Monday, November 17, 2008

Travel Necessities

I like to travel. Ever since I was 6 years old, I enjoyed hopping on a plane or riding the bus to go discover new places. I did my share of travelling since the 1980s. I have been everywhere from Europe (Italy, Switzerland...) to Asia (Japan, South Korea) en passant by Australia.
All these travelling have taught me something crucial: I need a lot of stuff when I do travel.
So here are my must haves on a trip (by plane or car).

1- An oversized bag:
It could be a shoulder bag or just a small trolley, it does not matter. But it needs to be big, huge to contain all the stuff that I will be taking with me. I prefer a bag that is light because it will not put a strain on my shoulders or back. Nowadays, there are many oversized and fashionable bags. You just have to choose what you like. Personally, I prefer oversized Boston bags. They are so cute. But a big patent bag is nice as well,particularly in a popping color like red (I am dreaming of one right now)

I absolutely love this one by Hayden Panettiere but I just need it to be bigger!

2-a Jacket or Coat:
It does not matter whether you are going to Hawaii or Canada, if you are like me you will always need a jacket or coat on a plane or bus. It gets really cold on planes-GOD knows why and the little blanket they give you is never enough. Therefore, you can always wrap yourself in your coat when you sleep. Plus the coat or jacket (made in a fabric that does not wrinkle) will make you look presentable and polish- and very hot if it is in leather- after 5 to 8 hours of flight.
3- A long scarf or shoulder wrap
This is optional and it does serve the same purpose as the jacket or coat
I know that it is difficult to travel with toiletries such as perfume, toothpaste and hand cream nowadays due to the customs restrictions (thank you very much Al Qaeda). However, I always need them because it so dry on a plane that my skin always cracks. So get them in a 8 oz bottle to go and put them in a Ziploc bag or a travel size case that is see-through. You need a hand cream, a lip balm, tooth brush and paste, a nail file, some make up and deodorant.
5- Medicine
I have a sinus problem. I get really congested on a plane so I pack all my medicine with me and use it whenever I get an attack. I also like to pack extra tissue papers in case my nose starts acting up and a Tylenol for head aches.
6-Comfy shoes
Ballet flats are always very fashionable and comfy on a plane. I hate people who travel with hoochie shoes or high heels. (or with inappropriate clothing for that matter but this is another topic)
7-Extra change of clothes
If you are the target of the travel companies like I am and never receives your luggage at arrival, then you need to pack an extra set of clothing that you can wear upon arrival. And this does include underwear.
8- Entertainment: I Pod or huge book
I know that entertainment has come a long way since I first travel on a plane some 22years ago. Nevertheless I still need a huge book to keep my mind off things at the airport or even on the plane. There is nothing like reading a Nora Roberts or Patricia Cornwell book on a plane. Some other people just use their I pod or other portable device. But me I stick to the book.
9-Extra stuff
- tampons just in case the altitude starts messing with your cycle
- another book, magazine or game to entertain yourself in case of long delays
- food in sealed packages such as crackers, chocolates, nutrition bars
- cushions- I see people travel with huge cushions. That is not my style but I am sure it very useful in long flights
- camera just to snap at fun things around
- all your jewelry that you plan on wearing where you are going: my mother in law does not believe in putting your valuable jewelry inside your suitcase. And after staying 5 days without receiving my suitcase while on a trip back home, I started to understand why. So now I always travel with my jewelry in my carry-on. (Shut! do not tell)
10- And last but definitely not least: passport and boarding pass

travel necessities by Sinni

Enjoy your flight!

Thank GOD for the Chinese

Louis Vuitton knock offs- Sources:

If you are poor like me and love to be fashionable, there is one little secret for you: Knock offs.

There are many things that are being knocked off; from designer dresses to bags, and let us not forget shoes. If you are smart, you can find pretty much everything from big names in the fashion industry at a nice price. Just shop at Forever 21 or check the "black markets" in Asia. Women who cannot afford a $3000 Prada or Fendi bag will get it for even cheaper than $100 in markets in China and South Korea (plus you get to discuss the price; I am sure no one will let you do that at Prada). And if you live in Houston, Texas like I do, you can just hop on to Harwin Street and find the designer -knock off- bag that you are dreaming about for a very affordable price.

And to what do we owe such a pleasure? The Chinese people of course! Those people were smart enough to realise that everybody deserved a Louis Vuitton bag. So what they did was to steal the design and reproduce it one hundred times to sell it for a cheaper price. Of course all of it is very illegal. But who cares?

People from Louis Vuitton and other designers do care. In this economy, they see their sales declining. And they are loosing millions to the black market.

As far as I am concerned, I have mixed feelings. I do hate knock offs for the following reasons:
1- they do look cheap and are not well made
2- they are highly illegal and you could get busted for owning one (particularly at the airports when you travel)
3- it is not fair to the designer
Nevertheless, I still encourage people to buy them. I own a knock off Bottega Veneta weaved bag that I bought several years ago in a discount store. When I was buying it I did not know that it was a Bottega Veneta knock off. I just bought it before travelling back home; it looked great and the bag was big enough to keep all the stuff that I need to travel -and believe me I do need a lot-. I do not follow trends, I buy what I like. And I did-still do- like the bag. When I have it with me, people give me compliments. Just today a cashier at Ross told me that it was lovely. After owning it for 3 years, I came across the picture of the real deal in a fashion magazine. Even in the pics, the bag looked very well made and rich. I know that if you compare it with mine, you could see the difference. But seriously I do not care because I cannot afford the real deal.

The real deal: Bottega Veneta hobo bag $3000 at or just $1000 at

My Bottega Venetta hobo knock off bought for just 2000 yen ($20) at a discount store in Japan three years ago. Can you see the difference?

Even if I was making millions, I do not see myself "invest" in a 3000 dollars bag. It is too crazy. Imagine what I could do with the same amount of money. I could feed a village for a month (and get good deeds in return), I could treat my Mother for a shopping spree. I could pay my brother stipend for more than 3 months.
Overall, I am happy that the Chinese had the common sense to make knock offs so that poor fashionistas like me do not feel left out.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hijab- Update

I thought I would write a little update concerning my article "Hijab".
I am still in the process of wearing one. But in my moments of doubt, I talked to one of my friends who was wearing the Hijab. She gave me some great advice I would like to share with you.
1- Take one step at the time:
I am a very impatient person. When I want something, I want it right now. I wanted to be able to wear the Hijab right now. So I was on the quest to make my closet hijab friendly. I spent so much money buying scarves, long sleeves tee, dresses that would complete my transformation. However, my friend told me to go slowly. She said that it was good for me to do some research about the importance of hijab, but also to learn about how to wear it before engaging in some shopping spree.
2-Al Amirah Hijab:
My friend said that for starters I just needed two hijabs: one in black and one in white; and preferably Al Amirah Hijab which is a two piece hijab ( a cap and scarf)that is very easy to wear.

3- Shops at Mosque or Muslim Friendly shops
When I told my friend that I did not have a place to shop for hijabs back in Houston, she advice me to check the local mosques or Muslim Shops. As a matter of fact, there is a Muslim shop next to my place that I go to to get Muslim goods. It iscalled Jerusalem Halal Meats. I went there today and got myself two Amirah Hijabs. I also got the time to look at their collection of hijabs and it was very extensive yet affordable.

So far, wearing a scarf around my head has not been a problem. I see myself doing it spontaneously. And now, it even bothers me to go out without a proper head scarf. I know I am not enterily covered like I am supposed to be, but I am getting there. And I think, it is what matters.

Ps: Jerusalem Halal Meat
3330 Hillcroft St # I, Houston, TX‎ -
(713) 784-2525 ‎


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