Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thrift Stores

If you have been following my blog, you probably know two things about me:
1- that I am a shopaholic
2- that I am cheap

In the past, it was hard for me to combine those two. I like to buy things but I do not have the money to do so. I was always looking for some places where I could find really nice things at a bargain price. I thought I have found it at Ross (my favorite shop in the world). Still it was not enough. I thought that they was something I could do to find nice pieces for a cheap price. With this economy, I would have to come up with something If I want to be fashionable and save some dough.

So I did some research to find places where I could get things for a cheap price. Nothing very interesting came up. I was about to give up when I went down a Goodwill store to donate some old clothes of mine. I took a look inside the store and I found pretty interesting stuffs. After a while, I began to shop there.

I know, all the clothes are used, worn, pre-own. But it does not matter to me because of the following reasons:

1- I find pretty exotic items at the Goodwill store. Most of the clothes down there are so old( not old in the piece-they are well preserved- but old in the design), they have this vintage vibe to them. They are probably not from well known designers but who cares. As long as they fit me, I am ready to work it. And where in this world of mine, can I get a vietnamese tunic that is 100% cotton? Not a Khols or Ross.

2- They have long dresses. I have been looking for maxi dresses that have sleeves all over Houston without any success. I was about to give up but look at my surprise when I went down to the Goodwill store. They had all kinds of maxi dresses with sleeves. Ok, some of them were tacky but the rest: pure beauty. I have not found one that quite fit but I am getting there. On the plus side, I found this beauty: a structured long sleeves shirt dress in fushia. It is so 1980 but I do not care, I love the fit on me, and the color is to die for.




3- They have party dresses: I found this oh so lovely, yet glamorous dress once. It was beautiful and If I had a red carpet event (which will probably never happen) or getting hitched again (which will probably never happen either), I would wear it. The skirt was this explosion of tulle. And the waiste had a belt made of beads. It was so gorgeous. And cheap too ($10.00). My only problem with it was that if I bought it, it would probably end up hidden in my closet and this was such a jewel that deserved to be worn. So I put it back on the rack, hoping to find something nicer but less event dress next time.


4- They have designer shoes for less: Last week, I checked another Goodwill store and found these amazing Steve madden peep toe pumps for $7.99. They were gorgeous. The only problem I had with them, is that they do not fit me. But what the hell, I still bought them. I thought I could resell it on Ebay or give it to one of my cousins as a christmas gift.


I guess it was the thought that counted; because today I was rewarded with a find of beige loafers by Enzo Angiolini for $4.99.


5- This has nothing to do with fashion but they have books for less, children's clothes and toys for less ( I am a mother so it matters to me), furnitures. Anything you probably need or just want, they may have it. And there are so many people donating every day that you can find your jewel out there.

I have always been addicted to thrift stores, even when I was living in Japan. Hey, I got hook while living in Japan. I had discovered that people used to recycle items found in their neighbors' garbage. I took out from someone's garbabe a futon, some plates. At first, I thought it to be crazy but after a while I got used to the idea. After all, it was just recycling. Then I began to check out recycling shops (that is how they called them in Japan). I bought so many things from those places: clubbing outfits, a bicyle, a humidifier, plates, bags, toys, books, dresser, couch, mirror, treadmill, bed...For me, going to a recycling shop was like hunting for a treasure because I was always sure I would find something unique and for a cheap price. The only problem that I had for those recycling shops was that they would buy your stuff for almost nothing and resell it for a huge price. To me, it was just a big fraud . So imagine my frustration when I realised that the Goodwill was doing the same, except that it did not buy stuff to resell it, but it was receiving stuff for free.

My next move is to find a place where I could sell stuff ( I have so much) and gain some money. I looked everywhere without much success. That is why I opened a shop online called Sinniature by Assy (My loss, your treasure). With this failing economy, I cannot afford to be a shopaholic, even a cheap one. I need to make money. And I figure out the best way to do it: buy and sell stuff...

PS: I could do it on Ebay but I find it so complicated. Check my blog if you want to get something used but unique: sinniaturebyassy.blogspot.com

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall- Winter must have.


Winter Must Have by Sinnistre
Fall has finally arrived. The temperatures are dropping, but we can still enjoy the warm sun outside. The colors of the leaves are turning golden then brown. They are gradually falling all over, making gardening a hustle.
On one hand, I am not a big fan of Fall because it means that the cold season is beginning. And I hate being cold. I hate being cold because, I get cold in my limbs even when I have a cozy blanket on. (reason why my husband does not like to snuggle up with me at night-my feet are too cold to rub them on his). I hate being cold because I get sick. The air is so dry that I get congested and cannot breathe. But this is just me.
On the other hand, I love Fall (and Winter) because by covering up, I get to enjoy one of my favorite look: LAYERING. Fall and Winter are all about layering clothes. From the turtle neck to the coat, en passant by the sweater, it is all a bunch of clothes that you can match, mismatch and wear all in hundred of different styles. It is so much fun to get dressed during the cold season.
Here are my must have for the cold season:
- Turtle necks or long sleeve tees:
I prefer some made in cotton because they are breathable. I think the long sleeve thermal or turtle neck is the must have basic item. Buy them in basic colors such as black, white, navy, grey and you can build an entire wardrobe with them. You can wear a sheer dress on top of it or just a sweater. Besides the appeal of being low maintenance, and not so expensive, they can keep you cozy during cold days and nights. As a final note, I have to say that if you want to go bold, you can wear them in colors such as yellow like this woman underneath.

Photo borrowed from hijabstyle.blogspot.com

- Sweaters:
I love sweaters. I like going basic with the turtle necks. However I get wild with my sweaters. I like them in every color possible. I used to live in Japan where everything was grey during Winter. Therefore to cope with the weather, I used to wear colorful sweaters. I own some in pink, green, yellow, pale blue, bright yellow. Name the color, I probably have it. Moreover, I also have some in basic colors because you can never go wrong wearing a classic sweater particularly when you have to be formal at work. I like sweaters of all shapes. I wear the ones with a hood when I need to be casual, and the ones with buttons and belts when I need to go formal.

- Sweater vests: they are also perfect for the layered look. You can wear a dark or light vest over a long sleeves shirt and you look instantly polished. My must have for this season is a argyle sweater vest. They are so cute and feminine in light colors such as cream or pink.

- Sweater Dress: It is such as cute item for Fall. I like to go for the turtle neck and the ones that have puffy sleeves. You can also accessorize with a big belt to make the dress fit.


- Corduroy pants: I do not know why but corduroy (and velvet) pants scream winter to me. They are a bit casual but they can be very comfy and warm.


- Blazers or Jackets : in basic colors they may look sharp. This year is all about cropped jackets. They are very nice paired with a long sleeves shirts or blouses. I also like basic jackets in Suede.

Winter must have by Sinnistre

- Leggings: they can be tacky if you do not know how to wear them. I absolutely dis recommend to wear them as a substitute for pants because leggings can be see-through. And women of curves should stay away from leggings. They are not flattering on you unless you look like Angelina Jolie or a skeleton. So, please wear them with a knee-length sweater dress that is not too tight.

- Bright coats: If you want to make a statement this season, I guess a coat in a bright color should suit you. I am all for basics when it comes to coat but sometimes I like to mix it up a bit. That is why I think that a coat in orange or yellow will not be too bad especially if it is paired with earthy clothes to tone it down a bit.

- Boots: I love boots. They are so cozy. And they make you feel sexy. A boot in basic patent black is high class. I am not a big fan of the booties. I do not understand that shoes but if it is your kind of thing, why not. They can be very sexy paired with a sweater dress and leggings.

- Suede pumps or flats: in brown for classic, in other colors for funky ladies

- Knit hats and scarves: it is all about accessorizing and keeping yourself warm with the knit hat and scarf. I usually get mine from the Gap which makes some cute and fabulous one: remember the one SJP wore on Sex and the City during the New year scene. I am not sure it is from the GAP. However, two years ago they made sparkly knit hats for Winter in gold and silver. I wanted one so bad.


Winter must have 1 by Sinnistre

- A velvet red dress for Xmas or New Year's eve party: I always had a soft spot for velvet red dress. It looks so elegant. 4 years ago I met the perfect party dress at a store in Hachioji Japan. It was a floor length velvet red dress with a deep V in front, and a Chinese style belt. It was so gorgeous. I wanted it so bad but considering that the only partying I would be doing for the end of the year was inside my bed with my hubby, I just could not buy it at that time. I said to myself I will wait until I have a real party to get it. Tow weeks later, I still wanted the dress and decided to get it no matter what. Surprise Surprise, when I arrived to the store it was gone. They just had the black version left and it was not as marvellous as the red one. Too bad!!!!

These are my cold season must have items.

Yesterday, I went through my suitcases to take out all my winter clothes since it was getting colder. I found stuff that I still wanted but some of my sweaters seriously needed to be given to the Goodwill ( I had them for more than 5 years now). I recommend checking your closet for what you need before going out on a shopping spree. By doing this you can avoid buying some of the same items. Furthermore, by making a list of all you need this season, you will not be tempted to buy stuff by impulse (but lets be real, what woman does not buy clothes on impulse? As far as I am concerned I never stick to the list)

Happy Winter....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hijab


I am about to make the most important decision of my life: I am planning to wear the Hijab.

For those of you who do not know what is a Hijab, here is a simple explanation taken from Wikipedia: "The common meaning of Hijab currently is of "modest dress for women," which most Islamic legal systems define as covering everything except the face and hands in public." In other words, the Hijab would represent the kind of modest dress for Muslim Women such as a veil that will cover the head, hair, ears, neck, and upper torso but also loose fitting clothes that will not allow the body shape to be recognized.
A Muslim woman while dressing should be modest. She should not reveal her features to the world except for other women and male members of her close family ( husband, father, brothers). She is not suppose to unveil in front of every man that can become her husband and this include: uncles, cousins, friends and so on.
For years, I knew that as a Muslim woman I was expected to wear the Hijab. However, being into fashion myself, I found it hard to follow this recommendation. Wearing the Hijab would mean that I had to give up wearing short skirts or sexy tops. Moreover It would mean that I had given up on lively passions and would concentrate on becoming a very pious Muslim woman. The Hijab does not only represent a dress code, it is also a way of life. And I knew I was not ready to change my way of life anytime soon. I am sinner what can I say?
Lately, I started to think about wearing the Hijab. A series of things happened that triggered this thought. The wife of one of my husband's friend was wearing the Hijab. She does it very loosely but she was still covering herself better than I was. I asked her about it and she said that she started to wear it after her husband asked her to do so. It was a new way of life for her and sometimes she even resented wearing it. (She was pregnant and hot so I could understand her lack of patience towards covering). Nevertheless, the more I was with her, the more I started to think that wearing a Hijab or at least a scarf around my head was not so bad. I liked scarves anyway.
After that came Ramadan. During the Holy month it was a"hypocrite" habit of mine, to cover my head with a scarf whenever I would go out. This time I kept the tradition but even after Eid, I just could not stop. Whenever I would go out, I would wear a scarf to cover my head.
Soon enough, I became to notice women wearing Hijabs around me, at the grocery stores, at the mall, while driving. It seems like they were everywhere. It shook me the same way I was shook to see pregnant women popping everywhere when I became pregnant. I would look attentively at those Hijab wearing women, noticing their styles. Some like the Ethiopians just wear loose clothes like long sleeves shirts and floor length skirts and wrap a scarf around their heads. Some other like the Arabs I think, wear the Hijab with fancy fashionable clothes. And some other groups will cover themselves with a black cloak like in Iran.
And finally, my husband in his path of becoming the perfect Muslim, asked me if I was considering wearing the Hijab. I answered that I was but that I did not need pressure from him. It was a very important decision that would take on my own. And I knew it would be something that would not happen overnight so I needed him to be patient.
And here I am today, still thinking about it. I am scared of what wearing the Hijab will mean for me. It will mean that I am ready to let go of the existence of earthy pleasure and concentrate more on becoming spiritual. It would mean, no more mini skirts (like I was wearing some?), no more tights jeans, no more going to the hair stylist to have my hair done (actually, the last thing would be good coz I would not need to spend money on that), no more going out dancing ( I have not been going out dancing in 4 years anyway).
More than having to let go of my earthy pleasures, I am scared of what my family and close friends will react. In my family no one wears the Hijab. My father who is a Muslim and my Mother who is christian are set on me being decent, but they never said anything about wearing a Hijab. My Dad used to consider Hijab wearing women like people who think of themselves highly because they thought that by wearing the Hijab they were following the right path, and women who did not were on the wrong path. He thought that only wearing the Hijab did not guarantee a free pass to Heave. I do not know what he will say now if he saw me wearing a hijab. I know some of my friends would be shocked and Hijab wearing ones would be thrilled for me, but I know that overall they will support me in that decision.
Most importantly, I am afraid of what people at work will say. I have never reveal to them that I was Muslim-I thought that it was not relevant-. I do not know how they will react. Furthermore, I am scared of what job opportunities I will have if I decide to look for another job. Imagine the look on people's face when I showed up at interviews with a suit and a Hijab? I know they cannot refuse me employment based on that- it is illegal- but they can always say no to me pretexting my lack of skills or experience.
Finally I am scared that I will get into wearing Hijab and decide one day that I was tired of it. I am the type of person who needs constant change. I hate having to have the same hair style for more than a month; I grew bored of a topic for research after 3 months. I never seem to stick to something I start like running twice a week. So imagine how I must feel about it particularly when I know that it is not a light matter like a hair style but something that may decide my future after death.
With all these fears, I think that I want to wear the Hijab. I am just confused as the how and when. I am in the process of doing it: I am wearing a scarf everyday when I go out, I stopped wearing short skirts or open necked tops. I am purchasing scarves and long sleeves tees. And for the last two days, one of my favorite activity is to check this blog called hijabstyle in which a Hijab wearing woman from the UK is letting us know how to wear a hijab and be fashionable. She just opened my eyes into so much. I was so happy to discover her blog which is my new fashion magazine.
Over all, I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking about it. And someday (soon hopefully INCHALLAH), I will let you know that I became a Hijab wearing woman no matter what the obstacles and the fears. My best friend used to tell me that once you put your mind into doing something-that GOD approves of-, HE will make things easier for me to achieve them no matter the obstacles. And I believe her. So let the miracle happen.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shopaholic


(Picture from the soon to be released movie Confessions of a Shopaholic )
Last week, on my day off, I was watching the Tyra Banks Show. The topic of the day was Shopaholics. Tyra had three women as guests talked about what made them shopaholic. Most of them wanted to shop all the times, to buy nice things ( particularly clothes) for themselves. It made them feel better but scared at the same time. They were scared because they were spending so much money all the while hiding it to their husbands.
The show made me think about my relationship with shopping. I love to shop. What woman does not? When I was a kid, I was never given the opportunity to go shop by myself. My parents always bought things for me. And I could indulge myself only if I save enough of my allowance.
However, things changed when I went to college. I had this extravagant scholarship that was more than enough for college dorm, books, and living expanses. Therefore, it became a habit for me to spend some of that money buying myself stuff that I wanted and rarely needed. It was such a guilty pleasure to be able to blow away some cash with my best friend, specially after a long week of exams. We used to call shopping our stress reliever. It was such fun to go out window shopping, trying on outrageous outfits, and having a big burger at the end of an exhausted yet satisfying day with my best friend. As the college years went by, the habit of shopping did not fade. I would do it even by myself, just enjoying some alone time. I would not necessarily buy anything, but just window shopping made me feel good (or bad depending on the days).
When I got married, my guilty pleasure became an obsession. I was not copying very well to the living together part. And moving to a new city and into a new creme de la creme university became a huge stresser. Every day after school, I would spend hours walking by shopping hot spots, trying to find unique fashion items at a very affordable price. Buying new things make me feel better about myself. The fact that I had to hide it from my husband made me feel bad. But not as bad as to stop it. After a while, I kept piling clothes and shoes that I never wore. As a result, I would send cases of basically new clothes to my cousins back home who were more than happy to receive them. This made me feel good. It gave me another reason/excuse to shop. I told myself: even if I do not wear it, I could always give it away.
I know I am a shopaholic because even now with this crazy recession, I cannot wait to get a day off to hit discount stores and other favorite places. I still have bags of clothes that I never wear. And only last week, I donated 2 bags full of clothes to a donation center (and after that I shopped in the donation center. Thank GOD my husband indulged me this time). My husband was criticizing me for buying things that I ended up giving away with this bad economy. I felt bad but he was right.
Nevertheless, I know the difference between those women featured in the Tyra Banks show and me. At least I do not blow 500 to 2000 dollars a day on a shopping spree. No sir! I limit my craziness to less than a 50 dollars a week.
Look what I just did: I am trying to make myself feeling less guilty by thinking that if it is just 50 dollars a week, it must be OK. The eternal Shopaholic excuse.
I need help. But before I do get one, I need to go shopping again....

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