I did something last week I never thought I would in a million years! I joined a photography challenge on Instagram! It was six days of showing the world “what you got” in terms of photographing action shots such as pouring liquids, drizzling liquids, etc. I’ve always been the girl that hides in the shadows, saying to herself, “Gosh, that looks fun!” but never participated. Maybe it’s the pandemic and the social isolation we’ve all been experiencing this year that made me do it!! But, last Monday, with my hands shaking and a giant knot in my stomach, I loaded a series of photos and pushed the “Share” button on my Instagram account, and my world has forever changed!
Now you’re probably wondering why the heck I’m talking about Instagram and a photo challenge when the post is titled A Trio of Summer Infused Vodkas! I promise this will all make sense at the end! If you want to skip to the recipe, you won’t be hurting my feelings in the slightest. I get it; life is short and happy hour calls! Go forth to the bottom for the recipes for all three vodkas. They are super easy to make and don’t require a lot of guidance! Which is perfect for today! I’ve had so many thoughts rolling around in my head for months, and nowhere I felt I should share them. Maybe by the end of this post, you’ll feel inspired, but I hope not annoyed!
I’ve been feeling like I don’t belong in the blogging space!
It’s not that anyone has made me feel this way. The act of blogging is a pretty isolating experience. There’s the recipe development and testing, the photography aspect, photo editing, coordinating proper SEO so Google and the rest of the planet know who I am! Then there is the writing of the post itself. As you can see there isn’t a lot of opportunity for human interaction during the process. I was feeling uninspired and to be honest a whole lot lonely. I don’t have friends that blog or share a passion for photography so I had no one to share my ideas and thoughts with.
Two common questions photographers ask themselves when looking at their work is “Is this photo any good?” and “Is it even in focus?”
I get up often during an editing session asking myself these very questions. I walk around the house, shaking my head, I go back to my desk, and lo and behold, I’m shaking my head that I ever thought a photo was hideous and blurry. Then, five minutes later, I’m back walking around the house, shaking my head. What I discovered last week is that we all, as humans, can be our own worst critic and also the biggest cheerleader for others. Why can’t we just be our own cheerleading squad? Is it shameful to promote ourselves? Will our egos get bigger than the planet? The answer: is a big fat NO! So why aren’t we?
I never thought in a million years I would fall in love with Instagram!
Let me introduce myself to you! If you don’t know me, I’m Heidi Clark! I’m socially awkward, painfully shy, and never have considered myself one of the “cool kids.” I stayed away from Instagram for the most part. Once in a while, I would post something because I felt that’s what I should be doing to promote my blog. But, I wasn’t posting anything personal. I was barely interacting with the community. Just the picture and a really stunted generic description of whatever dish I was trying to tantalize people with. I jokingly use the word tantalize because if you look at my first blog posts, they are boring as a board, and the photos could make a three-year-old never want to eat again! I had it in my mind that IG was for the 20-somethings that like the title of “Influencer.” That’s not my speed. Anyone that knows me will tell you I run from attention!! But what I found is Instagram is fantastic for connecting people with shared interests!
When I pushed the publish button on Instagram last Monday to share my photos to those participating in the challenge my iPhone screen immediately lit up with likes and glowing comments.
My eyes were in shock! What?!?! People actually thought my photos were beautiful?!?! Several people even directly messaged me to introduce themselves and welcome me to the photography community! I’ll tell you, my friends; I cried many happy tears last week! My eyes are getting a bit misty as I type this even! I have never in my years on this planet truly felt I fit anywhere. I was the square peg trying to fit into a round hole daily. I’ve finally found where I fit! It’s doing food photography! I’ve always loved it but never permitted myself to fully pursue it! I did nothing but practice shooting last week and even assembled some shots that pushed me way out of my comfort zone!
If you have some free time and want to check the collection out on Instagram, you’ll find me at yumsandkisses. I will be over-the-moon if you do!
Last week helped me form the style of photography I want to do. I love dark and moody photographs! I love photographs that tell a story with vintage elements. Photos that draw you in and make you want to linger awhile. That evokes emotions. Why am I talking to you about food photography when this is a food blog?
Because, I decided that food photography is where I want to spend the majority of my time. There, I said it. It’s out in the universe! Your girl here wants to be a food photographer!
I haven’t posted a lot of entrees here because I’ll be honest I have issues with food waste. It makes me nuts to see good food go into a garbage can because it sat out while I’ve been shooting and is dry, unappetizing, and borderline of actually being safe to consume after sitting out for a few hours. Times are hard, there are people in our own neighborhoods suffering from food insecurity. Plus, Jeff works long hours and it does not make me feel good to put a plate of yuck down in front of him at dinner time. When there’s a main course meal that I can photograph without wasting I’ll gladly share it!
Going forward with the blog I will be focusing on cocktails, appetizers, and desserts! These are the things that really excite me! I can make a meal out of a spread of appetizers! I hope you feel the same way! I may not post as regularly as I have been because I would like to focus on learning as much as I can about photography and put the time into practicing! I would love to have you visit me on Instagram and become one of my friends! I spend a lot of time there and if you ever have a question about cooking or baking please don’t hesitate to shoot me a direct message! I love to talk about cooking! Or life in general really! I’ve found it to be a fantastic platform for forming friendships! I’ll still be here at yumsandkisses.com posting only the recipes that I truly love. I hope you’ll stay subscribed!
From now on, with the blog, I will only be writing to you, my dear friends! I’ve been dinged by Google so many times for not structuring my posts correctly that I started writing for them. I began to dread writing posts because it didn’t feel authentic. I didn’t feel I could really share my thoughts with you because Google is telling me how many times I have to mention the recipe name, what my readability score is (did you know there was such a thing???), Google tells me regularly my post title is too long! The list is never-ending! I have a love/hate relationship with Google! You, my dear friend, I love! I’m sorry I have not been writing to you! Today is the fastest I have ever blown through writing a post, and it is liberating!
If you have read this far, you deserve a drink, my friend! Make a Trio of Summer Infused Vodkas. While you wait for the botanicals and produce to make its magic, shake up a Strawberry, Black Pepper & Basil Cocktail, and enjoy the last few weeks of warm weather! I’ll be back soon to share recipes and a lot more of myself! Thanks for all your love and kindness! And for reading my ramblings!
Here is a list of some of my favorite Instagram accounts! A lot of them have become friends and their work is stellar!
@parttimemixologist~ Pranthik is seriously one of the kindest souls you will ever meet! His cocktail creations are not only gorgeous, they are downright delicious! Tell him yumsandkisses sent you!
@pink.lemon.tree~ Again, another kind and beautiful soul! Shanthini’s photographs, recipes, and writing take me on vacation every time I look at her account!
@alettertomyfood~ I don’t even have the words to describe the beauty that Indu creates! Just go check it out!
@minion_n_me~ Thushara’s photography and food stories will draw you in and make you never want to leave!
My friend Lillian has a vegan cookbook coming out in October! Her vegan cheese recipes are reason alone to become friends with her! She’s wickedly funny and always tempting her friends with new creations! Vegan or not, you’ll love her!
@violaminerva and @boxofspice~ Viola and Rakhee hosted the photo challenge I participated in last week. They offered so much encouragement, behind the scenes info, and answered so many of my questions! I owe them a million thanks! I honestly, don’t know when either of them sleeps! Their photography is beyond gorgeous and everything I hope mine becomes!
And if you love sugar! Check out @curlygirlkitchen, @evemariebakes, @stephaniessweettreats, @parsleyandicing, @saralynn.bakes. I made Sara’s peanut butter cookies, and honestly, they are the best I’ve ever had!Print
A Trio of Summer Infused Vodkas! In a matter of minutes, you are on your way to preserving the tastes of summer! Fresh blueberries, thyme, cucumbers, and basil-infused vodka is the perfect way to bottle the bounty of summer!
For the Basil Vodka:
1 cup plain vodka
1 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
For the Cucumber Vodka:
1 cup plain vodka
1 1/2 cups diced English cucumbers, unpeeled
For the Blueberry-Thyme Vodka:
1 cup plain vodka
1 cup fresh blueberries, halved
7–8 sprigs of fresh thyme
For the Basil Vodka:
- Place basil leaves in a medium jar.
- Muddle the leaves with a wooden spoon handle or a muddler to release the oils from the leaves.
- Pour in the vodka and seal the jar. Shake well.
- Refrigerate for 24 hours. Strain the leaves from the vodka.
- Return the jar of strained vodka to the refrigerator to store.
- Basil-infused vodka will keep 7-10 days.
For the Cucumber Vodka:
- Place the diced cucumbers into a medium jar.
- Pour in the vodka. Seal and shake well. Refrigerate the jar for 24 hours.
- Strain the cucumbers from the vodka.
- Return the jar of strained vodka to the refrigerator.
- Cucumber Vodka will keep for 14 days.
For the Blueberry-Thyme Vodka:
- Place the vodka, halved blueberries, and thyme sprigs into a medium jar.
- Seal and shake the jar well. P
- lace the jar in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Remove the large sprigs of thyme from the vodka after 24 hours.
- Return the jar to the refrigerator for another 7 days.
- Strain and return the vodka to the refrigerator to store.
- Blueberry-Thyme Vodka will keep for 14 days.
- Don’t bother buying a luxury brand of vodka for these infusions. Since we are flavoring them, save the $ and buy something like Tito’s or Absolut.
- The Blueberry & Thyme Vodka pairs beautifully with Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade! All three vodkas are delicious mixed with tonic water or ginger beer! My favorite brand of tonic water is Schweppe’s and Q Ginger Beer cannot be beaten! If you are a serious ginger lover like me seek it out! You can find all three mixers at most well-stocked liquor agencies. Don’t forget to add a spritz of lemon or lime juice to your cocktail!
- Go crazy! Infuse your vodka with ginger root and lemon peel, black pepper and strawberries, or orange wheels and vanilla beans! The possibilities are endless! Have fun with it!
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Shake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: infused vodka, summer cocktails, blueberry and thyme vodka, cucumber vodka, basil vodka, diy infused cocktails,