Monday, January 31, 2011

SerenaLeena News!

It's been a while since we've written a blog post - sorry!!

We're working on so many exciting new things! Firstly, we're so happy to announce that we're going to be exhibiting our Spring Collection at the next Rose Bowl Flea Market on February 13, 2011!! We're excited to meet our customers! We've got tons of new inventory, and will have exclusive DEALS and PROMOS at the Rose Bowl. If you've never been to the flea market at the Rose Bowl, let us recommend that you go. It's an amazing experience and the BIGGEST flea market!!! You can find ANYTHING there - tons of cool and interesting stuff, antiques, vintage designer gear, etc! Our last trip there we saw tons of famous actors/actresses, and met some fabulous people! It's a great place to do people watching!

As some of you may know, we're crazy about dogs!! Both of us have dogs and we're just infatuated with them! Drum - rolll, please!!! We are working on a line for dogs! Yes, now man's best friend can be found wearing SerenaLeena pet gear! We're working on collars with evil eye charms this week! They'll be posted on etsy soon. Our models, Oliver and Charlie are getting dolled up for the photo shoots! ;) Stay tuned for more information!!!

We've also had some requests that we're working on fulfilling! We will keep you posted as more develops!

Peace and Love!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Find SerenaLeena in Los Angeles

SerenaLeena will be displaying their pieces at the Dance Conservatory in Pasadena, CA on Saturday, January 22, 2010! Please come see us between the hours of 9am and 3pm to get your favorite pieces and see them live! Avoid shipping! Look below for the address.

The Dance Conservatory
496 Arroyo Parkway
Pasadena, CA 91105

We are also so excited to announce that in the next few weeks, you will be able to find SerenaLeena at the Burbank Town Center! We will give you more details about the location shortly!

The Evil Eye

The evil eye is the name for a sickness transmitted -- usually without intention -- by someone who is envious, jealous, or covetous. It is also called the invidious eye and the envious eye. In Hebrew it is ayin ha'ra (the evil eye), which in Yiddish is variously spelled ayin horoh, ayin hora, or ayen hara. In mainland Italian it is mal occhio (the bad eye) and in Spanish mal ojo or el ojo (the bad eye or just the eye). In Sicily it is jettatore (the projection [from the eye]) and in Farsi it is bla band (the eye of evil).

The evil eye belief is that a person -- otherwise not malific in any way -- can harm you, your children, your livestock, or your fruit trees, by *looking at them* with envy and praising them. The word "evil" is unfortunate in this context because it implies that someone has "cursed" the victim, but such is not the case. A better understanding of the term "evil eye" is gained if you know that the old British and Scottish word for it is "overlooking," which implies merely that the gaze has remained too long upon the coveted object, person, or animal. In other words, the effect of the evil eye is misfortunate, but the person who harbours jealousy and gives the evil eye is not necessarily an evil person per se.

A mother whose child has once been struck by the evil eye will soon take the advice of the other women in her community and acquire an amulet for the child to wear to repel the evil eye in the future. This sort of charm is called a repellent talisman or apotropaic charm.

The design of these charms varies from one area to another. The simplests are threads or cords, often red. More conspicuous are the amulets, often in the form of an eye, a hand, a horseshoe, or a combinations of two elements, such as the popular eye-in-hand and horseshoe-and-eyes. There are other, locally popular charms as well, such as the Hamsa hand, Hamesh hand, Hand of Fatima, or Hand of Miriam, that derive from other iconographic and symbolic sources.

In Greece, the most common form of apotropaic charm is the blue glass eye charm called the Nazar Boncugu or Nazar Boncuk, which "mirrors back" the blue of the evil eye and thus "confounds" it. Greeks make beautiful blue blown glass Nazar Boncugu or Nazar Boncuk charms in the all-seeing eye and eye-in-hand patterns, as well as in regionally-specific forms i call the horseshoe-and-eyes and eyes-all-over styles. Modern Greek women -- and Americans who like the "look" -- wear jewelry-quality sterling silver evil eye bracelets, made not only in the traditional shades of blue, but in ultra-hip fahiona colours.

Among the ancient Egyptians the eye of the god Horus, called the wadjet or udjat eye, was worn for magical protection. Although found in many materials, by far the most numerous are those made of blue-glazed faience or steatite.

In the Middle East, turquoise blue faience beads ("donkey beads") are used to protect livestock from the evil eye. These beads can be seen dangling from a modern Egyptian luck-bringing and apotropaic blue glazed wall plaque in the form of a horseshoe, made in Egypt.

In India, cord charms strung with a blue bead are placed on newborn babies; when the cord decays and breaks and the blue bead is lost, the child is considered old enough to have escaped the dangers of the evil eye.

Among the Kalbeliya Gypsies of India (the tribe from whom the European or "Bohemian" Gypsies are descended), the "mirroring back" of the evil eye takes the literal form of fabulously ornate multi-coloured mirror charms which are crocheted, braided, and wrapped with beads, buttons, and tassles. The practice of croocheting hundreds of tiny mirrors into fancy cloth -- especially wedding garment cloth -- is also widespread in parts of India.

In Nepal, where a hybrid form of religion called Tibetan Buddhism combines elements of the old animist beliefs with reverence for Gautama Buddha, a wonderful amulet called the eye of Buddha is worn to reflect back the evil eye.

In contemporary U.S. novelty catalogues, one can see advertisements for a so-called "eerie eye charm" which is a life-like blue eye set in an eyelid-shaped bezel.

In addition to blue bead eye-charms, numerous other eye-design and hand-design amulets are used to repel the evil eye.

One of the oldest forms of hand-talisman is the Roman hand of power, a bronze votary of a hand covered with symbolic images that was kept on the home altar to protect and bless the entire family.

In countries where Catholicism is the dominant religion, a Christianized version of the Roman hand of power is given traits of the eye-in-hand and the resultant image is called "the Most Powerful Hand of God" or mano poderosa.. In this apotropaic charm -- usually carried on the person in the form of a holy card or, as in Peru, as a protective package amulet, the symbolic images that cover the hand have been replaced by saints and a gaping crucifixion wound represents the eye in the palm.

In India, Israel, and the Arab countries the eye-in-hand charm is common. It may be carved of bone or cast in metal, with an engraved image of an eye in the palm or a cabachon-cut stone standing in for the eye.

The Middle East is home to the hamsa hand or hamesh hand charm (also known as the hand of Fatima among Arabs and the Hand of Miriam among Jews). This hand-shaped apotropaic charm may be cast in metal and worn as jewelry, but larger ones, inscribed with prayers of magical protection are often made of blue-glazed ceramics and hung on a wall.

In North Africa, a cabachon cut eye-agate stone may be used in conjunction with the hamsa hand design.

In America and England, jewelry-quality chams have been made from cat's eye shells. The eye-like shells are also carried in the pocket for personal magical protection.

In Sicily a lemon (a liquid-filled, eye-shaped fruit) may be pierced with nine nails and placed above doorway to prevent a jettatore from entering.

In Naples a piece of the rue plant (which has eye-shaped fruits and a strongly repellant odour) may be pinned to the clothes or a silver charm made to vaguely resemble the plant, and called a cimaruta ("sprig of rue") may be worn as a necklace.

Red is another color employed against the eye, mostly in regions where blue is not used: Red cords around the neck or wrist protect babies in eastern Europe and also in India. Likewise it is an old Jewish custom to place a red thread on a baby to protect it from ayin ha'ra.

In Mexico a large brown legume seed that resembles an eye, called ojo de venado ("deer's eye"), is hung from a red cord and outfitted with a fluffy red tassel and a holy print of a saint. It can be worn on the person, hung over the baby's crib, or dangled from the rear-view mirror of a car to ward off the evil eye.

In Italy, when a man's potency is threatened by the evil eye, gold or silver hand charms making the mano fico ("fig hand") and mano cornuta ("horned hand") gesture are used to repel the evil. These amulets are usually carved of blood red coral, and sometimes found in silver or gold. They are worn as necklaces, watch fobs, and pocket pieces by men and boys.

Corno (horn) or cornicello (little horn) is the name for an Italian amulet that looks like a long, twisted animal horn, rather freeform in design, usually carved of blood coral, but also found in red plastic, silver, gold, or blown glass. In America it is called "the Italian horn." Due to its phallic shape, it is usually only used by males.

A naturally branched piece of red coral "twig" is sometimes worn in place of the Italian horn amulet, and it may be made into a pin rather than a hanging amulet and then may be worn by a woman or girl.

Carved red coral amulets in the form of the mano fico, the mano cornuta , and the corno were everywhere in Italy when i travelled there as a child with my parents in 1957. Every town had a jewelry store that sold them and all the men seemed to be wearing them. I wanted one badly, but my mother explained that i could not have one because only boys were given them to wear and i would be breaking a cultural taboo. They are, as she explained to me, a specific against impotence.

More recently, Italian-American women have taken to wearing such "male" amulets as the corno , but now that i am collecting these things and don't care what people think of my interest in "men's" as well as "women's" mysteries, i find that although tiny red coral cornicelli can still be had (for a high price), coral mano fico hands are comparatively rare, due to the near extinction of Mediterranean coral, caused by water pollution and over-harvesting. Reproductions in pewter are sometimes found in America.

In ancient times, the moon goddess was invoked as a protectress of babies, nursing mothers, and milk animals, so her lunar crescent was used as an apotropaic charm. The previously mentioned North African eye-agate, crescent, blue bead, and hamsa hand charm is an old example of this usage.

An ancient Egyptian charm that combines the protective colour red with the protective power of a mother goddess is the so-called buckle of Isis charm or tit amulet. In fact, this amulet represents the menstrual pad of the goddess; it protects nursing mothers (Isis is generally shown suckling her son Horus) and young babies.

The use of a horseshoe to represent the lunar crescent is also ancient. Throughout Europe horseshoes are nailed to doors to prevent the evil eye from entering houses and barns. (The horseshoe charm has also acquired a second function, to "draw" luck to the bearer just as a horseshoe-magnet might attract iron filings or magnetic sand.)

In the days before automobiles came into use, draft horses and donkeys that pulled cabs and wagons in towns, where many people might see and admire them, were protected from the evil eye by apotropaic charms. In addition to the Middle Eastern blue faience donkey beads and Gypsy mirror charms mentioned above, locally popular amulets for animals include a scrap of wolf's fur (Naples), bells (all of Europe), images of mermaids called Sirens (Naples), and ornamental "horse brasses," often cast in the form of a lucky horseshoe (England).

Monday, January 10, 2011

We learn something new every day

Check out what we created by playing around with our videos from the Rose Bowl! We would love to hear what you think!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Work is love made visible.

Hi, readers!

The day is almost here! Rose Bowl, GET READY FOR SerenaLeena! We've been working hard making our displays and signs and preparing for the Rose Bowl! We're excited to meet you all and can't wait to learn more about our readers, followers, customers, and fans.

Aside from the usual update, we wanted to share some of our essential principles in business and life to let you all know a bit more about us. Both Leena and I are very family-oriented. We love to spend time with our parents and enjoy the company of our friends. Our friends and family have supported us 100%. For example, Leena's parents have been the Serena of SerenaLeena this week while I recovered from the flu. My parents have been aiding me back to normal and helping me create last minute displays. Our friends have helped us tag and prepare our items for the Rose Bowl. Thank you Nat and Talar! Our significant others have lifted, spray-painted, nailed, lent their items and helped in EVERY and ANY way possible. We are so blessed!

Thank you all for your hard work and support! The time we spend with the people that we love are constant reminders that it's not ALL business, it's about the experience and the beauty of launching something with a support system that you know you could always trust.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Coming Soon to a Boutique Near You!

We're thrilled that we're in the works of providing some of LA's and Miami's hottest boutiques with SerenaLeena accessories. If you or a retailer you know is interested in selling SerenaLeena items, contact us via email -

Preparing for the Rose Bowl!

We are so thrilled to see some of our customers in person! Many of you have responded to our email to say that you're attending! I hope we have enough inventory for you all to leave the market happy.

Leena has been quite the busy bee this week. She's been creating displays and preparing our inventory for the upcoming events...I, on the other hand, have been battling the flu for the last few days in hopes of feeling 100% by Sunday! A BIGGGG thank you to Leena for taking care of all aspects of the biz while I'm "out".

I wanted to give you all a quick glimpse of a few new pieces. Let us know what you think!

Also, if you have a gmail account, don't forget to follow our blog and if you haven't already done so, add us on Facebook!

To the love and drive of creativity...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Off to a great start!

Happy New Year! We are excited to announce that the start of our journey has been successful thanks to our friends, family and fans. Our loyal customers and friends on Facebook and Etsy have helped our dream become reality. With over 90 orders in the first 4 weeks of business, we are ready to move forward in the new year to bigger and better things. Our inventory is growing and our business strategy is being developed as we're learning from our experiences. We are thrilled to have a huge fan base and are thankful to those who have helped, supported and promoted our products!

To kick-off the new year, we will be displaying our pieces at the Pasadena Rose Bowl this Sunday, January 9, 2011. We will have pieces from our new collection and our evil eye jewelry! If you don't want to pay for shipping, join us and thousands of others in attending one of Los Angeles's most diverse flea markets! Click below for the flyer...

We will also be displaying our pieces at the Dance Conservatory in Pasadena at the end of January! Stay tuned for the dates!

We will soon be posting photos of SerenaLeena social and sales events! Here's a sneak peak at what's coming up!!!

Please don't forget to add us on Facebook or visit our e-boutique!