DIY Anti-Theft Purse

I explained our whole Paris pick-pocketing dilemma in my last post.  And as we head back to Paris this week, I am determined to have a pick-pocket-free trip so I wanted an anti-theft purse.

Now, I could have gone the easy way and bought an expensive anti-theft bag that are made by the professionals.  They have zippers that lock and attach to the purse so they can’t be easily opened.  They have a slash proof shoulder strap and mesh wiring to prevent pickpockets from cutting the bag open.

Okay, call me cheap.  I decided to go with a DIY Anti-Theft purse.  Or maybe call me creative?!

What I was looking for:

- something light

- an inside zipper compartment

- a solid, across-the-body shoulder strap that could not easily be cut

What I was avoiding:

- an open-pocket purse with no zipper to close the main compartment

- pockets in the front of the purse:  those pockets can easily be stolen from because they are away from your body and can easily be opened

- shoulder strap with easy to unlock hooks or with a belt adjuster on it that can easily be opened and then snatched

What I bought:

DIY Anti-Theft Purse

How I modified it to Make it an Anti-Theft Purse:

DIY Anti-Theft Purse

Wristlet used as a wallet and attached to zipper of inside pocket of purse.

I bought a wristlet to use as a wallet.  I can attach the wristlet to the zipper inside the purse, that way, if the pickpockets manage to get my zipper open or slash my purse, they can’t grab the wristlet because it will be attached inside.

There is a zippered inside pocket that will hold my passport on those few times that I will need to carry it.  I will also keep my camera in there as they will have to get through two zippers before they can grab it.

There is also a zipper compartment on the back of the purse.  Because this compartment is against my body, it is more difficult to get into so it can be used as an alternative place to store extra cash, etc.

Carabiner Lock on DIY Anti-Theft Purse

Now for the main zipper, I am taking a carabiner clip and will attach the zipper pull to the strap so the pickpockets cannot easily unzip the main compartment of my purse.

Am I over analyzing a bit?  Perhaps.

As for the person who actually got pick pocketed on the last trip…well, he bought a money clip/card holder that is apparently safer than a wallet.  And I’m sure he will not be keeping it in his back pocket this time.  I suggested getting a wallet with a chain on it to attach to his pants, but he’s refusing the chain idea because he’s Chilango (someone from Mexico City) and should know better of how to safely move about in a big city.  Just goes to show that this can happen to anyone.

And on that note, if you liked the pickpocket video in my last post, check out this one!

Pickpocketing in Paris

On our first trip to Paris, this was my travel purse:

On our first trip to Paris, this was Armando’s travel wallet:

Yes, a picture is missing of Armando’s wallet because it was pick-pocketed by a gang of gypsies.  I was standing right next to him as we rode the train.  I didn’t notice a thing.  In hindsight, Armando noticed a slew of people get on the train at once, as we all squished together and then the crowd left on the next stop as a young gypsy girl stood outside of the car looking in.  Armando noticed her, wondering what she was doing.  Was she getting on or off?  What was she waiting for?  She suddenly flung a wallet into the train, just as the doors were closing.  The woman next to us exclaimed that it was hers, as she looked in her purse and realized her wallet had been snatched.  In that moment Armando checked his back pocket and realized that his wallet was gone.  I didn’t see the cocky gypsy that had thrown the woman’s wallet back at her but Armando did and the story of a gypsy girl who pick-pocketed Armando’s wallet has morphed into his current version of a gang of gypsies “attacking” him for his money.

My purse was safe.  Our passports were safe.  But we made stupid mistakes.  We travel enough so we should have known better.  But we got too comfortable.  We had just returned from Nice, France where, for some reason, I had Armando carry my credit card and ID in his wallet one day while we were there.  On the flight back to Paris, I thought that I better get my cards back from him but decided to get them once we got to our hotel in Paris.  Well, between the airport and our hotel, his wallet was stolen.  So all his credit cards, my sole credit card, and all of our ID (except for our passports, thank Gawd!) were stolen.  And we normally separate and store our money in different places like good travellers do, but for some reason, all our money was in his wallet that day.  We sure made some gypsy family happy!

What a lesson learned.

So, as we head back to Paris this week, I am determined to win this time.  Next post, I will show you my DIY Anti-Theft Purse but in the meantime, check out this video and see how even watches can get swiped!

Rocking my Friday with iMovie

I think I am officially a geek.  As my husband went out to a party Friday night, I decided to stay at home and self-teach myself the iMovie program that I had never even clicked on to have a look at before that night.

I was going to be Steven Speilburg for the night and create a movie.  Armando pointed out to me that Steven is a director and that I actually wasn’t going to be doing what Steven does.  Okay, so I wanted to be that unknown person who puts all the movie clips together to make the finished product.  Geez…details.

The first problem…I haven’t really taken any video footage.  But, as I scanned my SD cards for random clips that Armando has taken on our trips, I managed to find enough to use to figure out the basics of this whole iMovie thing.

iMovie is not the easiest of programs to learn but I am quite proud of myself for actually coming up with a 1 minute and 35 second “movie” at the end of it all.  Thought I’d share it with you all…

I love iMovies!  Stay tuned…there may be more videos from me in the future. :)

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TOMS Shoes = My New Travel Shoes

TOMS Shoes

I was in search of a versatile shoe.  A comfy, walking shoe that didn’t look too sporty.  Something that could be worn with pants or a skirt.  A great travel shoe that didn’t look beachy but could be worn on warm days.  A shoe that you could walk down cobblestone streets with during the day but then wear them out for dinner to a nice restaurant at night.  A shoe that would not torture my feet as I wander and explore as I so love to do.

That’s not asking too much, is it?  Well, with a little compromise, I found some.   Comfortable from day one.  I love them.  I just bought a second pair.  And every time I buy a pair, the company will make a second pair for a needy child in this world.  Cool, eh?!

They’re called TOMS shoes.  They are simple.  Real simple.  They are not going to last you for years though.  My first pair has already taken a beating in a short time.  But they fit the criteria that I was looking for and I’m actually contributing to a good cause while shoe shopping!  How can one go wrong with that?!

TOMS Shoes – great travel shoes and you get a shoe bag too! No more wrapping my shoes in plastic bags for the suitcase! My shoes are travelling in style!

TOMS Shoes are not necessarily the prettiest of shoes but who ever said UGGS were pretty?  Comfort is key.

Talking in Circles, Mexican-Style

Beschreibung: Post Telefon Fe TAp 615 Quelle: ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay…it’s time for a more light-hearted post after my stint as an investigative couch reporter these past few days. This post is courtesy of my ever lovely husband, Armando.  He’s one of those people who has the gift-of-the-gab.  But at times, he doesn’t know when to stop talking.  It is perhaps a bit cultural.  I recently learned the Mexican phrase “¡estás cantinfleando!“, which means talking in circles but never really saying anything.

Perfect example was when we were planning our wedding in Mexico.  Armando took on the role of translator between myself and our Spanish-speaking wedding coordinator.  One day, he called to ask her a question that I had.  After talking for several minutes with her on the phone, I was sure that he was getting all the explicit details so he could reiterate the answer I was waiting for.  When he hung up I asked what she said and he replied, “She doesn’t know the answer yet.”  What?!  But they had been talking for several minutes, there must have been some useful information exchanged.  But no, there wasn’t.  The time spent on the phone was just the process of her talking around in circles, saying in every which way possible the same thing, that she didn’t have the answer yet.

Armando does this without even knowing.  It can be cute at times and at other times, I’ve just had to shake my head.  Last week, he was travelling out of town so we were talking on the phone one night.  He talked for probably 15 minutes without taking a breath to see if I had anything to add to the conversation or if I was still even on the phone.  When I pointed this out to him, he laughed, saying that there may have been a time or two where a call was dropped while he was talking and he didn’t even realize it.

Case in point…he has been patiently waiting for a document to arrive in the mail.  This week he called the department in charge to check the status of the parcel.  On hold for a long time, he had the speaker phone on.  When someone finally came on the line, he grabbed the receiver and started to talk and talk, explaining his situation.  Once he said everything he had to say, he waited for a response but none came.

“Hello?”  I heard him say.  “Hello?  Hello?”  Then I heard a loud growl from him followed by a few choice words in Spanish.

He forgot he had put the phone on mute.  And because he gave a lengthy explanation for his call without taking a breath for the other person to respond, which would have given him a chance to realize that they couldn’t hear him, the person had hung up on him.

I couldn’t help but laugh!  I think a bit cultural but maybe a bit of Armando thrown in there too.  His chattiness is one of the things that I love about him though. :)