Desert Rose

243 Desert Rose

The #LearnToDraw posts are probably going to be a forever thing! At least, I hope so. Drawing cute, tiny objects will never cease to excite me… Because I enjoy making cluster illustrations, it also helps when I have perfected an object that is part of the entire illustration (like a bowl of eggs, or a Nutella jar). And I love mastering all the details (the packaging, labels etc.) even if the drawing really is as little as an Instagram square, or even smaller. 

For some reason, cactus prints have been following me all over town (much like those pineapples), they cheerfully adorn silk shirts in fashion editorial spreads (I wonder if Zara has ’em?); I also spotted some cactuses on a pair of socks (which I want to order right away), and on someone’s phone cover, too. These observations are then carefully made a note of by way of doodling them into my notebook, so that I remember to cover them in posts like these.

P.S. Erm, you could say that I was inspired by JODI and this seemed a fitting post to follow the previous one… I want to turn this baby cactus into a proper print now, I have way too many doodles lying around in my folders waiting to be turned into prints.

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes

Jodi de Vivre

242 Jodi de Vivre

Okay, so I have been hoarding this feature (in my brain) for the longest time now, I have even forgotten when I discovered JODI – it was way before I e-mailed them back in June! Anyway, so they replied to me, last month and I still took ages to put this piece together. Idjit! This interview feature is similar to the ones I have covered before (on my blog, of course), but also sorta different. Same, same but different – if you will, like is the underlying theme of this label! The feature reads shorter (yes, you can smile), and without any further ado, I present to you –

When did JODI officially go live, online? Can you tell me about the name?

We went live, last year on the 25th of July on indiacircus.com. JODI (जोड़ी) is a Hindi word, and it means ‘pair’. Because we are the two (Karuna Laungani and Gauri Verma) who started this brand, it seemed like an apt name. Also, both of us have a twin sibling. And we work best as a pair, whether it is our personal relationship with our own twin siblings or our professional relationship with each other. We think of JODI as the meeting of two ideas, two visions coming together to do something we love and are passionate about.

A little bit about each of you, individually? I’ve been following your work, Karuna for a bit now, and I’m a fan. Gauri, from what I’ve read – you’re a graphic designer, too and I really, really like how you use colours.

KARUNA: I started my career with ELLE (India), and was Fashion Editor there. After I quit the magazine, I continued to take up freelance projects (fashion styling). I styled Sonam Kapoor in the movies, Khoobsurat and Dolly ki Doli. I also take up a lot of work for print campaigns, and I am currently styling the ‘Gen Next’ shows for Lakmé Fashion Week.

GAURI: I studied at NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) in Delhi, and worked as a fashion stylist with ELLE (India), too. That’s where we met each other (2012). I am also a freelance graphic designer and stylist. I work with various brands styling print shoots, television commercials, etc.

Do you come up with the designs by yourselves, or work with artisans to create patterns since the woodblock printing is undertaken by them?

We start with designing our prints since we are a brand that focuses on prints. Our aim is to steer clear from the typical motifs used in block printing. We first start by sketching out our ideas on paper. We design all our prints. We then share it with the block-maker, who makes a technical sketch of our design so that it can be transformed into a block. Following that, we work very closely with the printer and use one or various blocks to create a print. This is the fun part as we can mix and match various blocks to come up with interesting designs. The possibilities are endless. This is also something that is not possible when it comes to digital printing.

Can you tell me more about each collection? (I notice that you guys name collections after the model wearing the clothes, which is interesting… The pieces of clothing from the Azra collection form some of my favourites.)

For our current collection, we wanted to create easy yet trendy pieces… You will see motifs like pineapples, cats and paper kites on shift dresses, culottes, pleated dresses and skirts, etc. Our collection has a mix of various silhouettes. So there is something for everyone whether you are 18 or 50 years old.

Is there a story behind the use of patterns placed as frames for the clothing shots?

We are a brand that loves colour, and our mood is eclectic and vibrant. We want to be unique, and stand out and be clear as with regards to our brand identity. Like we told you, prints are our forte so it makes sense that we use colour and print to bring out the vividness in the photographs. (Our visual content has been designed to show you what inspired each piece. Prints, art, music, movies, graphics – things that inspired us to create a certain piece, etc.)

{ What are my thoughts? Well, I am drawn to their beautiful + colourful patterns and prints; and now, that I have some background on the label, I also find the twin factor most intriguing. How does that even happen? Very cool! Of all the collections, I love AZRA – I think the model also does the clothes justice as does the photographer who took her pictures. Those pineapple prints are everything! Them peacock patterns, too. Which are my favourite clothes out of the lot? I totally dig the masculine button-down shirts, pleated skirts and throw-over jackets. Ooh, and Pune is where their production unit and studio is at – it is where all the clothes are produced; the block printing happens in Ahmedabad and Jaipur. I feel like it would be an experience to go with them once, during one of their many travels to learn more about how woodblock printing works; or even perhaps, to take a tour of their production unit. }

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Pictures by Anish Sarai

Breaking the Habit

241 Breaking the Habit

There is no time like now! The mood particularly called for a post such as this. Do you ever feel like crap on days when everything does not seem to be going right? Or perhaps when you wake up late, find yourself with no purpose, get irritated with yourself and sometimes wish you could go back to sleep and start all over, tomorrow? I do feel like that on some days (even a few days in a row), and I know if I keep it up… It will build into some sort of mild depression (if it hasn’t already – okay, to be honest, it has but I am working on it).

There are a few websites (MoodGYM, etc.) that encourage you to do a bunch of exercises for your mind and gain some perspective, when you’re feeling absolutely pathetic. Other times, I try to just get over it which is easier said than done. Mostly, what I hate are those days when you want to cry, cry and continue to keep on crying – the kind that never really stops (those tears that are shed for no particular rhyme or reason), and that as a process is not really cleansing but that alters all the sadness you’re feeling into anger, or something equally bitter. And so, I’m breeeeeaking the habit, tonight (you are crooning with me, yes)

Clean out your closet, head, etc. Whatever bro! Cleaning really helps me at those times when I feel like a useless person. It occupies you, which is something you definitely need… It opens your mind, and just gives you something better to do rather than hate on yourself. 

Communicate what you’re feeling, erm, talk to someone maybe? I know it’s easy for me to say but trust me, it actually really isn’t. Because I prefer keeping things to myself and self-healing or whatever. It works, on occasion but I think talking to either a close friend or sibling, perhaps even a counsellor or professional helps tonnes, too. (Ooh, maintaining a journal is gold! I haven’t actually been writing very often in mine; I know I should.)

Drink uh, nothing intoxicating perhaps, at a time like this! Tea is the potion. (I know you were thinking I would have said coffee!) I prefer tea in times of distress, I love the aroma especially if it’s of the clear, herbal variety – ooh, like rose tea. Or camomile! Lavender is one to be tried.

Exercise (I know, d-uh!) But I have only come to recently appreciate the goodness that comes out of an intense work-out sesh. Good energy is what you need to snap out of it! And it’s a lot easier to tap on some good vibes through an old-fashioned run in the park, some yoga for your head, and some movement for your muscles.

Experiment with something completely new (not acid, you doof)! Be brave, just go with it. I used to think I wasn’t exactly a camping or forest sort of person until I went to one, this summer. And it was a really mild experience but nonetheless, so good for me. Much as I thought to myself that it wasn’t me, and I would be bored, that my legs wouldn’t be able to take it (making excuses, etc.) but once I was there – it wasn’t bad at all. I got to spend an entire afternoon semi-floating in the cool waters of a secret, inlet pool there, sit on pebbles that grew hot through the afternoon (steam even rose from them), lie with my head resting on warm pebbles as foamy, gushing water massaged my temples… Well, it was something! So don’t be like me or dismiss things before you know how they can be, you might hate or love it but it is better to have known, and/or tried. Promise? (Okay, just listen to Brave by Sara Bareilles if you think I’m talking out of my arse or something.)

Learn something you never have before, or that you always wanted to. I looked for some of those online courses that you can do for free and didn’t find subjects I liked, but then I was inspired by my friend Abhishek (Khan) who is teaching himself the art of drawing lettering types so I think I’m going to do some of that, myself. (Personal projects are good for you!)

Listen to good music, old sounds (read: Linkin Park), whatever inspires you or gets you going, etc. Music is like love for me, it just speaks to me whenever I’m feeling things, good or bad. I relate to it, and I think it mostly helps alter my mood or makes me feel instantly good about myself.

Rest well, and good, my sweet friend! (I gotta cut down on my daily caffeine intake, dude.) 

Shower (ing) is my favourite-st, fail-proof method to physically break out of a funk; cold or hot, take your pick but make sure your gel or shampoo smells like the best fragrance you have ever smelled. (I like the Wild Argan Oil shower gel from The Body Shop or anything that smells good to me, when I feel depressed!)

Smell fragrances that make you feel empowered or invigorated, etc. I know this sounds shallow or weird, but it does help ease the mind, etc. I think that’s why I’m overly fond of wearing perfume, lighting agarbattis and scented candles, and what-not.

P.S. Do you ever/really feel like this? Basically, I think every step is simple, is heard of and usually works. A combination of some steps work, too! I just thought of writing this post on a very random note, because as you now know; I feel like this on-and-off and it really bothers me. I just want to do more, feel more, and live more. We should not have to worry so much about making money or dying young, or not having done things; we should work at being happy, do things instead (worry less) and just be ourselves. 

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes

The Cocoa Butter Solution

240 The Cocoa Butter SolutionOkay, so it has been a while! To be fair, there was this, and oh, this. But were you keeping track? Maybe not. (THIS IS A PRODUCT REVIEW!) ♥ Getting into the heart of matter, I knew of Palmer’s but never felt a need to buy anything from them before. (Besides I haven’t seen their products, here.) So when I received a full-sized product of their Skin Therapy Oil (60 ml) in the beauty box sent over from ELLE (India) a few months ago, I was exciiiiited! This body oil is from Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula (with Vitamin E) range, and it is one of those “Holy Grail” products known to take care of scars, stretch marks, dry or damaged skin, an uneven skin tone and aging skin.

Started using the body oil a few weeks ago (not regularly) but I love how it smells and feels on my skin, especially on the elbows and knees. There are times when I add a few drops of it to my bath water, too! It’s a product I want to save for the colder months because it would work even better, then. The shorter review? Yes, it is non-greasy, in fact, a coin-sized amount can cover both of your hands, including the elbows; and it smells delicious (cocoa butter, after all) in a non-overpowering way. It’s kind of like a dry, moisturizing body oil!

This body oil is good to slather on your legs when wearing skirts with/without stockings outside during winter; better protection, when you are exposed to the harsh cold. I would prefer applying it on exposed skin when I go out, because I do not know if it stains clothes! Ooh and, it isn’t sticky like some mousse-esque body butters can be; the price of a 60 ml bottle varies from website to website, Rs. 480 and/or Rs. 840, et cetera, et cetera.

{ Rating – 8 / 10 }

P.S. I was lucky enough to be sent this box of goodies because I was one of first 300 folks to register on the ELLE Beauty Week 2015 website! Registering entitles you to avail of discounts when it comes to booking appointments at select salons or receive the word on cool make-up classes to attend, etc. (during a certain period); and of course, if you register early then you also receive boxes like I did! Apart from the body oil, there was a felt-tip eyeliner and bottle of nail polish from Maybelline along with a Calvin Klein perfume sample, a dainty bottle of Moroccanoil potion, a tiny tube of a Za face cleanser, and a bar of Soulflower soap in the Sexy Strawberry fragrance.

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Artwork and pictures by Roanna Fernandes