Friday, July 31, 2009


Unlike in the USA, where a history major can end up working in pharmaceutical sales, Brazilians are employed in professions that succinctly match the field of study stated on their diploma. Just last month, the government finally revoked a law that forbade those without degrees in journalism from working in the press (slight infringement on freedom of speech, no?). A step in the right direction, but well rounded candidates (with conflicting job title degree) are still a long way away from getting past HR.

Herein lies the problem for me: My professional and educational background haven't matched since I held my diploma. And, well-rounded (with no experience in the field), got me hired 90% of the time in the USA. So when presented with those "cocktail party career questions" in my new homeland, I usually mumble a few employment examples and say coyly, "I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up." It usually is a neat (as in clean break, tidy) way to end the discussion. Aside from professions that require serious training (medical field, mortician...), my list is aplenty (random order):

1. Analyst, Finance Industry (Goldman Sachs, believe it or not. Back when we had to wear pantyhose every. single. day. ick!)

2. Waitress (in times of get cash quick)

3. Cleaning Lady (okay I was 14 and my dad paid me 40 bucks to "clean" his office)

4. Assistant Director (Pace Wildenstein, no less! Hierarchy issues. Assistant Director has to change Director's office light bulbs.)

5. Babysitter (again another childhood position but good training for the future)

6. Importer of Handmade Wooden Combs (Don't ask, but was lucrative at the time)

7. Temp (just that, a temp)

8. Bartender in Germany (Drunk Germans)

9. Fit Model (not sure why I got hired here. Measurements off. Got, um, fired!)

10. Wholesale sales representative for line of handmade rugs and furniture (borrrring)

11. Fashion industry entrepreneur (2 boutiques in NYC, line of clothes, name it. got swept off my feet by Brazilian on white horse, sold out and moved countries.)

12. Yoga/Pilates/Ballet instructor (still dabbling in that one)

13. Domestic Manager (wife and mother in fancy terms)

I think I will stop at the most challenging (number 13, too), domestic manager, as the list of unpaid professions is quite staggering. Be sure, I continue to invent new business schemes and interests. The latest? Novelist. Current Title: A Little About a Lot (as in I know...). I am hoping it hits the New York Times Bestseller list (financial gain) and Booker Prize (intellectuals' praise). Hey, at least I am ambitious.

Thursday, July 30, 2009



When cutting onions, insert matches (two is better) between lips and bulb side out. You'll never cry again. I promise.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Apartment Paparazzi, #1-Part 1

São Paulo is full of beautiful homes, immense gated mansions and architectural masterpieces. Be sure. But those are easy to find. And not what I want in my monthly "apartment paparazzi". What interests me is uncovering the unexpected and original. It is so easy to hire a decorator to do it all--down to which art books de rigueur should be on your coffee table. But it is an arduous and timely love affair, creating the personality of your home. The entrance door should open to a story about you. So let me start my first feature with just that: a story.

Around the sixth month of my pregnancy, Felipe's childhood pal, Marcos invited us to a dinner party in honor of his many pregnant friends. At the time, I was pretty surprised at the initiative. Was he aware of the risk of putting so many hungry and hormonal women (and their partners) together? But then I got to thinking about our host--the always-unconventional Marcos--and the idea was less astonishing. Naturally, the party was a success. We all left rubbing our bellies in pleasure, full and content in sharing our child-bearing lore. Excellent food and company aside, the novelty of Marcos's sweet gesture and his lovely home stuck with me. And now all these months later, I couldn't think of a more appropriate first candidate/apartment.

A quick glance around Marcos's apartment will get any conversation started and your curiosity piqued. First and foremost, a nod to his fledgling art collection. You will find some very recognized names and some obscure ink doodles by "a friend". Marcos is a study in contrasts. Next to the complete series of Sex in the City sits a large VHS collection of war movies; classic literature shares space with manuals on game hunting; cocktail recipe books sit atop volumes dedicated to linguistics (Swahili grammar, anyone?). Sequined liquor bottles, poker chips, loafers, and James Bond Memoirs might categorize him as a playboy/bon vivant. But he plays bridge and chooses an electric scooter over a sleek imported automobile. And the best part of all this? The eclectic gamut of hobbies, tastes, and travels (the list continues, trust me) are more than apparent: His home tells a story about it's special inhabitant. Thank you for sharing Marcos!

Apartment Paparazzi, #1-Part 2: Interview

Name. Age. Profession:
Marcos Machado. 31. Hedge Fund Manager

Did you use a designer or architect?
Yes, I had a friend of mine who is a designer give me a hand. I told her exactly what I was looking for and she showed me where to find it. I also gave her some good indications of new stores that she didn't know. It was nice. Overall I strongly recommend to hire someone like her, not to mention her great help with painters, brick layers, heavy duty personnel, especially when you don't have time to be at home during business hours. I also hired Alice Rocha, a very talented young landscape architect to take care of my plants and spice garden.

Most coveted object?
My bed from Carlos Motta. I like low beds and he had this one called "flyer" with little drawers (criado mudo) attached. Now he has dealers in NY and Holland, exhibitions in Paris. His work became very expensive--which is a pity. I like his chairs as well.

Next "within means" purchase?
A chair with no arms for my writing desk

Future "money is no a object" acquisition?
A water color from Francesco Clemente

Artist to watch?
Chiara Banfi and Claudio Edinger,- both Brazilians

Best restaurant in a city outside your hometown?
Manacá at Camburizinho beach

Favorite dish? If your own, share recipe?
My favorite dish is duck, but it is not practical for an ordinary dinner at home. So I order that in restaurants. But I can share my Rigatoni alla Norma recipe. Fast, delicious and spicy. 300g of ricotta, 1 eggplant, 1 medium-sized onion, 250 g of skinned tomato, malagueta pepper, salt, black pepper. Cut in little pieces and fry the onion until golden, add tomato, a pinch of pepper and salt and then the malagueta (with caution, otherwise it can get too spicy). In a different pan fry very quickly thin slices of eggplant in oil. Then put everything together. In the mean time, cook the pasta, not more than 15 min in boiling salty water. When the sauce is ready (approx. 10 min - time for the tomato to dissolve) add the ricotta (cut in little cubes) stirring it well. Serve it with basil if you like. The sweetness of the ricotta mates superbly with the bitter taste of the eggplant and the touch of pepper. Good dish either with red or white wine.

What are you doing to save the universe?
I am a member of WWF, World Wildlife Fund and Safari Club. Also try to use my car as little as possible. I got frustrated when the electric scooter that I bought 2 years ago didn't work, bad project. Zero noise and emission pollution. Maybe in a few years....

Where did you find the lady in your shower?
I asked a friend of mine who has a bikini shop where to find mannequins. I thought it was a good idea to fill the box of my spare bathroom, since no one will take showers there. I went to a street in Bom Retiro - near Pinacoteca - and "hired" them. They serve as great hostesses.

Can you suggest three apartments you would like to see on my blog?
Yes....[Stay tuned]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Young Isabella Blow?

Le Tour de Force available at Little Fashion Gallery

Do we see a future Isabella Blow here? A young fashion victim? I don't know. All I know is these pictures make me smile. And chuckle. Are these hats so bad that they are, well, really good? My dear Georgia, I have already made you wear silver shoes, gold shoes, and skinny jeans. But I promise: I won't buy you one of these hats. Your Daddy would kill me. But the more I look....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Time Out


A while back I posted on the Bertoia kid's chair, I purchased for Georgia/me. You see I am obsessed with beautiful chairs. They are even more charming in the mini version. So either Felipe and I are going to have to get busy at the Jon & Kate plus Eight plan (minus the divorce), or we are going to have several "time out" chairs!

I'd like to say that Georgia won't need a "time out" chair, but I am discovering rather quickly that she is on the fast track to the notorious terrible twos. Last week, after I had given up trying to get her down for her afternoon nap, Felipe took over. Within a matter of minutes, I hear a squeal of pain followed by, "now you are going to have a time out." I didn't even think my dear husband knew the term "time out" (but then I remembered his penchance for Nanny 911 on cable). Obviously this moment is not a humorous one in the lives of parents. We laugh so as not to cry. The sad part is that it might be the first time she bit daddy. But not mommy.

The moral of the story? I just might have a lovely collection of chairs. Or should I say Georgia will?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sweater Rug

Holy knitting needle--another incredible design by Christien Meindertsm. In this case bigger is certainly better and more cozy!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Gilda Midani

The best part about walking is that you discover things that you would never stumble upon behind the wheel of a car. Such was my luck last Friday while heading down Rua da Consolação, stopping in front of little white house with red shoes dangling from a second floor window. The ground floor inconspicuously hides a long rectangular shop decorated with a charming, modern organic mix of wood and concrete. On the racks hang wispy, color-drenched garments in mostly silks and cottons by the Rio artist/designer Gilda Midani. You won't find fickle fashion trends and fussiness here. But you will find comfort and sophistication...Havaiana wearing casual-chic. A little bit of Rio in a buttoned up São Paulo. Ask for Graziela.
Gilda Midani, Rua da Consolação 3058-A


Opening a can of worms.
A cliché, I know.
Qualities I wish I had, but don't.
1. Discreet
2. Mysterious
3. Aloof
Who cares?

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Need I say the cake batter for the angel food cake was pretty darn good this time?

Mr. Sandman bring me a dream

If having a child hadn't rendered me sufficiently sleep deprived, I had to go and discover blogging. Sleep is for the weak. Or maybe just for me....right now. Night. Night.

Whilst Walking Wednesday

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Neck Candy

special thanks to: fortysixthatgrace

Remember those candy heart necklaces you used to wear as a child, nibbling away until you had but a string around your collar bone? These might not be as tasty but they sure are sweet.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I know I love this

Available after 8/1 at dashofmagic

Darling, isn't it? Handwritten love note usurped by the embroidered version.

I want summer

Special thanks to fortysixthatgrace for the beautiful summery photos

I shouldn't complain. I live in Brazil. But every year in July I suffer. I know it is a repeated topic on my blog. But I just can't help it. It's cold. It's London gray. My fingertips are bluish. I have forgotten how to dress for winter. My layers don't look elegant. The palm trees are bent in confusion. Enough Barney and his purple pantsuit, Georgia wants to go to the park. Let the sun shine in. It is warm and sunny in Buffalo, New York today. I can never write a check in the Southern Hemisphere in July. The month never seems correct. Huh? I am so confused. This essay has no order. I am not creative. Brrr...I'm just cold.

Vovó's Treasures

On Tuesdays Georgia spends the afternoon at Vovó (Grandma in Portuguese) Vera's house. Invariably, Vovó Vera has unearthed a treasure from her archives: a favorite book from my husband's childhood, a one-eyed, one eared stuffed wiener dog, a 70's yogurt machine (see previous post), an incredibly heavy pasta making machine (future post) and so the list goes. Last Tuesday we received this darling hat--a cross between Little Red Riding Hood and Little House on the Prairie. According to Vera, her mother-in-law got it in Portugal and it has been tied under the chubby chins of several generations. Georgia tells me she is honored and cannot wait for Tuesday again.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Strawberry Fields Forever

Photo credit: Hannesine via Ana Sinhana

Been thinking a lot about small town America this week. I think it has to do with the jackhammers pulverizing the sidewalk outside my city window and the strawberries in the supermarket.

Strawberries and peaches should be eaten in the United States and passion fruit and papaya in Brazil, in season and with your hands, juices dripping down your arm and up your sleeve. Or better yet, they should be eaten after you have picked them, straight from red-stained strawberry picking fingers. Feeling the sunburn on your neck and itchy ankles, you rush your exhausted body home and deliver your bounty to the pie crust waiting for its filling.

Photo Originally uploaded by hanne::
Thanks to: Ana Sinhana

Luggage Claim

Do you own basic black luggage? Did you jump on the trend of tying a ribbon around the handle to distinguish it from others and grab it quickly off the conveyor belt? But soon enough your (or so you think) black bag with a red grosgrain ribbon tied around the handle is circulating the conveyor belt in a sea of the same?

Problem solved. How could you miss this lemony, yellow charm from j.crew? Lacking courage? It comes in black, too.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sweet Dreams

Is this not a clever and quirky yet charming idea? As in most of my abodes, the living room and kitchen are always the most finished rooms in the house. Sometimes I ask myself it if is because those are the rooms most visible to company. If so, shame on me. Happily, this incredible embroidered headboard idea via design sponge and say yes to hoboken will change all that. Cannot wait to get started!

Small Town America

photo: Melissa Stoerkel

It is so easy to forget your roots. But where else can Grandpa hitch a ride, circus style, feeling the breeze ruffle his silvery locks? No taxis beeping. No jackhammers crushing asphalt. No rushing. Just the sun on your back and "supper" about to be served. Tempting....for a minute.