15 November, 2011

Knock-off Shopping, Oh My!

So many purses!
I recently had the experience of a lifetime!  I was surrounded by Tiffany & Co. jewelry, Pandora bracelets, Louis Vuitton hand bags, Jimmy Choo purses, Hermes scarves, Mont Blanc pens, and Juicy Couture sweatsuits, just to name a few!  And it was all within my pocketbook's reach.  Throughout my life, I've been given a knock-off purse here and there, but never really understood the "allure" of owning the name brand.  Now that I live in a place where name brands are the in thing, I've learned a little bit about the "must-haves" in fashion.

What a section of Karama looks like
Women here may dress in head to toe black abayas and shaylas, but they are dressed to the T underneath...including the designer handbag!  They've got them all, and even matching the trim on their abayas!  Every day at work, I'm joined by Hermes, Louis, Jimmy, Chanel and Prada.  They are so nice, so pretty, and SO out of my league!  Well, I thought they were!  I too could have them, at a fraction of the cost.

My new Louis baby
I was recently privileged to learn some key information...I could LOOK like I belonged here, and on a smaller budget.  There is a place in Dubai, an area really, called Karama.  Karama is a long street with tiny, jam packed shops...ALL knock-offs.  You want your Ed Hardey?  It's there.  Your Coach purse?  Yep, got it.  Your Tag Heuer or Rolex?  Done!  It was amazing.  We arrived at 11:30 am, just when shops were beginning to open.  It was like a candy stores waiting for me and I wanted to taste them all!  We shopped, and shopped, and shopped...all the way to 6pm!  And kids in tow!  Skull Candy, Diesel, Apple Bottom...it was endless, and all REALLY good quality!

If I didn't know any better I'd have thought everything was real.  However, before going, I did some research.  I wanted to know what to look for.  How many stitches on the tab?  Where would the real silver stamp be?  What is it traditionally lined with?  Does the real one even come in that color?  I was prepared for the mission.  I ended up with a loot...hello Christmas presents!  There's even a whole other aspect to this place that I can't get into detail about on here, but message me if you're coming and I'd be happy to share that information with you...you won't regret it!

Christmas gifts going home!
Have fun if you make it, and be prepared to shop 'till you drop!

02 November, 2011

Pumpkin Heaven!

The season of Fall is officially upon us.  The leaves have changed, some have fallen, and piles are being raked.  Wind is blowing, snow might be falling rain in pouring.  The ACs have turned off and the heaters are starting to crank.  Familiar scents of candles are burning in homes, reminding you of holidays in your past.  Halloween costumes have just been tucked away into the black and orange storage boxes, and soon the green and red boxes will come out once again.
Tasty lasagna from Robert Irvine.

Oh WAIT!  That's Fall back home in the States!  This was just me missing the holiday spirit back home, wishing some of it would make it's way here.  But if I squint my eyes and keep picturing it, I get just a hint of everything I mentioned above.  I can pretend the leaves here are changing, the weather has come out of the 100s at night to the 70s, I have my Scentsy burner and my oils diffusing, and we have sand filled winds.  ALMOST like home.

Make these AMAZING muffins from the Pioneer Woman!

But really, it's the small things that make the holidays now.  Not the 9ft Martha Stewart tree.  Not the pumpkin patches chalk full of perfect carving pumpkins. Not the Thanksgiving table set with my special china.  It's now about finding the bits and pieces and putting them together to create the feeling of the season.  That's what's most important, right? 

To DIE for pumpkin pie from Bobby Flay

What have I found to bring a smile to my face as we start November?  The smallest thing really...canned pumpkin!  Not Libby's pre-made pie filling either, just canned pumpkin.  I was so excited I started baking away from my favorite recipes!  Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin lasagna...that's just the beginning!  The house smells wonderful, neighbors are happy, and my attempt at grasping onto the holidays is within reach.  I'm so excited to come up with more pumpkin baking ideas as we near Thanksgiving.  We went to three stores trying to find more pumpkin, and it took the fourth store to find it.  My husband bought me ten cans to get me through the holiday season!

So, here are my questions...what one thing sets the holiday mood for you, and what pumpkin recipes do you love most (I have 10 cans waiting!)?