Hi All – How is your holiday season? I’m a little behind on my list of ‘things to do’, but I thoroughly enjoy the craziness and warmth this time of the year.
Today, I’m so excited to introduce one of BollyInstyle’s favorite designers, Meenoo from Minou Bazaar! She creates handmade Indian-inspired jewelry using vintage and contemporary elements. She writes about growing up in the eastern culture during the holiday season. Her upbringing resonates in her beautifully crafted jewelry. Be sure to check out Meenoo’s etsy choices that show a blend of both cultures.
Of all the holidays I celebrate, the Christmas season is the one that’s the most emotionally mixed for me. Maybe some of you can relate?
I did not grow up with nostalgic holiday traditions. We did not have a Christmas tree until I was in college. I came home for winter break my freshman year and there was a fake Christmas tree in the living room. A short one, with lights and ornaments. My littlest sister was the American-born daughter, and by that time my parents had also assimilated to American mainstream culture inch by inch. My father was against the tree but he was won over when my mom tied a statue of Radha and Krishna as a tree topper. Tentatively we exchanged small presents on Dec 25.
When my family moved and bought a new house, they inherited a large Christmas tree from the previous owners of their house. The house was a large colonial with beautiful hardwood floors covered with carpet. My family put the tree in the living room so it looked out onto the street. It proclaimed: we are fine with having a tree.
Each year I would go home for winter break to a house transformed with holiday cheer. There was a large glorious tree trimmed with ornaments, tinsel, and Radha/Krishna on the top, as always. Soon a wreath materialized on the door, with red ribbons. An evergreen swag appeared on the banister, and electric candles in the front-facing windows. On Christmas Eve we would turn on the Yule log on TV, or the holiday music radio. Shopping for gifts became an event—always centered in the mall—where we would get dropped off and picked up. On Christmas day we would get up, run downstairs, and open gifts, just like the movies. But we would open each gift at a time so everyone would see and had an opportunity to admire. This was no simultaneous ripping and trashing of paper. The gift-giving ceremony took an hour at least. There were so many gifts! Our lack of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in the US was never felt as keenly as those days.
Our main event of the day was cooking an elaborate Christmas feast. Because we didn’t have a prescribed menu, we felt free to experiment. Each year the theme changed. One year we made South Indian fish with coconut rice. Another year we made food inspired by the Silk Road. Our feasts were never boring!
After I married a non-practicing Jew, we came up with our own holiday traditions. Year after year we lean towards the natural aspects of the season, splashed with hot pink and turquoise vintage ornaments from my all-too desi predilection for bright saturated colors. Imagine pinecones dunked in glitter, red berries, and little red birds to mimic the cardinals that we feed at our bird feeder. Imagine sparkling paisleys, elaborate henna designs, and jewel colors to make your home bright.
Here are some items from Etsy that capture the mix of Indian and American celebrating the holidays. I hope you enjoy it!
source: Minou Bazaar
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It’s always nice to come across affordable jewelry that works well for both the everyday and the not so everyday. It streamlines things, especially when you are very much a busy bee! Pieces that you can wear that go with pretty much anything, that can be worn alone or with additional accessories to switch up a look. Something that you can slip on and feel great about how it and you look.
That’s just what I found when I discovered Pearl Amour Jewels on Etsy: ‘elegant everyday jewelry.’ Pearl Amour Jewels was started by an awesome full-time Mom in Toronto that specializes in handmade jewelry.
My favorites in the shop are the ‘Sari’ bracelets. With strips of lovely chiffon woven with light-catching rhinestones, the ‘Sari’ bracelets seem like a perfect way to add a touch of easygoing glamour to your jewelry collection. This Green Tea Sari Bracelet is such a soothing color and would be an unexpected pop to a simple outfit of jeans & a t-shirt, while also working well with dressier outfits. The ‘Sari’ bracelets have a bit of a vintage feel to them which I always like.
You can check out the Pearl Amour Jewels shop on Etsy here—the pieces make great gifts too!
source: Pearl Amour Jewels
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It seems like pieces with an classic and bohemian feel have always been popular choices for the home and wardrobe. I enjoy combining them with other elements to create an environment & personal style that is comfortable and chic. Unfortunately, it can be easy for companies and designers to take advantage of artists in other countries—especially when those artists are in need of income. It can be difficult at times to know how the designs you purchase were created, but I think it is important to try to do so.
Accessories and clothing line Kahani offers lovely, high quality shawls, scarves, bags, and jewelry. It also operates in a transparent way to encourage greater connection between customers and creators. Born as the result of the founder’s continued inspiration during and after several trips to various rural areas of India; Kahani’s pieces are handcrafted and extremely covetable. I’m currently eyeing this Zara Scarf and these delicate silver hoop earrings.
One of my favorite things about Kahani is the “Meet the Artisans” section on their website. Not only can you see who is creating elements of Kahani items; it is also incredibly interesting to read a bit about the techniques and traditions behind block printing, handloom weaving, and bandhani. Plus–the photos from the Kahani team’s various adventures are stunning and may give you a bit of the travel itch.
Explore more Kahani pieces on their website here, and give them a like on Facebook too!
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I’ve posted some fantastic finds lately… but ideas for things I could get the babies continue to swirl around my mind. Moms out there, you know what I’m talking about. Well, a little bird let me know about the earth friendly line of baby products Saffron Hue, and now I get to share it with you. (Plus, extra points for a little bit of rhyming?)
Even if you’re not currently shopping for lil’ baby gifts, take a peek—the sweet photos will definitely put a smile on your face.
Saffron Hue’s bibs, swaddles, snuggle bags, quilts, and blankets are a wonderful option in the world of green baby products. Possibly irritating dyes and synthetic materials? You won’t find any in the Saffron Hue line. The items are all 100% cotton, and the adorable and energetic designs are printed with Azo free dyes. Since the designs are created through time-honored Indian block printing, you get uniqueness and quality.
Now that you’ve gotten the important details about the safe and natural aspects of Saffron Hue’s products, can we talk about how adorable they are? The snuggle bags are cute and cozy, and the swaddle sets look so very comforting for little ones. The blankets/quilts look oh so soft! All the designs are quite stylish too—ones you’ll want to show off.
source: Saffron Hue
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Oh yes, what a wondrous thing, the internet— connecting people from around the world, making an immense amount of information available, helping streamline the ways we do almost everything. (And of course, providing a plethora of cute kitten videos for when you’re feeling a bit like procrastinating.) Given all of that, I think one of the coolest things about the internet is the opportunity it provides new businesses to reach new people.
So here is my point: a new and wonderful business, Baby Baazaar. Launched recently by NYC mom Supriya Himatsingka, Baby Baazaar sells eco-friendly toys, books, and blankets for kids. All the products are created in an environmentally friendly manner. Highlighting the importance of quality handmade design, Himatsingka has created a place for parents to purchase hard-to-find ‘green’ items for their kids.
The blankets are printed with Azo-free dyes, the toys are organic and ASTM approved, the books aren’t even available in US stores yet! All of the items are made in the East through traditional artisan means. The blankets (I love this peacock quilt) are designed by Himatsingka in New York, then handmade in Jaipur. The whimsical stuffed toys like the this monkey family are handmade in Sri Lanka (by the same women that hand weave the cotton that creates the creatures). These details would be a fun note to add if you’re gifting anything from Baby Baazaar, or to tell your kids when they’re older and interested in such things.
Definitely give Baby Baazaar a visit when you get a chance!
source: Baby Baazaar
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