BENEATH A DESERT MOON

¡Hola, mis amigos! (I don’t always greet y’all, maybe I should? I just get into the thick and thin of it and that’s kinda rude, innit? I mean, I care because you’re reading which is really sweet because it’s me, and you know, you’re still here – you guys make up a handful, and you make me happy.)

Because I was so incognito back then, you would’ve missed this – this year, I created/made up themes for every couple of months in the year (I divided my year into four parts, and not quarters). Each period was to tell a story by way of the content I would be covering and sharing on my blog etc. Except you know that it didn’t work out that way, I wasn’t actively working on any material; the ideas, of course, piled on and on and you know what went down. Nothing!

SO. What the illustration for this post is meant to be is an introduction to the story I wished to tell during the months of May, June and July called…

The Song of the Seamstress

As one could tell, the drawings are inspired by Mexico (a country I have never been to – but am really keen on visiting, soon) – the colours and clothing; some desert cactuses; the marigolds and roses; the ofrendas and sugar skulls etc.  The Song of the Seamstress also drew colourful and cultural inspirations from: cameo pendants; dulce de leche; floral embroidery; Frida Kahlo; la combinación de naranja y rosa; Lisbon (I really like this city; it’s colourful and so very warm – it makes me think of Cuba, Goa and Mexico, all at once!); Mother Mary; Pablo Neruda; ruffled clothing; the Día de los Muertos festival; Ugly Betty etc.

P.S. (Would you get a better idea if you saw this? It forms the display picture and cover photo for when I did publish this theme on Facebook and Twitter etc.) – This might be continued in the posts that are to come but it’s also December and so, I will be covering some other *fun* material (I haz ideas)! We’ll see.

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes

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MOONRISE KINGDOM

245 Moonrise Kingdom

Sreesha Shetty is one of the few beings whose work I constantly love to talk about (not a secret); I like that the essence of her jewellery label, Shop Lune has stood the test of time (from when she launched her very first collection to now). With all the quartz stones she employs to make the pieces, and/or charms shaped like crescent moons and gold feathers, etc. balanced with a basic, minimal undertone – Sreesha’s jewellery makes me think of the mystical powers of the Moon. Shop Lune as a name then, makes for a deeper connection, you know?

Okay, so the last time I wrote about Shop Lune – Sreesha was working around the clock to set up a website that would make the process of selling, easier. The website has been in existence for more than a few months now, and I recently acquired a lovely, layered necklace (see picture) from one of her current collections. For this feature, I decided it would be nice to not only talk about Miu (the necklace) but also to Sreesha about Shop Lune in general, her upcoming collection and such, and such –

Was there a particular significance behind the name, Miu?

“Miu sounds like meow, almost cat-like and this necklace reminds me of a starry night with the Moon in the background, and a black cat sitting on a pavement staring into space. More like Théophile Steinlen’s 1896 poster of Le Chat Noir. A black cat and the yellow gold background. I know there’s no cat reference in the necklace but cat lovers could wear Shop Lune’s Miu, you can even wear it if you don’t like or have cats!”

(Also, if there were any other thoughts behind making the layered necklaces, etc. They are very pretty!)

“Thanks for the pretty compliment. I really love layering necklaces and this one is best when worn with basics, like a white tee, etc. Also, I like that I can just wear them and know that no one else is going to be wearing them. Plus it has all the elements of what Shop Lune essentially is about. Dreamy, simple, and it has my favourite tones – antique gold and gunmetal; it was fun making these necklaces. I was in Goa when I made them, I don’t think I could have made these in Mumbai.”

Miu, Oona, and some of the other pieces that you shot recently, have a very beachie vibe, compared to your first collection. The photographs make me think of the Goa associated with La Plage or the pristine, whiter beaches there. (Much like the first collection had me thinking of Oxford Market or Portobello Road in London, etc.) Can folks expect a following collection that’s inspired by another city or place that you like?

“That’s a nice way of looking at it. The city I live in definitely influences my collection subconsciously. There’s no conscious effort when I design something. I’ve been in Mumbai long enough now, for almost two years and I think something more industrial, influenced by the city will be seen in my collection for fall which should be out by October.”

I think it is so cool that you worked on creating more pieces of an exactly similar design, though you used to not do that before – I liked that thought too, but this idea is better because I would be sad if there was only one Miu necklace and it got sold out before being able to buy it.

“I make the prototype and sometimes more than one piece of the same style, and the rest is made by my trusty team of karigars. This collection was made in Goa, and I probably just sketched the chain bralette but the rest of the pieces were more impromptu, all made by hand… All my handmade pieces can be made in bulk, now. :-) I just had to figure that bit out, because I would have customers asking me to make them the same pieces.”

How much are you loving selling independently from the Shop Lune website, as opposed to selling to folks through Etsy, Facebook, and/or e-mails?

“I think that having your own website saves you a lot of time. I would have probably just sold on Etsy if I was still living in London. They didn’t have a currency converter for the rupee, and my Indian customers would find it difficult to shop so I was pretty much forced to start a website. I’m glad I did. I’m also happy that I started selling on Etsy as it taught me the basics of writing compelling descriptions, and the importance photography plays in selling products, and about customer feedback, etc. It was like a crash course… Of sorts.”

Will there be any Shop Lune pop-up shops that your customers can look forward to, before the end of the year?

“Yes! NH7 Weekender in Pune, and if you or your blog readers want me to be at a particular pop-up shop, please let me know… I love receiving feedback, suggestions, and to hear from everyone!”

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes, and picture by Jane D’Souza

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

Super Mario

238 Super Mario

It took me a while to be in complete awe of his work, I don’t exactly know why, but I just knew of Mario Miranda before (like I had heard the name, knew very little about him) and enjoyed seeing some of his drawings and vignettes in select places in Bombay, etc. That was about it! I never really took care to go through his work, or such. Last month though, I went to Goa for a few days; I was staying with my ex-roommate Nandini (Velho), and well (unrelated), her house reminded me of a modern day tree-house, from the furniture to the rooms, etc. Everything just looked so interesting, and the home – so very inviting. Anyway, her dad, Luis (d-uh, a Velho too) is an architect (felt I should inject that, here), and a complete Mario Miranda loyalist.

The walls of their house are covered with some of Mario’s coolest works (there were some outlined drawings in black over fluorescent yellow paper)… And that is where I discovered more artworks apart from the few I used to see at Cafe Mondegar in Colaba. On my last day in Goa, Nandini took me to the Mario Miranda shop in Panjim, and I wanted to buy nearly all the greetings cards, postcards and some of the prints, there. However, I picked up a handful of ten assorted cards for Rs. 200, and can’t wait to stock up on some more, the next time I visit the store. (This card featuring the Le Crocodile bar in Paris is from Mario’s Impressions of Paris set.)

P.S. Oh, and yes, I definitely did learn a little bit more about him now, and otherwise, really want to get some of the poster-sized prints. Also, inspired! Very, very.

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Artwork and picture by Roanna Fernandes