Friday, March 30, 2012

Back in Action, and This Time, I'm Adorned

          I apologize for the lack of updates! After Goa, I was back in Mumbai for two days before I headed to Delhi and Agra, to see the Taj Mahal, the Sikrhi Fort, and a few other cultural heritage sites. I also hit a bazaar in Delhi where I picked up a ton of gorgeous brocades, silks, and cottons to be sewn into bedding for my future apartment. Will elaborate more on this in a future post.
Gazing at the Taj
The Bahai'i Lotus Temple in New Delhi
       Since my return, Bombay has gotten hot. And when I say hot, I mean, a minimum of 95 degrees farenheit every day. The weather leaves everyone quite fatigued, as walking down the street leaves you drenched in sweat. All I have to say, is thank god for air conditioning. Although I do note that my skin loves humidity, I think the sweating clears the toxins out of the pores.
          On the beauty front, I’ve been going very minimal for day – almost everything melts off or just looks awful by the time you end up arriving at your destination after sweating like mad in a cab. A touch of moisturizing lip balm – my current favorite is Sara Happ Lip Slip – and I’m good to go. Anything else just looks silly.
          So, without makeup, how am I to bedazzle myself, you ask? Jewelry. India is obviously a haven for everything sparkly, and a walk in Bandra down Turner Road will reveal some of the most over-the-top diamonds you have ever seen. Since I don’t exactly have the champagne-and-caviar budget, I’ve had to settle for what is called “art jewelry”, sterling silver, handmade pieces dipped in 22k gold. I recently bought a pair of earrings that is just to-die-for, far more intricate than anything you would find in the U.S. for the same price.
          Another way I’ve bedazzled myself? Well, after seeing the awesome earrings all of the women here wear from their earlobes to their noses to their cartilidge, I thought it was time to take the plunge. I headed to a small shop in my neighborhood and got two more holes put into each ear, just beyond my typical earlobe piercing. The verdict? I love it! I think it gives me the right amount of Givenchy-esque edge, and also allows me to wear some of the gorgeous second-hole-only Indian earring designs. I don’t think I will get anymore piercings, but I can’t wait to check out the fabled New York Adorned when I return to the states to see what they can offer me on account of my new, punk-ified (OK, not really…) look.
Photo courtesy of my own Instagram account

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Goan Getaway

Outside of the Elephant Temple on the way to Ashwen/Morjim Beach
          The question on everyone's lips when you're a foreigner in Mumbai is "have you been to Goa yet?" With my hectic class schedule, I wasn't able to check out this European-favored getaway until this past weekend.
          The draw of Goa? Besides, well, pristine beaches on the Arabian Sea? The prices. My stay at Resort Rio, considered a five-star hotel, came to about $80 per night. Have you started looking up plane tickets yet?
The hotel's pool
         I spent the first day at the idyllic Morjim Beach, on a sunbed, complete with private, hand-thatched coconut hut, fully attentive restaurant service, and even the option of ayurvedic massages. The price for a full day of cold drinks, my favorite coconut water, lunch, and snacks? Around $8.
         For dinner, I headed to Jamie's in Baga, where I feasted on filet mignon, the first bit of red meat I've had since coming to India. It was a glorious moment. 
         I also got the chance to check out the famed Baga Beach. I spent the day at the Shining Star Beach Shack, where not only do you get delicious drinks and food, but everything from manicure/pedicures (for less than $2), massages, and jewelry is offered to you right at your sunbed. While I enjoy the sight of thousands of men in Speedo's just as much as the next girl (please sense the sarcasm), I found Baga to be a bit too crowded for my taste, and filled with hawkers selling DVDs, strawberries, faux Quiksilver, and just about everything in between. Sort of like the Seaside Heights of Goa, without the added charm of Snooki dancing surfside.
Perhaps you can see the Speedo's in the background...
         In Baga, I discovered must-visit shop, The Karma Collection. I seriously contemplated moving into the store. Filled to the brim with bed covers, pillowcases, rugs, and just about any textile you would ever want, all made from antique brocade Indian fabric refashioned to fit the Anthropologie-lover's taste. ABC Home & Carpet has nothing on this authentic piece of Indian charm. I picked up several stunning table runners, pillow cases, a tribal-chic handbag (will look super modern with a simple outfit), as well as two one-of-a-kind beachy dresses that would be perfectly at home in the Hamptons.
          If you happen to find yourself in Goa, head to the Saturday Night Bazaar in Arpora. While many of the items are obscenely overpriced by Indian standards, and quite run-of-the-mill, in the chaos, I found  a few gems. Indian cinnamon and ginger, two gaudy-in-a-good-way tops, and some adorable handmade elephants for gifts. The live jazz band made it quite a fun way to spend my evening.

         One thing I've missed from the US is simple, no frills cuisine. While I've certainly learned to love Indian food, sometimes I crave something that isn't decked to the nines in sauces. Lila Cafe, on the Baga River, satisfied my request. Besides the super-cool Fire Island by way of the spice triangle environment, and tee shirts that the waiters wear (you can pick one up in the attached shop for $5) the eats and coffee here are divine. The salad I had, which was simply shaved carrots and fresh coconut dressed in a smidgen of orange juice, may be the most luscious vegetable dish I've had in some time.

         Something I didn't mention about Goa? The booze. Although I spent my holiday liquor-free, I would be doing a disservice to the place if I failed to mention alcohol, which is obscenely cheap. Beers will run you about 40 cents each, and a cocktail made with the local vodka? About eight-tenths of a dollar. It is available just about wherever you turn, at any hour of the day or night. So drink up, because back in Bombay you'll be hit hard with the high alcohol tariff.
        While Goa was definently touristy, it is a must-visit for anyone who finds themselves in India, if for nothing else, the people watching. I have heard that South Goa, however, is much quieter, so perhaps if I get a chance to go back, I will stay there instead. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's a HOLIday

           Every makeup artist dreams of a day where they can splash their wildest colors of MAC pigments and Make Up For Ever Flash Creams on everyone they encounter. Well in India, my dream has come true, with a holiday called Holi. Celebrating the onset of spring, businesses, colleges, and just about everything else is closed so that friends and family can take to the streets and literally go hog-wild, splashing brightly colored pigments and water around until they resemble Dr. Seuss characters.
          On March 8th, which was Holi this year, I was advised to stay inside, as the pigments can stain light colored hair for weeks or even months. Since I’m the first to admit that my hair is a bit of an investment, I obliged. But looking at photos of Holi on Pinterest gave me the urge to at least see what it was all about. If nothing else, the color-mixing would serve as tremendous photoshoot inspiration.
From Pinterest

         I decided to walk around the area I live, and was greeted by numerous smiling faces who were happy to pose for photos showing off their Holi “best”. And by best, I mean brightest. The vivacity of the color and spirit was amazing. Almost all I came across spread a little pigment on my face (avoiding the hair) to wish me a “happy Holi”.

         I have far too many bright colors in my makeup kit to not use Holi as an inspiration for an upcoming shoot or two. Combined with minimal white clothing, the effect could be stunning. Stay tuned.