceramic bird jewelry dish from Terrain.

Image from Terrain.

Missing city life...

In love with this light-filled apartment seen at Skona Hem. There is something about floor to ceiling book cases that make me go weak in the knees. I can't wait to browse the shelves and discover something exciting to read. Add tall ceilings, tall doors and windows letting in lots of natural light and a balcony overlooking a bustling street and I am hooked. This article  was in Swedish and I couldn't get Google translate to work but it looks like an apartment in the city.  Its been years since I gave up city life for the suburbs but pictures like these tempt me with all thats wonderful about life in an urban setting. Sitting on the balcony and watching the city go about its day. Walking to my favorite coffee shop and bakery. Taking public transport everywhere. Today, I miss living in a city. Where do you live? Which one do you or suburbs?

Visit Skona Hem here to read the article and see all of Johan Carlson's amazing photographs.

Images taken by Johan Carlson for Skona Hem.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bling it on...

It was a wild and stormy weekend here and so dark during the day that I had candles lit the whole time. How was your weekend? I was playing around with the camera and I was struck by how our style and design sensibilities are constantly evolving and changing. I would never have pegged myself as someone that likes a lot of bling in the home- shiny metal, crystals, that sort of thing. But these days, I am drawn to them as if by hypnotism.  So when I visited Vintage and Vogue (see previous post) and admired their store full of many objet d' bling (I just coined that;), I was tempted by the crystal chandeliers and candleholders, shiny metal powder compacts, rhinestone brooches and sequined bags like never before. Have your tastes changed radically in some way?

(I bought this crystal candle holder from the lovely Vintage and Vogue and it was interesting to me to take it out of its original context of French-inspired accessories and place it in my home whose decor is more or less East/India inspired.  Apparently, bling transcends boundaries :). 

Tea mug finds of the week

I visited the Vintage and Vogue boutique in downtown Campbell for the first time last week. It is a lovely store where you can easily spend time (and money:). It carries a lot of French-inspired gift items and home accessories and as the name indicates has both new and old stylish finds for you and your home. I went in intending to browse but ended up buying, among other things, this crown motif  Rosanna tea (of coffee mug). It was part of a display inspired by the upcoming royal wedding in England. The crown print is in 24K metallic gold and the mug (with its gentle flared lip) works well for tea or coffee. If you are in the Bay area and would like to visit and shop for this tea mug, click here for directions to the store. 

You can buy this mug even if you aren't in the Bay area- just email the store here, let them know that you would like to purchase this item that was featured on Once Upon A Tea Time and they will try to ship it to you. I am thinking of going back and getting a few more of these 'porcelain embellished with 24K gold' mugs so that I can make tea time with friends a right royal affair. 

(All pictures copyright Once Upon A Tea Time.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Food for thought...Broccoli, Carrots and Nuts Stir Fry

For the longest time I have been wondering if I should include a favorite recipes section in Once Upon A Tea Time- well, I talk about tea, decor and design inspiration and there is the occasional glimpse into my life and the books I read but I haven't talked much about food. You will agree that its one of the main things that brings people together and as my boys get older, mealtimes are cherished times in my home. To discuss our days, to share silly stories and life-changing ones. So from today and hopefully every Friday after, there will be a recipe that you can try out to bring the people in your life together at the table. My contributor for this series is Sridevi who writes at Sreelu's Tasty Travels and has graciously agreed to share her favorite recipes. We live in the same neighborhood and met up last year. She is charming and it was fun to get together and talk. Today, she shares the recipe for her Broccoli, Carrots and Nuts Stir Fry. Over to Sridevi...
"So today's recipe is one of my kids' favorites and it takes me less that 10 minutes from start to finish. It has a good dose of vegetables and nuts,  so it's a win-win for me and the kids.

2 cups of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 cup of carrot chopped finely, frozen carrots can be substituted
1 cup of mixed nuts ( blanched almonds, cashew nuts, chopped pecans)
for seasoning:
1 tbsp of oil
1/2 tspn of ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp channa dal
1/2 tspn cumin powder
pinch of pepper flakes
salt according to taste

1. Microwave broccoli and carrot on high for 3-4 minutes, till they turn tender, adjust according to your microwave settings
2. Toast the nuts lightly for few seconds and keep aside
3. In a pan, add oil and when hot add ginger garlic paste, cumin powder, channa dal and pepper flakes, mix well until raw smell of garlic is gone.
4. Now add microwaved broccoli and carrot and saute for a minute or two.
5. Add toasted nuts and mix well.
Remove from heat and serve. You can add this as a filling to whole wheat tortilla and make it a wrap. It makes for an excellent lunch."

Yum! Head on over to Sreelu's Tasty Travels for more recipes and don't forget to let us know how it turned out! Photography copyright Sreelu's Tasty Travels.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rie Elise Larsen, Summer 2011

I revisited stylist Rie Elise Larsen's website recently and I LOVE the new edgy photographs of her Summer 2011 collection. The collection itself is lovely- lampshades, pillows, paper mobiles- i can imagine the rich colors against a white, cream or grey backdrop and see them glow like jewels. 

So i don't know which one I admire more-   the pretty home accessories, the styling or the photographs (i don't who the photographer is). Let's just say they are all gorgeous! While I was browsing the website, I remembered that Rie Elise Larsen's home was photographed by Lisbett Wedendahl (click here for her portfolio) and featured on Danish site Bo Bedre. It is simple and full of treasures, new and old, and really, that's what makes a home doesn't it?

Images 1 through 5 from Rie Elise Larsen; 
Images 6 and 7 from Bo Bedre; photographer Lisbett Wedendahl.
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