To Be ABCD or Not Be ABCD

The acronym ABCD came about 2 or 3 decades ago. America Born Confused Desi – not a real badge of honor for many second-generation Indian or desi Americans. Times have changed, the world is smaller and a more accessible place today than it was 30 years ago, yet the acronym has stuck around. 

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Growing up I remember meeting some NRI family-friends and their kids visiting India, most feeling like fish out of water or feeling awkward during conversations where their accent or an attempt to mutter a few words of Hindi was made fun of. I am sure they couldn’t wait to get out of most situations and go back to the comforts of their own homes abroad.

Cut to today – the internet may have shrunk the world but for better or worse I my kids are branded – ABCD. 

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The eternal question from the well-wishers when I visit India is, “So how will you make sure your kids will not turn out to be total ABCDs?” Or some variation of that. ‘Do you speak Hindi with them?’ ‘How do you teach them Indian values’ etc etc. My reaction to such questions is usually vague, not because I do not have a concrete answer but because I know that no matter what I say, my kids will never be Indian ‘enough’ and I am totally okay with that.

Actually here in US, I have seen people divided on this topic. The discussions range from Sunday Hindi school at local temple to, I don’t care whether my child speaks a word of Hindi. I am somewhere in the middle. I must admit that I have not done a great job of teaching my little ones Hindi yet, but, they are exposed to the Indian culture as and when we feel appropriate.

My husband is big on Indian music aka Bollywood film music and the girls are picking up some very interesting dance moves from their daddy. 

I go back and forth on exposing the kids to Bollywood as it hardly paints the true picture of India. Moreover, India for me is more than a place, it’s an experience that I lived for over two decades of my life, I still have a lot of India in me. For me most films go from entertaining to annoying in a matter of minutes! Exposing my kids to Bollywood in mini-doses of music is ok but cultural learning has to come from elsewhere.

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 I am more ritualistic and traditional in the combination hence the festivals and other cultural stuff is my department. Good thing that we have a circle of desi friends that comes together during festivals such as Diwali and Holi. 

We love dressing up in our Indian garb and fineries for Diwali and enjoy dressing down and getting dirty for Holi!

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I am also a big fan of books from India or about India. There are books written by fellow moms in US which explain the importance or significance of Indian culture and rituals and there is also a monthly subscription box service for all things desi!

My girls love their homemade food with a touch of cumin and other spices, their dosa rotis and idli cakes (as they like to call them) and of course they look forward to their annual visit to India. Which I feel is the best way to expose them to the values I feel closest too. I really don’t care but about tags and acronyms I take a lot of pride in my Indian roots and cultural heritage. I just hope I do a good job of exposing my girls to the values that have made me what I am today. Rest is up to them to choose what they want to do with it. 

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On a side note, I think they look really cute in their lehngas and other tiny Indian outfits, love mama’s bindis, bangles and mehndi so I secretly hope they both grow up to be Indophiles! 

Written By Divya Kumar

From A Scavenger Hunt To An Engagement-Moon: My Proposal Story

Aman and I were actually introduced to each other through a mutual friend of our siblings at a Halloween party in 2013.  That friend claimed that he knew someone who would be perfect for me (this friend has only met me once in my life) and wanted to know if I would be willing to give my number to someone he knew.  I didn’t believe him, but still gave my number anyway.  Aman texted me after SIX days and blew me off TWICE for our first date.  Needless to say, I didn’t give him the time of day. After agreeing last minute, our first date was at a Starbucks and I just remember the conservation being highly inappropriate (if you know Aman, this is NOT surprising) but so much fun.  Since that day, our relationship evolved into an effortless union – Aman keeps me laughing and I’m so happy that I decided to give my number that day.
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My favorite part of our love story (so far) is hands down Aman’s proposal.  It’s safe to say that every girl thinks about the way she’d want to be proposed to.  I got exactly what I always wanted – except it was 100x better than I could have ever envisioned.  It started in the morning in August 2016, with my sister handing me a scrapbook made by Aman, with the first page instructing me to start getting ready!  Aman sent me on an elaborate scavenger hunt to find him – in my own private limo – to all of our meaningful spots, where loved ones in our lives gave me the next clue (which was the next page in the scrapbook) + a handwritten card at each location leading me to him.
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After proposing to me at “our spot”, we had celebratory drinks and then dinner with our great families.  As if that wasn’t enough, he also surprised me with an #engagementmoon right after dinner – we went to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico for a week!  (Aman secretly asked my supervisor for not only the proposal day but the entire week off from work, so I had absolutely no idea).  Aman planned for months and our parents, siblings, friends were ALL involved.  He put so much thought, effort and love into the proposal which makes it all the more special.
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It was truly every girl’s dream come true proposal.
Written By Vibha:
 Vibha wears a custom-made lehenga designed and created by India Boulevard.

How To Mix And Match Your Custom Lehenga | With Desi Girl Jennifer Laxmi

As featured on Laxmi Lifestyle

I have always loved fashion. As an Indian- American style blogger, I grew up exposed to the evolution of western styles while experimenting with Indian fashion and from a young age, for events, religious functions, weddings, and whenever I visited India. As my love for Bollywood grew, I also noticed style trends through actresses, movies, and songs, which largely reflect the trends and traditions of Indian wear, whether it’s a simple sari from the 60s, the return of floral patterns, or edgy androgynous looks and dhoti-type pants. I love fusing both western and eastern wear to celebrate my heritage while expressing my everyday individual style.

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Jennifer’s made-to-order customized outfit.

 I’m always looking for unique ways to incorporate Indian garb and inspiration into my looks, or figuring out ways to customize my Indian looks at events to express my individuality and creativity. That is why it was so important that I used a service like India Boulevard where I had a say in my outfit from picking color watches and patterns to specific cuts and lining.

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Jennifer’s scalloped dupatta.

As a South Indian who loves everything Bollywood, I’d say my Indian outfits incorporate a bit of everything. I draw my inspiration from Sonam Kapoor. She seamlessly mixes edgy and traditional to any look. She knows how to take risks and that’s the philosophy with which I create my fashion persona. I like trying new things even if it doesn’t strike others as ‘beautiful’. I think taking risks is important because it helps you flex your creative muscles and figure out ways to wear pieces in original ways. Olivia Palermo is another huge inspiration because she mixes both high-end and street pieces and embodies a style that’s polished, feminine and edgy.

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Jennifer in her custom lehenga

I decided to get this grey floral lehenga for my cousin’s wedding reception, I knew I’d heard about India Boulevard before and finally took the plunge! It was so worth it.

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Jennifer mixes her lehenga skirt with a black top.

When I first wore this lehenga, I felt stunning! What I loved most about it was that it was unique and it was so perfect for my individual style, given that I had custom requested the off-shoulder look for the blouse. Also, picking the color combo of the unorthodox gray mixed with the blue and green floral pattern was daring and bold, creating a look that certainly stood out at my cousin’s reception.

From the service and communication to the efficiency and quality, I couldn’t have been happier with my outfits! The best part? I was able to style the outfit in 3 different ways: traditionally, with my crop top & choker, and with my fave culottes.

Jennifer Laxmi mixes and matches her lehenga top wth a pair of flare pants.
Jennifer Laxmi mixes and matches her lehenga top wth a pair of flare pants.

For those of you, who are curious, the process to order from India Boulevard is quite simple:
A: Pick your style (lehenga, anarkali, etc.)
B: Set your price range, set your date
C: Customize any details (this can be an ongoing process with the stylist/assistant, who is available on phone, WhatsApp and Live Chat)
D: Confirm your order and measurements
E: Await your precious arrival!

The stylists at India Boulevard were super receptive to all my customization needs (super high maintenance when it comes to the perfect color combos, swatches, and patterns). I was so stoked to see my off shoulder blouse come to life, and more importantly, for everything to fit me like a glove. I seriously recommend them, and sometimes they are accommodating with dupatta needs, color swaps, and even the timeline.

Check them out here.

I Use Fashion To Express My Individuality

Written By Dimple Parikh

“There is nothing more beautiful than a woman unapologetically being herself.”

I have never designed my own outfit, so it was extremely exciting to pick the style, color palette and fabric from scratch. It almost felt like I was my own fashion designer. Whenever I buy an outfit, I make sure it contains a bit of me in it, be it in color, pattern or texture. I use fashion as a way to express my individuality.

When my dark blue and gold outfit came, it was love at first sight. I knew it was the one.

Dimple wearing an exclusive made to order India Boulevard outfit.
Dimple Parikh wearing an exclusive made to order India Boulevard outfit.

I live in New York, which has many options for Indian outfits but it is really hard to find something that truly represents you. So I was extremely excited when I found out a service like India Boulevard exists.

I have always believed in the essence of simplicity and elegance. My idea of a perfect outfit is when timeless pieces are incorporated into a modern wardrobe. I love combining dark tints with a pop of colors to give a bold statement look.

Life is too short and that is why I am not afraid to take risks, be it in fashion or life in general. My philosophy is that you live only once so why not try different things.

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Dimple’s gold and blue outfit is the perfect evening wear.

As for fashion icons, I adore Sonam Kapoor and Blake Lively.

Fashion, after all, should reflect your personality. That’s what I love about Sonam and Blake. Their sense of fashion is bold, fierce and fabulous which every woman should be in their personal and professional life. Fashion should be a part of you, not overwhelm you.

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Dimple Parikh wearing a made to order India Boulevard outfit.

Get Dimple’s glam look now. Speak to our stylists.

My mother gave me 101 sarees for my wedding!

Written By Divya Kumar

Long, long ago there was a little girl who loved wearing saris, she could barely manage her school uniform, but as soon as she came home, she opened and stared at her mom’s closet, wide-eyed she looked at all those neatly hung, color-coordinated yards and yards of fabric in hues ranging from pastels to brights. Depending on her mood, she would choose a crisply-starched cotton dhoti or drape a dainty chiffon on her tiny body. Then there were days when she just touched the silks and let its luxurious feel engulf her. 

She watched her mom wear a sari every morning in under-3-minutes! But her little fingers struggled to make any sense with this long, intimidating yet fascinating ensemble. This, of course, was decades before YouTube tutorials.
And the mother of this little girl was aware of her only daughter’s love affair with her wardrobe. So whenever the mom traveled for work or leisure, with or without the daughter she bought a sari for her little girl. The tradition went on for years, and mom bought traditional, handwoven saris to add to her burgeoning collection. 

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L-R: Vintage Resham embroidered sari in blue (my mom wore it for her wedding reception and for my wedding, I wore it for my brother’s wedding), Pink beaded sari- (reimagined design from 1960’s Bollywood, silk, and Zari embroidered sari in navy and Zaria woven sari in orange)

You guessed it right, I am that little girl and this is the story of me and my saris.  My mom, a highly placed and well-respected bureaucrat with the government of India, loved her saris. In her 36 years of service, she wore saris every single day to work. We missed her a lot when she was away but it also gave me and my brothers to explore the country when she was posted outside Delhi. Our usual trips included a tour of factories, handicraft museums or visits to local artisans workshops. The last one was my favorite.

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Me in one of the sarees


We got to meet and watch the weavers, painters, artists and craftsmen at work. We were lucky to see many masterpieces being woven and crafted. From pattu shawls of Kullu, delicate Kashmiri embroidery on pashminas, intricate mirror work in Gujarat, tye & dye or bandhej in Rajasthan, dhoop-chhav or ombre silk weaves of Benaras, phulkari of Punjab, gold zari badla and dabka work on wedding lehengas to delicate Chanderis. Magnificent south India Kanjeevarams and pochampaly Ikat saris and much more.

These trips and visits were eye-opening and educational, beautifully enlightening to say the least. I remember planning most of our holidays around sari shopping. Kumaran or Nallis in Chennai, Barrabazaar in Kolkata, Johri Bazaar in Jaipur etc.
Almost two decades and all these trips later, when finally the daughter decided to get married, she realized she will be leaving her family, her friends, only place she knew as home and crazy as it may sound, a her beloved wedding trousseau of one hundred and one saris that her mom so lovingly collected created for her over the years.

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L to R: Maroon Benares gold zari, Mysore silk sari, multicolor chiffon lahariya, Bengal silk in orange and green and fuchsia Kanjeevaram

The heart-broken mom soon discovered that her US-bound girl will not only be leaving her traditional saris behind, she will also not be carrying on the family tradition of wearing these beautiful saris.

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Me during my wedding

7 years on since the wedding and 12 years since I left India, I can count on my hands the number of times I wore my saris. I still have about 20 some saris I brought to the USA with me out of the 101, but many of them are yet to see the light of the day.

4 cross-country moves and 2 kids later, I am still hopeful that one day I will be able to bring my much-cherished collection of saris over. Each sari is a masterpiece because each one of them is hand-crafted, every one of them tells a story, a story I am looking forward to sharing with my daughters. One day….

 

5 Reasons Freya is Proud to be Parsi

To celebrate Navroze, the Parsi New Year, we decided to team up with our successful and talented friend Freya Birdie. Freya loves globetrotting and has lived around the world in NYC, Rome, Brussels, Bombay and now San Francisco. True to her Parsi roots, Freya is always up for an adventure and maaja masti.

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Our very own Parsi girl, Freya

Parsis make the most of life with great spirit and good humor! Parsis take pride in preserving their traditions which is ever more important now with a waning population.  

Here are Freya’s 5 reasons why she’s a proud Parsi

1. Making Us Proud – Leaders in business and philanthropy  

Parsis have made significant contributions to India across business and industry. Parsi culture emphasizes service which is why Parsis have also prioritized building schools, hospitals, infrastructure, arts & culture. “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds” are the tenets of the Zoroastrian faith and Parsis strive to live these ideals.

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Business leader Ratan Tata

2. Our famous Parsi colloquialisms!

Parsis have helped unify cultures and lived up to their promise to sweeten India’s diaspora.Taare moneh saakar! Literally: Sweet in your mouth  Meaning: May it be done. Some other popular ones are:

Some other popular ones are:

Bhejoo na kha! Literally: Don’t eat my brain  Meaning: Stop bothering me

Doodh pau jhevo Literally: Milk bread like  Meaning: Effeminate and pale

Chanch maro  Literally: Touch with the beak  Meaning: Steal food

3. Our Parsi Gara embroidery is legendary

Parsi Gara embroidery is a unique blend of craftsmanship and design. It is a rich part of India’s diverse textile heritage. The Gara symbolizes style and timeless elegance.

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Parsi Gara Embroidery

4. No meat, no meal!


Chicken Farcha (Fried chicken appetizer) Dhansak (Lamb, mutton, goat, chicken or vegetables in a mixed lentil), Sali Murghi (Spicy chicken with fine fried matchstick potatoes) Saas ni Machhi (Yellow rice with pomfret fish fillets in white sauce) Prawn Patio (Shrimp in spicy tomato curry) Jardaloo Sali Boti (Boneless mutton in an onion and tomato sauce with apricots and fried matchstick potatoes) and Tamota ni Ras Chaval (mutton cutlets with white rice and tomato sauce), Patrani Macchi (fish coated in coconut chutney steamed in a banana leaf) are just a few of many dishes that are light on veggies and mouthwatering!

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Parsi Food Source: Photo courtesy of Sheriar Hirjikaka

5. We have an ear for all kinds of music

Do know what Freddie Mercury – lead singer of rock n roll band Queen, and Zubin Mehta – a legendary maestro have in common? They are both Parsi!!!

Now isn’t that cool. Talk about talent pool.

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Freddie Mercury And Zubin Mehta

Parsis have you covered with the best!

Above all, we always believe in living life to the fullest – majja in life! Navroze Mubarak to everyone!

     

 

   

 

    

   

 

 

 

 

 

How A Nursery Teacher Juggles Her Love For Fashion & Makeup

A teacher & makeup/fashion enthusiast

“When I received my outfit, I wanted to immediately wear it as it looked so amazing, but I had to wait a few weeks for my friend’s wedding to come up.The wait seemed so long” says Uzma Patel.

Uzma works with children aged 2-3 in a nursery by day and is a makeup and fashion enthusiast by night.

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She says, “I have been working in a nursery for five years and I love my job. It gives me the opportunity to watch little minds develop and grow into wonderful mini adults. I always knew I wanted to work with children because I love making children laugh. Their innocence touches my heart and I wish adults had the same simplicity that kids do!”

When asked about her love for fashion, Uzma says, “I love fashion and makeup. When I am not working I am mixing and matching outfits to create my own styles. Watching shows like ‘Sex in the City’ encouraged my love for fashion. I look up to late Princess Diana and Audrey Hepburn for their fashion sense. Their styles were eternal and classic. And it’s not just about how they dressed, I admire them for their empathy because that is how I want to be. Beauty fades but kindness is immortal.”

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Uzma also told us that she did her own makeup at her friend’s wedding. “I did my own makeup. I went for a rose gold smokey eye look to match my blue and pink outfit. I also wore a diamond set and my favorite Jimmy Choo shoes. Everyone said I looked like the Disney Princess, Elsa. It made my day. This is all thanks to India Boulevard. They made my dream outfit into a reality.”

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Fun fact : Uzma is on a DECHOX for the whole of March to help the British Heart Foundation fund its life-saving heart research. That means absolutely no chocolate bars, no chocolate cake, no choccy biscuits with my tea, not even any chocolate sprinkles on my cappuccino are allowed. Support her here.

Like Uzma’s outfit? Get it here.

The One Stop Shop Every Bride Needs To Bookmark – Crimson Bride X India Boulevard

Weddings.

A celebration of love. A special occasion requiring an abundance of planning, time, effort, and money. From the outfits and decorations to the music and venue. Each individual component matters and should reflect the couple’s unique story. It’s about you. Your personality, taste, culture, individuality, and love. With so much to consider and so many options, it can get pretty overwhelming.

Thankfully, we found a way to make the wedding planning process easier and more enjoyable– with The Crimson Bride.

The Crimson Bride is an online platform and discovery tool created to help brides design & plan their dream wedding in a simple, stress-free and exciting way! And you know, here at India Boulevard, we love stress free. Because whether it’s clothes or the venue, every bride has a vision for her special moment– and fortunately, The Crimson Bride can help it beautifully unfold.
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We got to talking with Founder and CEO, Simmi Singh when she decided to try out India Boulevard for a wedding she had to attend. She wanted a quality custom piece, quick and easy. Meanwhile, she told us her story. Simmi started The Crimson Bride after investing umpteen hours and tireless effort in planning her own wedding. There was no system or reliable source to find quality vendors. There was no transparency. That’s when she decided: something needed to be done. With a background in finance, she saw her future in The Crimson Bride.

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So what does The Crimson Bride really do? It’s an online platform that helps you discover & connect with the best wedding professionals – makeup artists, stylists, photographers, designers, jewelers, etc.  It consists of an online community that will help answer each and every one of your questions. You can even gain inspiration from their Real Wedding stories and stay up to date with beautiful Indian wedding trends on their Insta handle.

So sign-up now. Log-in to your custom dashboard to save your favorite photos, pin the coolest DIY wedding hacks, shortlist your favorite photographers. And…message, book, and pay your vendors, all through your portal.

The BEST part? You can do it all in one place.

(Second best part: You don’t need to lug around that massive wedding planning binder and stretch out your favorite tote)

So make sure to check out The Crimson Bride, and don’t forget to look at these gorgeous images featuring of Simmi Singh owning her India Boulevard piece.

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She wore this exclusive outfit from the Lily & Bloom Spring Collection – a rose pink embellished blouse paired with a tiffany blue floral print lehenga lined with a golden border. A perfect blend of serenity, grace & glam. Click on the images to see the full outfit and details.

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Like what you see? Check out the rest of our outfits from our floral collectionLilly&Bloom to find the perfect look or get your very own custom outfit made.

Why You Should Wear Greenery – Pantone Color of The Year 2017

Grass lawns filled with daisies after a rainy spring day, branches of leaves swaying in the wind, freshly cut cool cucumber slices, refreshing spinach smoothies on a hot summer afternoon…

What do all of these have in common? Greenery.

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The Pantone color of the year, Greenery, brings upon an aura of fresh, healthy beginnings & awareness of the flourishing nature that surrounds us. It not only signifies the importance of being friendly towards the environment but also the importance of letting faith & hope blossom in ones’ own life.

So, how can you style this shade to look absolutely radiant this year?

  • Add a little glitz (gold or silver sequins) on the border, dupatta, or in the form of a clutch or heels!
  • Go floral – pair a green top with a floral patterned skirt or vice versa. Floral themed accessories can also add the perfect touch of spring!
  • Keep it simple, yet trendy, by adding lace sleeves. Some stone earrings would be a lovely addition.
  • As for makeup: use a brown colored eyeliner for an earthy feel, pink shaded lipstick for a pop of color, and bronzer to glisten & glow under the rays of sunshine.   

That being said, let’s take a look at how Christina (blogger & marketing manager by night) wears a simply elegant green pre-draped saree gown with sheer sleeves by India Boulevard– aptly transforming the outdoors into her fashion runway.

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To follow Christina, you can visit her Instagram page, Classtige

Crushin’ on greenery? Well, go ahead, get Christina’s look.

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