Wednesday, June 22, 2011

0.2 cents (number 2) list

continuing my first 0.2 cents thread of advice to singers and everybody else on that similar road, I decided to go ahead and share with you a list of products that have changed my traveling life for the better.
Here are my personal secrets to keep my self well- travelled , well rested, looking presentable in my field, and generally survive 'the road'.

For technology:
*Macbook pro
I used to travel with a little PC that was acting up at the worst moments- when I was lonely, in a foreign country and in desperate need for communication.Then I added MAC to my collection and began traveling with both (just in case). Shortly after, I realized that my MAC is indeed superior , and usually I have no problem connecting it to a DSL or WiFi, it is stable, reliable, light , and beautiful.

*Airport express (to go with your MAC)
This gadget WORKS! When you find yourself in a place where there is only a DSL connection but no WiFi, you hook your Airport express and turn the place into a WiFi zone. If you have a guest and need to use more then one computer, this is simply a fantastic solution!

*(at least 1) Unlocked cell phone
Why "at least one"? because it is important to have 1 number where you can be reached at all times. For that I keep one SIM card on at all times (as my permanent number). However, I keep another phone which is (also) unlocked and in which I alway make sure I have a local SIM card, wherever I am in the world. This way, I don't roam, and my local friends can easily get a hold of me, without bothering to call abroad every time they feel like chatting. Two unlocked phones will back you up for any strange reason.
There are dual-sim phones out there, but I simply carry on me my unlocked iphone ( I block all incoming data so I can only use it over WiFi and it's free) and one unlocked Nokia for everything else, and am pretty happy with it.

*Skype (and Skype credit!)
Skype has changed my life. really. The ability to talk AND to see my friends and family on a daily basis and for free, is just a miracle! But what is even better , is Skype credit which you can purchase, and make calls from your computer to any phone in the world. It doesn't cost much, and it gives you the ability to have your own "landline" and not have to use your cell phone to place what would be an extremely expensive call otherwise.

*Electricity world converter+ extension
The World converter is great. It really does work worldwide (you just need to adjust to the right position). But what is the genius addition, is the extension cord I bring with it. That way- I don't need more then only 1 converter, and can plug all my American gadgets into the one extension instead and I also gain mobility!

For travel:

*4 wheel suitcases
I mentioned this before, and I will mention it again- buy thyself a 4 wheel suitcase and trash your 2 wheel one. You will understand what I am talking about once you experience this simple but great revolution!

*Airline lounge membership
Whether you have accumulated enough points on your preferred airline, and have managed to get into their "gold" or VIP club for free, or whether you have to invest some kind of money into acquiring that status in order to use the lounge at the airport- this might be worth it.
The idea of sitting with a bunch of businessman and getting free cocktails and food and WiFi before and in between flights, might not sound that appetizing right now, but once you experience it, in a life full of travel- it is hard to not desire it for the rest of your road.

For high performance:

* Sleeping pills
I am not one to preach for drug use. Sleeping pills are addictive and horrible. However, if you are an opera singer and you are about to sing a leading role and it is 4 AM and you still haven't slept a minute... and you have a matinee where you sing dance and act for 4 hours... and the show depends on you... you really do want to have some kind of a sleeping aid available to you.
You might carry melatonin, herbs, teas and/or your personal meditation CD, but when it is already 5 AM, and you are still hyper, trust, you'll thank me for taking that Ambien pill and getting your Z's in order.

You never know what noises you might be forced to endure doing the one night you have to get your Z's. (here are some of my encounters: drunk tourists coming back from the night club at 4AM yelling right outside my hotel door. A neighbor who loves her stilettos at all hours of the day (and night). An old def lady next door who forgets her TV on, letting it blast 24 hours a day).
Very bad acoustic isolation wherever you are is almost a given, and to make your life a little bit easier, I recommend that you travel with these, and lots of them. (the reason I say "lots" is because they tend to disappear to the same black hole single socks disappear into after laundry. It's a mystery that can only be soothed by quantity. :)

*5 hour energy bottle
To counter the sleeping pills, again- if your last resort is "drugs", go for this one. When coffee and sugar stopped working, and you simply don't feel up to the task of entertaining full-blast because you are way too tired- try one of these little devils. They work.

*Wellness formula
I use this whenever I start getting sick. I use the liquid form of this preventive all-natural potion, and it usually saves my health (and the sanity of the opera house where I am singing) :)

Girl talk:

*Victoria Secret "miraculous" push up bras
The world is marveling in the "boobilicious" presentation I manage to acquire on stage. But what they don't know is that in reality these girls are ...much more humble, let's say.. ;)
My Carmen is not complete without it! Highly recommended.

*Hair extensions (hairdo by Jessica Simpson)
For concerts, bad-hair days, wig-hair (when you take off the wig after a show and your own hair seems very shy ;) ) I use these extensions for added volume and length. They look natural and they clip in within 10 seconds. One of my favorite products.


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