Travelling with a baby/toddler!

By Mini Latif 29 Jun 2017 2:44:19 PM
Travelling with a baby
I must had Googled a hundred times “how to travel with a 16 month old?” - “what you can pack when flying with a baby?” - “how much milk or liquids can you bring when flying with a baby?" etc etc. The amount of conflicting information that l found was so disheartening and what l was left with was going on my first international trip with my baby with 5 suitcases and no knowledge what so ever.
It was hideous l tell you, just hideous. 
What l can tell you now is that l have all the answers to those questions about getting through security with a baby, because l can assure you l asked every security guard both here and in Fiji the same questions and the answers were all the same. So ladies and gents, if you are lucky enough to be prepping for a trip that requires a plane and a little bubba under the age of 3 - here is all you need to know!
PS: once you know the rules, travelling with a kid under 3 means VIP service BABY! I am going to miss it when she turns 4!
Read on, you’ll see why! 
Skylar Sarkissian
Question: How much liquids can l take on the plane when travelling with a baby or toddler?
The simple rule is ‘UNLIMITED’ as long as your kid is under 3. The security guard said to me, that if you do get any push back from someone about your water supply, you just tell them that they water is ‘distilled’ for your baby. As you know you cannot make formula in advance, so l needed to bring my perfectly tempered water to mix with my formula on the plane. l would have to say this was the biggest stress leading up to this trip as l would have died if l was forced to lose my thermal water bottle.
When leaving Fiji at their airport l purchased a bottle of none other than Fiji Water and the guy at the counter said to me to make sure l drink it whilst we were at the gate as there’s another round of security before getting on the plane. However, l knew that now l had found this miracle travel partner, my ‘baby’, that l could bring the water on board with me for her ‘formula’. And l did and when they went to check my bags just before walking on the plane, l said l had water for my baby and they didnt even bother opening my bag.
Question: Can l bring homemade food for my baby or toddler on the plane?
YES you can! No special sealed packaging is required as long as it is for your kid under 3! Bring on home cooking!
Question: How do l get through airport security with a Baby or Toddler?
Now this is when the Gods started to smile when we got to the airport. As soon as we hit that silver sliding door at Tullamarine airport to get through to security, the guard looked at my little baby and said “Y’all can go left”, whilst everyone else was going right. This is when l discovered the VIP line for familias! I could not believe it. You all know what it’s like going through security when the guy in front of you has a back pack and bumbag and they ever so slowly empty the contents of their bags and pockets and locate their laptops and you are thinking “for the love of God, could you not speed this up, l have a plane to catch?”. Now imagine that guy is 2 parents and a baby with a pram, 3 over head luggages that are filled with liquids and food. Mate l was already feeling sorry for the poor people that would be waiting impatiently behind us. But this never happened. We had our own guard, our own security line and an endless amount of owwwing and ahhhing from the staff at my cute kid. I thought, this was too good to be true, wait till we get to the Immigration line!
Question: How do l get through Immigration at the airport with a Baby or Toddler?
You guessed it - we got our own Family Line!!!!!!!! After 20 odd years of international travel on my own, l never knew this VIP service existed when traveling with babies. Guess what - it gets better. 
So now we are at the gate early and l am trying to tire my 16 month old out, so she passes out on the plane. And as soon as the airline staff arrived at the gate, they came up to me and let us in front of the queue so we would be the first on the plane. No queues here either!
Skylar Sarkissian
So a couple of tools of the trade when flying:
Try the Mountain Buggy Bag rider - it does not hold much inside as only one side is available for storage, but boy oh boy will your kid love riding on this thing in the airport. Also, it will immediately make you one of the cool kids, as you will hear a hundred “OMG look at this kids ride!!”
If travelling with a second adult, try booking the aisle and window seat and pray that no one books your middle seat. We were lucky on both legs that the middle seat didn't get taken and it was a god send. 
If you airlines has it, try upgrading to economy X or +. For an extra $59 we got the additional leg room with Virgin Airlines and this allowed our kid to play around our feet for a couple of hours. In fact on the way home, we had the wall in front of us and l made up a bed for her. These things all add up to a manageable international travel experience.   
Happy travels peeps. Let me know how you go!
Mini - BabyTravelWhisperer

4 Boxes to tick by 40

By Mini Latif 6 Jun 2017 2:43:12 PM

So today l'm in Fiji on vacation and l turn 40.

As l do on all birthdays, but particularly on new decade birthdays, l like to do a stocktake on my life. 
You know, ensure l have ticked enough boxes to be what we are all in pursuit for… Happiness. 

Mini Sarkissian
On my 10th, l was super duper happy to be entering double digits age and hoped to God that people would stop treating me like a kid!
On my 20th, l was tres excited that l officially left childhood, teenhood and made it to the all aspire ‘Adulthood’. Still hoping to God that l would be treated like an adult.
On my 30th, l celebrated in my parents homeland of Cyprus and loved every moment when my cousins called me Mini’cik - ‘cik’ at the end of a name is something you usually do for little kids and so the irony of life began and my obsession of growing up pretty much ended there. Since then l have immersed myself in life and not cared too much about achieving an age milestone. Funny that!
At 30, l gave myself a decade to tick a few boxes. These boxes seem to be quite popular with most people and yet for me l felt was a struggle - every box just had so much heart ache to get ticked. But here l am, 40 and ALL my boxes ticked! Want to know what my boxes were? Well keep on reading then!
• Own a successful company. After 8 years and over half a million eyebrows completed, l can confidently say now that my business Ottoman3 is successful. Yep, glass of champagne for me. 
• Travel the world. Now this is partially ticked as apparently l need another 40 years to get anywhere close to the whole world.
But l have made a great dint in my passport and l love my alone time when l get to reflect.
Beyond that, my travels have inspired all of the products l have ever manufactured, right down to the bristle heads of our brushes. No matter what product we have at Ottoman3, when l hold one l am taken back to a place that made me go… l need to make this for my Australian lovers (of Brows!).
• Marriage. Yep now this probably needs more than a box, as it is not only a tick, but an ongoing work in progress. Marriage to me at 10 was all about the wedding day, at 20 was all about the guy, at 30 was all about the life style l wanted to live with a partner and now at 40 it is so much more. It is about friendship, respect, kindness and pretty much the art of negotiation. They say marriage is a job and l can certainly say it requires so much work. But by god, l had the most glamorous wedding day, the guy l had a crush on forever, a lifestyle that has surpassed my expectations and now a home that is busy, full and complete.
Love is home now.
• Motherhood. I never thought too much about this one as l kind of expected that l would just have a kid one day. The other boxes above seemed so much more difficult to get. But when Skylar came along 16 months ago, my heart grew out of my body and my stress levels toppled to heights unprecedented. Wow - just wow to being a mum to this kid. Daily l look for signs or similarities of me or my husband in her. But honestly, Skylar is her own person and she is just so ‘nice’. I have said this many times, but l made my own sister and we just hang out. My crew is complete. 
So that my friends were my 4 boxes to tick by 40. All ticked, so now what?
I decided no more boxes. Too stressful. Now l simply live. I still have many aspirations, but not boxes. Boxes were a set up for perceived failure. The truth is, if l didn’t tick one or any of those boxes, l know l would still be happy today. How do l know this? Well aside from all the things l can control, a few things happened whilst l was busy making lists:
My parents are both still living and living well. This makes me happy.
My brothers are both on standby for any Mini emergency great or small, so l have never really been alone. This makes me happy.
My cousins are residing all around the world and l can pick up and continue our friendship at any moment, because we just get each other. This makes me happy.
My girlfriends are so cool, they still want to hang out with me even with my highly strung, controlling personality. This makes me happy. 
My health is good. This makes me happy.
Mini Sarkissian
So my gift to myself today is to stop & smell the frangipanis in Fiji and celebrate a life with boxes ticked and a life to be lived well. 
Thank you for my blessings. 
Fab at 40 - Yes, yes l am. 


The early adopters made me a success!

By Mini Latif 3 May 2016 2:50:33 PM
Kristie is the name of the young lady that answered my email that fateful day in 2008. I had an idea that was to open up a nail and brow bar in Australia - something that had been done before, but not in a department store. It was audacious   to think that the largest department store in a Australia would even consider me to be their first nail and brow bar, so l figured that if l was going to convince them that l had the right idea, they first needed to believe in me. So my email was to the was simple. It said that ‘l’ would consider Myer to launch ‘our’ (l had no team then, it was just me, but they needed to believe that ‘l’ came with a pack) concept, but first l required ‘them’ to sign a non disclosure agreement. 
With that, the tone was set and the rest as they say is history. Our (my team followed shortly thereafter) concession in Myer lasted 5 years and was the beginning of the Ottoman3 empire that now spans across 3 brow bar stores, 11 custom made products and 9 more to be rolled out in the next year. I always wanted to pay homage to Kristie who answered that email and gave me my ‘Joy’ moment in business. She will forever be my friend in commerce. 
When we opened our doors on May 23rd 2009, we had 2 Brow Chairs, 4 Manicure stations and 4 Pedicure stations. All of which remained empty for the first few days. I continued to work my corporate job by day and made the mad dash to the store after work to take over from my 2 new employees. By the second week, it was apparent to me, that unless there was at least one customer sitting in the chairs, then no one would stop by to ask about the services we provided. So l had the 3 of us rotate over and over to sit and get a manicure or our brows threaded. It was a simply concept that work almost every time. As soon as we sat in the chairs as a customer, a walker by would eventually stop and ask a question. The service we offered was so strong, that once we had their attention, 9 times out of 10, they too would take a seat. 
 Ottoman3 Brow BarHighpoint
And so the roll effect took place. As each early adopter sat on the chair, another would stop and stare and eventually sit down. It was evident early on that the mani/pedi’s were the lowest hanging fruit customer, as this service had well and truly matured in the Australian market place, but the the Brow Threading, well that would take a little more selling. Just one time sitting in that Brow chair is all it took, but it was the early adopter who sat on that chair that first year. Though they were foreign to the idea of threading, they could see the art of threading and its almost magically appeal was and still is the most precise method to remove hair from the brow. We were officially the first Nail & Brow Bar to open in Australia, a title l hold with deep pride. 
After 5 years we closed the nail division to focus on what l was most passionate about, brows. I needed to hone in on the Brow products and that took time. I was approach by many companies to sell their brow lines to compliment our service, but l knew that after a few years of doing brows, l would be in a position of knowledge to design my own. Back then, there were very little brow products in the market place. Most of the powders were actually eyeshadows, re-marketed as brow powder and therefore lacked the correct texture to be placed on hair. The pencils were mostly brown eyeliners, that again lacked the correct cohesion & most certainly colour tone to be placed on the hair lines of the brow. So after 3 years & over 110,000 brows, the first range of the Ottoman3 Brow products were launched!
I promised that this blog Beauty & the Business would always give you a frank account of the realities of running a small business in the beauty world. I try each time to deliver this to you my friends and adversaries in commerce. Today l wanted to step back and bring to light that sometimes it is the tone in an email, or the belief in a show and tell that can open the door to your success. Remember first and foremost to believe in yourself, as when, not if, the road blocks come your way, you will need the strength to follow through. It begins with YOU.
Good luck, l just know you will make it big - HUGE :) 

Ottoman3 Brow Bar Highpoint

Ottoman3 Brow Bar Highpoint

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