Winter Spice Cappuccino and Remarkable Gifting with Florilegium

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, there is no better way to awaken your senses for finding the perfect gift and warming up, than with a winter spice cappuccino and a tempting Florilegium sale! Celebrate the holidays in style and say thank you to your family and friends with a remarkable gift this year. Take 20% off Florilegium (use code GIFTLOVE at checkout) or have the magazine sent to your country for free (use code SENDLOVE at checkout) so that you can enjoy the holidays in the best way possible. Using same coupon codes you can purchase also the new fine art Florilegium postcards sets available in my shop here.

And while you're enjoying your holiday sale shopping with Florilegium, try my new go-to cappuccino this winter. Generously topped with milk foam, this espresso-based beverage smells and tastes amazing. The key ingredient is a fragrant blend of some of your most amazing spices in the pantry. All you need to do to get that holiday and winter-y flavor in your cappuccino or for that matter any drink, is to blend 1/2 teaspoon for each of these spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom; and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice and ground cloves. Mix the spices together in a small bowl and add it to taste to your coffee. It not only smells amazing, but it tastes great too! You can also use this spice mix on any of your favorite cakes or pastries! Trust me, from now on you will use this blend on (almost) everything! Discover also my freddo cappuccino, spiced cappuccino or chai tea, if you feel like you deserve a spin on your morning beverage.

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Afternoon Tea with Miss Babacilu and the Sixth Blog Anniversary

So perfect, so poetic, so simple! Each time I receive mail from Miss Babacilu, I'm eager to open the box to see what gracious marvels hid inside. This time around was no different, once the box was opened, tea flavors hit my senses and charming jewelry sparkled, being ready to be worn. I feel blessed by the beautiful friendship I share with Ioana, the very talented jewelry designer of Miss Babacilu, that creates feminine and delicate adornments inspired by the tea's aura and rituals. The poetic spirit she puts in her handmade jewelry lives in the moment and serves today, at my 6th blog anniversary, as the inspiration behind my photo essay.

Being pen-pals and sharing our artistic thoughts for so many years already, many of the stories you can find here, on the blog, I felt that it was right to create a story inspired by the things that influence myself and Ioana. Tea, memories and how time, past and present, shapes our thoughts and existence, were at the root of my artistic inspiration. My favorite, Jane Austen, couldn't have found a better time to let her romantic influence on this beautiful friendship and artistic story.

It's been six years since I first begun to write, cook and photograph on this blog, and so many stories I have shared here, and many more will come. Looking back, I see my progress through this adventure, determination and desire to create and share the things in which I believe. I do hope that my journey has and will inspire the ones that read this blog and find inspiration in my creations. It's right to remember, be nostalgic and appreciate these memories, and given this occasion, Miss Babacilu's creations were perfect to celebrate how wonderful this blog has been over the years.

Thus, my afternoon tea photo essay celebrates and contemplates the meaning of nostalgia of home viewed through the aura of the British life of the 18th century. The series makes a powerful case for the importance of memories, and paints a charming portrait of the feeling of stepping back into a simpler time infused with calmness and beauty. By romanticizing the elegance and etiquette of Jane Austen's writings, this series is honoring the ritual of drinking tea in an intimate home setting, and is imagining a more noble approach to social conventions. Featuring Miss Babacilu's jewelry perfect for any gatherings, the series takes the viewer into an imaginative and charming home story inspired by an Austen's atmosphere. Enjoy my living stills inspired by Miss Babacilu's jewelry and gifts, Jane Austen and the essence of this blog!

Afternoon Tea Living Still
Steaming Tea Living Still

Miss Babacilu Jewelry Living StillAfternoon Tea Gabriela Iancu 1 Afternoon Tea Gabriela Iancu 2 Afternoon Tea Gabriela Iancu 3 Afternoon Tea Gabriela Iancu 5
Afternoon Tea Gabriela Iancu 7 Afternoon Tea Gabriela Iancu 8
Afternoon-Tea Miss Babacilu Gabriela Iancu 4

Cultivating Creativity and the Art of Seeing

“All art begins [as] a calling forth of life in its still concealed mysteriousness.” - Lou Andreas-Salomé

We live in a world where we can be anything we want, and most of us take it seriously. Today we are photographers because we take cool snaps on Instagram, tomorrow we'll be great illustrators because we can romanticize about how cool is to be an old-school artist. But we don't really understand what all of it really entails. We change so often who we really are, just because there seems to be no limits anymore to what everything is around us. We tend to not really care fondly about all these things we can be, just because we can be it all. We change so much but we don't even bother to use our intellect to really make a difference. If everyone can be it all, we must be it all.

The popular belief says that because now we can be anything and everything, we slowly construct a new social model, in which we are not told anymore what we can be, rather, we choose to be it all. It seems obsolete to perfect a craft, a passion, a talent nowadays, now we superficially do everything. This kind of attitude is wrong for obvious reasons; just because we can do something it doesn't entitle us to mock the creative experience of the true artists.

Freeing up the creative experiences of their formalism is a good thing, but rather than being everything, we can be one thing. By dedicating our energy to really be the person we claim to be, that artist we've always dreamed to be, is a great thing, but just stick to it. If one wants to be a jewelry maker, he/she should become one by putting a part of him/herself in whatever he/she creates. One cannot be something before really being that thing. You can mock and pretend, but the true creative experience will always be that of a strong experience where you expand that inner creative gut out of yourself into a beautiful creation.

So now and then, I see this entirely ad-hoc made artist coming out, in other words, the simulacrum of the true artist. And what a simulacrum does is to simulate being creative by nature. But the only true trait of a simulacra is imitating reality. The anatomy of a simulacrum artist is to reflect the true nature of reality into an appearance of order (we can really be it all), then distorts the reality and pretends to be a faithful copy, and finally all it does is to only simulate being that thing.

On top of this democratic issue, there seems to be also a lack of investment of some of the creative industries in the industry itself. A significant number of these companies (trade and consumer magazines, publishing houses, etc) have less and less work ethic when it comes to valuing the creative efforts of an artist. It is too stereotypical for today's times to not understand that the creative effort needs to be recognized and not expected for free. Nine times out of ten, this infatuation of these companies is a conscious act to disregard creativity. They are not ready to invest to propel creativity further through involving real artists to create innovative content rather than just using the same old and boring impersonal content.

It is outrageous when I hear that magazines cannot afford the work of an artist just because they don't have budget, willingly admitting that they would rather buy content from a stock bank than investing in a custom and innovative creative approach of an artist. Creativity and innovation should be the paramount of their business, of the industry in which they act. Is this attitude surprising for some of us? We're all loosing not only our right to building a local, regional and universal heritage of culture, but also our integrity, respect and sense of being strict with the world in which we live. No one should have this ruthless privilege of turning the world upside down, just because they are in a power position. We all, as a humanity, should do well, good and perfect our inner selves with honor, respect and integrity.

If one looks at photography for instance, one can see that the aesthetic consumerism of the visual culture has been administered to us little by little, and once has made its addiction, the commerce is treating its creatives like ready-made soup cans that once consumed empty themselves even of that little value they originally been assigned to have. All of these issues bother me a great deal, because despite evolution, in some fields we seem to still be far behind the integrity that the contemporary times should have. Isn't the creatives that helped us understand, see and enjoy the experience of the world through writings, paintings, photographs and other creative acts?

Despite this extent of austerity of the contemporary age, to me the creative act still resonates with revealing experiences and expressions of the world around us with innovative and unexpected approaches to audiences that should be given the right to have first a visual and artistic literacy. If for a magazine is not important to support and contribute to the evolution of the creative field, even though they act in a creative industry, it is only because of its incapacity to understand the creative act. And what this is ultimately revealing, is that, to some extent, the creative industry itself is illiterate in its field. Old habits might die hard, but being educated could teach us what it takes to be humane again, altering the bad and enlarging the extent of ethics. It is precisely through this paradoxical mechanism of the contemporary, that we all should exert our true creative acts and ethics upon the world and change the perception of our experience.

If you read this far, it is only appropriate to entice your curiosity even further with the expression of the moving image and the opportunity to get to know the artist behind the writings and creative acts here. I allow my short films to emerge ideas that can induce an illusion of a sense of place and time. Time relentlessly melts, and the emotion that it conveys can encompass the viewer precisely because of its existence, that of memory—either as an ideal or a fantasy, illusion or past reality. To turn time and art itself into a way of seeing, juxtaposes various layers of ideas equivalent with participating into an experience that has never existed nor will exist in this shape and form. It becomes almost like a good novel, where the reader identifies himself with the narrator/character's voice and transposes an illusion of himself into the story; an experience that would never go beyond the feeling of experience itself. Ultimately, it is this idea of representation of reality or imagination that strikes always for authenticity and will conceal or reveal meanings in the viewer's mind or creator's expressiveness.

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