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Category Archives: Shopping

I’m fashion behind

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So I do surf the net, but I’m a dork so it’s usually looking at the new tech coming out, not the new fashion trends.  I could tell you about some amazing gadgets coming out in the future (or already out in Asia right?).  That being said, if you were to ask me what was in fashion in the US, I couldn’t tell you as I’m not following that online.  So when I walked into C&A today while shopping at Ibirapuera with the spouse for a Santos jersey (anyone know where we can find a cool one??)  and saw this….

I have to ask, is this just a fashion back in Brasil or has this already hit the US?? If not, girls be warned theeeyyy’rrree baaaack!

No these were not the only set of body suits I saw, they were everywhere!  Have we forgotten the constant wedgie these things caused?  Do we really have to revisit ALL of the styles from the 80’s and 90’s? We skipped the scrunchie, can we skip this?  Because honestly, I’m not seeing a big difference from the early 90’s version and the ones in this photo.. no 2010 spin, just same old uncomfortable bodysuit.

But then again, this is Brasil and not all fashions from Brasil make it to the US.

Shopping & Shoes!!!

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Ahhh, I have the best husband in the whole wide world.  Last weekend we had no plans to go anywhere as I just got back from going somewhere, so my husband thought it would be good to go explore downtown São Paulo.  We jumped on a bus.  He had previously instructed me to only take the train (he thought there would be a better chance of me not getting lost… see post here to see why that logic was flawed), so it was nice to just hop on the bus and head straight up.

We had two plans

Rua Direta and Rua Vinte e Cinco de Março. We wandered around in a big circle, most of the stores had cheaply made clothing, toys, and cheaper household goods.  There was Hering, which it turns out is also in my neighborhood. Hering isn’t too expensive, and is pretty GAP like in appearance.  Random boutiques…then we found it… the WHOLE reason this trip was worth it… Mundial Calçados.  The top was Munidal, the bottom floor was the Mundial outlet. And the shoes, ahh the shoes were wonderful. I am pretty picky on my shoes, and find more often than not I settle for a pair of shoes as I need them, but rarely truly love shoes (well sometimes I love them, but don’t love the price). I loved the price, and I loved the shoes. I bought three pairs… aren’t they all cute??  With winter coming on, I’ll probably not get much use out of the first two, but they are nice classics, so I think will work next summer just fine.

I wanted to buy this pair, but with a 10 month old, wearing heels like this just didn’t make sense. But aren’t they ADORABLE? Sporty and sexy all in one.  Tennis shoe high heels. AND one thing I found with the shoes, unlike American shoes that look good, these actually were comfortable too. Usually you need to pay for cute and comfortable.  No wonder Brasilian women walk around in heels, the shoes don’t hurt!

I picked this shot since you can see the wee one sleeping

After my little shopping pitstop, we learned that Rua Vinte e Cinco de Março was closed at noon on Saturdays, so we began to head back, when my husband saw his mother ship. The Brasilian Stock Exchange – BOVESPA It was kind of funny just happening upon it while we were discount shopping downtown.  That’s the thing, in Brasi, you never know what you’ll happen upon from one neighborhood to the next.

Nearby there were some street performers.  A very talented singer who’s generator powered mic kept dying on him, and one of those guys who pretends to be a statue.  This guy stands still until he sees a good target, then bends down and blows a little “peep” whistle, startling them.  Most kids are kinda freaked out by this.  As you can see from the photo ours was more curious than scared. I tell you, he’s 2 minutes away from taking some strangers hand and disapearing into the sunset.

 

Funny Stories from that day

FIRST

The bus stop is right across from a large cathedral.  My Uncle is Catholic, but I am very much not, so haven’t ever actually been in a Catholic church… so we decided to pop in and see it as our last stop for the day.  It was a bit odd, as it was a tourist attraction, with signs everywhere, but it was also a working cathedral with confessionals and people buying candles and other paraphernalia at the “catholic items stand” in the church. The mixing of sacred and tourist was a new one for me… seriously people were walking around taking pictures (even though signs clearly stated otherwise).  It was beautiful inside… unfortunately my son wasn’t well behaved. See he’s very musically inclined, and at a young age recognized that certain environments are very conducive to echoes.  Yes, anytime we enter a parking garage he starts “echoing”… well I guess he figured out with the high ceilings and all of that concrete he could get a good echo… he was right of course.  We quickly headed out the back door with my husband’s hand clasped firmly over little screamer.

SECOND

As we exited the back door two little urchins were trying to get into the Cathedral.  The security guard wouldn’t let them in to the building. My husband said one was telling the other to go in and “confess all of his sins” and the other yelled back, “I’m not confessin’ my sins to anyone!”.  They’re probably 8 or 9… and I’m certain they had more sins to confess than I did at that age.

THIRD

More of an observation really. We stopped some Federal police, and by that we mean went up to the Federal Police that were just standing there… with all of the “Activity” going on downtown, there are Federal Police stands where they just kind of stand around and watch (in fact everywhere we go there are usually Federal Police just standing around…but that’s for another blog). We asked the group of Federal Police where the bus to get home was.  They looked at us, and then said, “Zona Sul?”  My husband is pretty certain it is because we were white, obviously out of place, and pretty nicely dressed.  Because see that’s where all of us expat folk live… Zona Sul.. that and rich Brasilians 🙂

A vist to the States

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I had to head up to Beverly Hills… and as I have a kid, I had to take him with me. Since this trip was not paid for by my husband’s company this time, I didn’t have the luxury of traveling with an extra seat… just me, the baby carrier, and the wild little monkey.  Oh how I missed my beautiful, lovely Sao Paulo.  Yes, that’s right, after a week in LA, I wanted to come home.

The trip to LA, wasn’t too bad.  I was lucky enough to have a bulk head seat, so I laid down a quilt and down went my son.  The mid-flight turbuelence  required that I pick him up and that did not sit well.  But seriously, bulkheads are the way to travel.  The trip back, I also got a bulkhead seat, and no turbuelence, and he slept like a dream.  But you don’t care about the ease of bulk head seats do you right?

So let’s see, all of the things I love and hate about America.

  1. Chicago has those new sanitary toilets that automatically change a plastic liner and those were pretty cool.  LAX is a big, ugly, dirty mess and doesn’t have any such pretty toilets, so -1 LA

Am I lame because I took a photo of it?

  1. United Airlines flight attendedants were pretty rude about letting me on the plane when boarding all of the mediallion/business class passengers.  Whatever happened to letting women with children on first.  I even explained that I was traveling alone, had a really heavy backpack, and was suffering from a case of food poisoning– still no go… in fact no-go rather rudely – 1 America – 10 United
  2. The lack of a culture who appreciate babies – 1 LA + 10 Brazil The old gma on the plane from LAX was so cold to my son, and I could hear her grumbling to her husband about how annoyed she was we blocked the “natural light” from the window whenever I breastfed him. My son cried for the first time ever on a plane -repeatedly.  The super nice Brasilian woman on the way home, smiled and made my son laugh and he was a dream. Shoot, even the German director who we flew up with from Sao Paulo was nicer than this old lady…and he’s a guy! She just gave that “I don’t like that you have a kid” vibe and my son was very perplexed by it.
  3. All the freaking stop signs in Beverly Hills -1 for each one of those things LA
  4. The lame LA driver who honked at me because I was turning left.  If you have such a problem with left turns, then get rid of them like Brasil has – 1 LA
  5. All the stupid people who want to turn left and make me have to try and guess if I should be in the right or left lane – 1 LA (irony I know)
  6. Cheap baby stuff, peanut butter, maple syrup, and BestBuy +10 LA
  7. The parking ticket I got in Beverly Hills for parking at 2am … so you know Beverly Hills is a no parking anywhere at night zone.. even if there aren’t any signs. I would give LA another minus, but Sao Paulo’s no parking signs aren’t much better. Zero
  8. LA Drivers, who think they’re good, but all have their knickers in a bunch – 1 LA Even if everyone says Sao Paulo drivers are crazy, they are just some how all at the same standard, no slow-poke, crazy drivers here.  If you are flying through the intersection, you offer a courtesy honk.  There’s no doubt should I stop for that pedestrian… they have to watch for you. There’s no doubt, will this car try and squeeze in even though I have the right away… they know you have the right away, there’s no false niceties here in Brasil. And I like it that way!
  9. I totally forgot how fancy the cars are here in LA.  I guess I’d gotten used to the fleet of grey hatchbacks in Sao Paulo that I was finally awed by the fleet of porches and mercedes. +1 LA
  10. My husband was in Brasil -1000 LA

On a separate note, only slightly related. Our flight from Brasil and on to LA was filled with Germany’s Next Top Model cycle 6 contestants.  You know how they say babies like perfect faces…it’s true. My son seriously stared them down.   Then again, my kid likes women 😉 On the flight from Chicago to LA I actually got an empty seat next to me, but again we were on the flight with models, and the one next to us was bringing back a head dress.  They had done their shoot for Carnival in Brasil, and she said she just bought it and wasn’t the winner.  I guess the winner got to ride one of the floats and wear the whole outfit.  It hasn’t aired yet, so I couldn’t see who it was.  She just slept the whole time, and my son may or may not have broken off a few beads.  The model across the isle was much nicer, and kept smiling and my son… why couldn’t she have sat next to me? All she had was a book!  Hope she wins, just for her being the nicer one, without the big headdress 😉

Beverly Hills Parking Tip

I stayed at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. It’s one of those boutique hotels.  All modern and trendy (the crib was completely made of metal… yeah clink, clink, clink is what I heard as the little beaver chipped away at the metal rails) and recently renovated.  Recent renovations means your room smells like new carpet, paint and resin.  Parking was $30 a night, so I opted to park on the street. I was usually out of the hotel by 6 am, and not home till after 11pm anyway.  However, as I mentioned above, if you park between 2am and 5am, you will get a ticket. I managed to avoid a ticket the first night, because it turns out the Avalon hotel is right on the border of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.  My first night, I had parked down Beverly between Pico and Olympic.  I didn’t get a ticket, as I guess I was on the “Los Angeles” side of Beverly (the street signs turn blue, and don’t have “Beverly Hills” on them).  So that’s my tip, if you don’t mind walking a block.

Also don’t eat at Houston’s in Century City… I got food poisoning something wicked there… the worst sickness of my life ever.  My little sister had to pack my luggage for me. I paid the baggage claim guy at LAX (who by the way was not so subtle with his “If you take care of me, I’ll take care of you”) to check me in at the counter, got LAX security to let me in the front of the line, and chugged Pedialyte and ate my son’s teething biscuits.

**Update** The LA County Health Department called me (I reported the food poisoning, because I’m like that okay?!) to report that they inspected Houston’s and they failed the inspection on the handling of their primerib meat… so yeah, it was totally their fault.

Shopping at the mall

Fancy title I know right? I don’t have the energy to come up with something witty. Needless to say I have no desire to go to the mall again soon.  I’ve seen on a few blogs people mentioning their visits to the mall. Honestly, there is no draw for me.  The clothing is super expensive, and the quality just isn’t there for me. If I am going to pay high prices ($R100 for board shorts), I’m going to pay those prices for designer apparel in America. That and the parking is not free, so yes the country will get every last centavo you have.

So why was I at the mall then if I’ve already imposed a no shopping for shoes or clothing at the mall ban on myself? Well we need a cell phone (because I am a moron who left her tablet on the seat pocket in front of me, and was a trusting fool to think that the cleaning crew would turn it in), and a WHOLE house full o’ furniture.  So we headed to Casa Bahia and Fast Shop to price out …well pretty much everything.  Casa Bahia reminds me of those furniture stores from the 70’s… um yes I realize I wasn’t even born yet.  The selection was almost all purchased and mostly white.  Next door was Fast Shop, more of the Best Buy of all in one shops.  The interior was modern and fancy and all of the workers were young and cute.  Needless to say we were swayed by all of the silver appliances, and ended up purchasing all of our goods here.  No not really, we’re too cheap to be swayed that easily.  They actually will negotiate with you a lot on pricing if you are buying a bunch all at once, AND you have prices from next door that you are holding them to.  There are also all the “sale” items, which is pretty much what we bought.

Being someone who always lived in furnished apartments, it was kind of fun initially to pick out my own appliances. I finally have a sweet stove to get my cook on.  As the whole expedition took about 3 hours, by then end I’m not 100 percent positive what we bought. But here are the photos… I think. We may also have got a range hood and an air conditioner…or two, and I know at one point my husband went off to look at TV’s and found a 40″ TV (without internet, but with USB ports) for about R$1500, but don’t know it looks like to post a photo.  We could have got an LG 32″ for the same price that came with wireless internet. Either way, all done and said with delivery and install everything rounded out to around R$10,000 give or take a few hundred. For the record, HSBC’s debit card was part of the reason we were stuck in the store. The card would not let us run it through for even R$5000 (the daily limit), and we wanted to pay on debit as it was saving us R$500.  We ended putting it all on our Capital One, but boo to HSBC.  We finally left the store at 11pm, thanks to the whole HSBC debit card issue. And had we not been so tired, the husband is pretty sure we could have negotiated down further.  We did get them to give us a 2 year warranty on most of the items for free.