Queen Alexandra

Until yesterday there was a 50/50 chance that there would be a Queen Alexandra in my lifetime.

Just sayin.



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Fruitvale Station Movie via PureWow

I might have mentioned something in passing about Purewow.com before but today requires a real shout out. They send daily emails under their national umbrella and you can also subscribe to regional videos (I get the SF ones), recipes or books. Each email focuses on one specific theme, usually a store, book or item. They highlight some of the coolest new apps, restaurants, trends and today: movies.

I got this email and was happily surprised. The buzz from this movie is getting louder and Purewow has chosen to highlight it, a bold move , in my opinion, for a site that generally focuses on trends and food carts.

Nonetheless, this movie doesn’t need to be propped up by any style blogs or any other news source for that matter. Winning both Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic, this movie is sure to draw all types of moviegoers, especially in light of the Trayvon Martin case rulings. I’m sure many people can relate to the tension and division that debates regarding Zimmerman’s trial have produced.

I definitely don’t have any smooth opinions or easy answers but I am excited to see this humanizing portrayal of a young man who died too soon.

R.I.P. Oscar Grant III


Sweden doesn’t have enough garbage

My obsession with Sweden and all things Swedish government has been going on for quite some time since I met a lovely girl from there studying abroad in 2011. Granted, it’s not really fair for me to idealize a country’s public policies based mostly on comments made over caipirinhas. Nonetheless, I fantasize about this and surrounding Nordic countries and their social democracies. This piece from PRI is fascinating to me!  Social democracy+extensive recycling = love ! Of course I’m sure there are many many arguments against higher taxes more social services and I’m eager to learn about them one day.
This article fascinates me because in addition to idealizing their social democracies, I am also envious of areas that have great recycling programs like what I saw in Curitiba!

(Here‘s a LONG NYT article about Curitiba’s recycling program & general urban planning marvels)
What do other people think? I love learning about these pro-government populations especially in light of Obamacare. I’d love some referrals for some accessible literature for further reading.
Here‘s an interesting article from the Economist.
“Cecil Rhodes once remarked that “to be born an Englishman is to win first prize in the lottery of life.” Today the same thing could be said of being born Nordic”
Here‘s a PDF about Sweden’s “Waste-to-Energy” program


I’m not sure I understand this. I’m not sure the “point” of this is to understand what she’s saying. I’m more impressed by her native accents (nerdy), it sounds musical in the best way. I’m happily confused by this video. Enjoy! (Thanks Kuya Mikey)

Concept and direction by Reggie Watts, text by Tommy Smith, performance and translation by Carolina Ravassa, edited by Thomas Arsenault, recorded at Ground Control Studios, engineered by Murray Trider

Products I love: Diva Cup

I havent written because I got to Argentina last week & have been busy, busy busy catching up with family.
I LOVE the Diva Cup, when some of my friends proposed it to me awhile back I was unsure & swore I would never use it but it has CHANGED MY LIFE!

I would recommend buying it before your period & practicing so that you aren’t stressed when you actually need it. I first put it in during a shower, which felt more sanitary and less stressful. All you need to do is fold it in half and hold it with one hand and push it up with the other.

I am not saying it’ll be easy at first but it WILL be worth it!!

-I can bring the little cup with me and always know that I am prepared no matter what!

-It is always “enough”, unlike needing 6 tampons a day maybe, you can just dump it out and put it pack in

-you never need to worry about having a trash can, toilet paper etc, just rinse w water!


[“Each year, 12 billion conventional pads and 7 million tampons, made out of plastics, rayon, viscose, and cotton, are dumped into the North American environment. These products have been bleached with chlorine, which releases carcinogenic dioxins into the environment, and most use non-organic cotton, which has been saturated in pesticides and insecticides.“]

I love this product & it is great for travelers! About $40 at Henry’s or other health food stores or also on Amazon for $30


1 Day in Botafogo


Map of the 2 locations

Botafogo is my original home neighborhood in Rio & I’ll always have fond feelings for this little neighborhood. It’s inland/ behind the big beaches of Copa & Ipanema. South of Flamengo & Centro. For some reason there are quite a few hostels located there, all pretty well reviewed. However, I’m not sure I would recommend staying there. Each bus trip is R$2.75 and if you are partially going to Rio for the beaches (how could you not?), none are in walking distance.

[The beach right there behind Botafogo shopping isn’t really swimmable & not popular either]

We started the day out at the Museu do Indio, at R$3 it’s worth a stop. Even if you don’t want to pay the small entrance fee you can wander around the exhibits downstairs, which include audiovisual displays. Right now the free display is on indigenous children’s play things & it’s beautiful & fascinating! To be honest we weren’t even in the mood for museums so we didn’t end up going upstairs but now I regret it, I’ll go back in Feb for sure. [TA]


Then you can easily walk 2 blocks to the Morro Santa Marta. I didnt realize this but this favela is very touristy (in some ways). They have a map, and guides and the trolley that goes up and down the mountain is packed with tourists. We were going because I want to take pictures of the new paint that they put up. I never got around to it though because we followed a group of American high schoolers up to “Michael Jackson Square” (he filmed part of his music video there) where they had a percussion lesson.

This community is interesting, it doesn’t seem as “fancy” as Vidigal, it doesn’t seem as “busy” as maybe Rocinha, some houses are still wood with corrugated tin roof. And the houses at the very top have signs that lead one to believe that maybe they aren’t as tickled by the tourist attention..


So when you go to Santa Marta, or any favela for that matter, try to keep in mind that this is where people live. If you want to take a picture of someone, ask them first & find out their name, they aren’t just part of the scenery, they have a life & a story too. Be respectful, learn some words in Portuguese.

I would recommend coming at “off hours” before lunch or before 5, people will be commuting back home, schlepping groceries, kids & work supplies, let them go first on the trolley up to their houses. When we came down around that time there was a HUGE line forming. The trolley is small, slow & has to move lots of people, be considerate.

I hate to lecture, and I don’t have all the answers. But I do hope that when you visit Rio you’ll see “the 2 Rios” & think about it for more than just a second.

View of Cristo from Santa Marta

Country Mouse Eats Pizza (Veridiana Pizzaria)


After being in the countryside for over 2 weeks, we traveled to São Paulo to take Colie to the airport last week. After she left I hung out with a friend of mine who lives & works here now.

He took me to the loveliest little restaurant in Jardim Paulista called Veridiana Pizzaria.

It was a huge restaurant with multiple levels, loads of indoor greenery & ornate decor. We sat at the little bar in the middle for awhile & caught up over some caipirinhas made in front of us. The bartender had fresh fruit that he used, I had lychee & he had frutas vermelhas (berries). The atmosphere is so plush & relaxing I could have stayed there forever. The pizza was great (& pricey!). They even had “american” style red pepper flakes which i later was told are called “pimenta calabresa”.

It was so nice to be “fancy” again. Even though I didn’t pay I think the experience was worth the pricetag 😉

Here’s what other people think