Welcome to another edition of Blog Love! I’m super excited about my guest today, because I simply fell in love with her blog the moment I logged on to it for the first time. Deepa Paul-Plazo is the author of Currystrumpet.com, a blog that is filled with lifestyle, travel, photography and design inspiration. (Incidentally, it was through Deepa that I learned about the decor8 Blogging Your Way e-course, a class that totally revamped my bloggy life.) Read more about Deepa and her blog journey.
1. Tell me a bit about how Currystrumpet began. (I just love the name!)
I started blogging in 2003 (yikes!) when I first started dating my husband. Currystrumpet was an inside joke between Marlon and me in the early days of our relationship. I’m half Indian, thus “curry”; and he found me… um, tempting? Thus, “strumpet,” which is a funny but actually not very wholesome word. It was silly, but the nickname stuck.
2. How do you come up with ideas for posts? What do you enjoy writing about the most?
My blog is and has always been a chronicle of my life. When something good happens to me, I love to cradle it in my memory and replay it again and again, lest I forget. That’s what I use my blog for.
What I enjoy the most is writing about things I do or experience for the first time, so I try to have a lot of those. Moving to another country, traveling and starting a family guarantee an endless stream of firsts!
3. How has your blog evolved since you became pregnant, since you became a mom?
Now, my blog is not just a chronicle of my life but of my daughter’s as well. It’s amazing how our children really are a part of us. I still struggle and debate a bit with myself about privacy and protecting her, but in general I follow the rule (if you can call it that) I always have, which is to write about and share things that make me happy. And obviously, Tala makes me happy.
4. When and where are you most inspired to write?
I’m most inspired to blog after returning from a trip. Travel gives me so much, for blogging and for life. For example, I literally have three weeks’ worth of blog material after four days in Berlin. When I’m writing multiple posts about a place, I reach the point when I wonder kung nakakasawa na for readers. Hopefully not.
I used to write at night, but that’s changed since I had Tala. Now I write after I’ve had breakfast, fed my daughter and put her down for her morning nap. My mind is freshest and clearest in the morning; by the time Marlon comes home to relieve me of baby duty, sabaw na ang utak ko.
I write at my desk, which my husband built for me from wood planks that were reclaimed from the floor of a Dutch school gym. My desk faces a huge window overlooking the canal, a big elm tree, and our neighbors’ houseboats. We get a lot of seagulls too.
Looking out the window puts me into a writing mood faster than staring at any mood board.
5. What are some of your favorite blogs and why?
My favorites change constantly, it’s hard to pick just a few! But here goes:
Chuvaness: Cecile not only has an aspirational lifestyle and an uncanny ability to influence people (a.k.a. the “Chuvaness effect”), but also a unique point of view and a very definite idea of what she likes and doesn’t like. Reading her blog is like reading the continuously unfolding success story of “that girl” from high school—the oddball who made it big, kind of like Romy & Michelle if they DID invent Post-Its! I’ve always felt different, so it’s inspiring to know we oddballs can become successful and happy too! I always feel entertained after reading her blog, like coming back from lunch with girlfriends with the most interesting finds and hilarious stories.
Paul et Paula: Peggy blogs about children’s fashion and was one of the organizers of The Hive, a European blogging conference I attended in Berlin. We met up for coffee after we both discovered that we both lived in Amsterdam, and the coffee dates became a regular thing. She has fabulous taste in children’s clothing and is a real supermom who juggles three kids with a successful blog, a big following and trendsetting side projects like The Hive. Really inspiring.
Petite Passport: Pauline seeks and documents design hotspots all around the world, including my own city, Amsterdam. I’m constantly bookmarking her blog to inspire my future travels. My budget may not always allow me to stay in design hotels, but at least I can enjoy a cup of coffee in a gorgeous place, right?
6. I personally love following your home-related posts. How much time do you put into these, especially since these usually have so many photos (which I love!)?
I only do home-related posts when there’s something new in the house. It’s just that in the last seven months, we’ve bought our first home and had a baby, so there have been lots of new things to blog about! We don’t have a maid or cleaning lady, so when our apartment is clean (which is not as often as it should be), I’m inspired to document it.
I don’t style anything, just remove clutter from what I’m shooting. If it’s an often-used area like my desk or the dining table, decluttering takes a while.
Once I start shooting, it doesn’t take much time—maybe 10, 15 minutes, tops. I always take lots of pictures in one go, moving around the room and trying different angles. Selecting and editing photos is another matter… that’s the real time-sucker.
7. Are there any tips you can give for taking photos for blog posts?
Be passionate when taking photographs, but be merciless when selecting what to post. I’m still working on this myself. If you have 20 ho-hum pictures, you will lose me. Some of the best blog posts I’ve read tell a story in just three to five pictures. That’s amazing.
On the technical side, I am hooked on Photoshop actions now that I have a baby, i.e. less time for enhancing photos. It takes a lot of experimentation at the start, but once you find a look that you like, it makes post processing so much faster.
The key is to find a signature look and stick to it—don’t use every filter under the sun. For example, I like vivid, saturated colors for travel and a softer, more muted look for photos of my daughter.
8. What are your plans (if any) for Currystrumpet?
I would like to save up for a redesign and move towards a cleaner, more grown-up but still feminine look. I also want to create more order and consistency into my blogging and work more on building my personal brand.
Every blogger wants to make money off their blog, and I’d still like to find a way for that to happen, but I also know that can changing the motivation behind the blog can change the way it reads and feels. So for now I’m happy to blog purely for fun—I love my life and writing is my passion, and being able to combine the two is enough for me.