Saturday, August 31, 2013

Living by the beach

We live so close to the beach but don't go often!  That's partly because it's Winter here, and we've had some chilly days.  Being so close to the beach, we've had a couple of crazy rain storms!  

These are pics from a couple of weeks ago (time flies!!) when we went to a little snack hut that sits on the sidewalk next to the bike lanes (pictured further down).  These snack shops have cheap food and great views!

*** NOTE ***
I use a page-break on almost all of my posts.  
This means you need to click "Read more" (bottom left) to see the rest of the pictures. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Today's Face - Naturally Luscious Lips

For today's face I did my Every Day Routine, but instead of red lipgloss, I went with natural lips.  

Natural lips
Peter prefers my natural lip color to any lipsticks or glosses I wear.  :(  (This is sad, because I love lipstick!)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday night in Brazil

Wednesday night:

It's midnight.  People are screaming, literally screaming at the top of their lungs, yelling, cussing, car horns going crazy, dogs barking and howling, people running around like crazy...

A protest? A riot?  Should I be freaking out?

Nope, just a soccer game.  

I guess "we" won?

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Made with Paper - The Perfect Living Room

So I had issues with the couch.  But other than that, I really like this sketch.  I used the ipad app, Paper.

This drawing wasn't part of The Pen and Paper Challenge, although it could be, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Art of Conducting - Part 1: What does a conductor really do?

Many of you know that I recently finished my Master's in Conducting.  So I thought it would be fun to do a mini-series on "The Art of Conducting."  I hope these posts are fun and inspirational, and not boring!  ;)

Part 1

What does a conductor do?  

I am often asked this question.  Many people have not had the wonderful experience of being in an ensemble (the best part of being a musician, in my opinion), therefore they only see conductors from behind.  It might be difficult to discern what a conductor is really doing other than waving his arms around.  In fact, conducting is one of the most challenging professions.  Conductors spend hours and hours studying the music before they are even in front of the ensemble!  The conductor has to make every musical decision before the first rehearsal.  

What many people think a conductor does.
Picture from "Have you heard it"

To make this easier, I came up with 3 main points and gathered some quotes from various articles and interviews with famous conductors to further illustrate the points.  

I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Pen and Paper Challenge #2

Art supplies are expensive here.  All I have on hand are blank pieces of paper and pens.  So I decided to challenge myself.  How creative can I be with just a piece of paper and a pen or two?  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thoughts about "Adventure"

The other day I was skyping with my mom and I mentioned that I want to do something "epic" for my birthday...  She said, "Isn't moving to Rio epic enough?"  So of course that got me to thinking...

For me, moving overseas isn't epic.  I'm with Peter, we have an apartment, we live in a beautiful area, Peter goes to work, I clean the house, we go grocery shopping - everything is just the same as it would be if we were in Brawley or San Jose.   To me it just feels... normal... Yet, to some people, such as my sister, Laura, what we are doing is incredibly epic.

So, then, I asked myself, "What is adventure?  What do I consider to be 'adventure?'"

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Hi folks,

I know everyone wants to see more pictures of where I live.  I wanted to write a short explanation of why I haven't posted more pictures of the surrounding area.  This is to protect myself.  I already stick out like a sore thumb merely because of how I look and dress.  If I walk around with an expensive camera around my neck, people are going to assume I'm a tourist.  And tourists are much more likely to get attacked or robbed.  At this time I am trying to blend in, walk and speak with confidence, and become a regular inhabitant of Barra.

Don't worry, I feel quite safe.  I go to the grocery store, the bakery, the mall, Starbucks.  But, considering that most of my day is spent alone, I want to be the safest as possible.

Here's the situation: We live in a suburb south of the "Centro."  It's about the distance between Long Beach and downtown LA.  If we take a bus from our house to Ipanema, it will take over an hour.  Whereas driving would only take 20-30 minutes.  If we take a bus to "Centro," it will take over 2 hours, whereas in a car it would take 45 minutes (all of this depending on traffic, of course).  

I know I've been saying this for awhile, but we really hope to make it out to Ipanema and Copacabana soon.  I will take plenty of pictures then, when Peter is with me.  I just don't want to go on a bus by myself quite yet.  Not because it isn't safe - because it is very safe on the city buses.  But because I don't want to get lost!!!  Very few people here speak English, and the bus drivers certainly don't - so getting lost is quite easy to do!  (The attack and murder of two tourists in Rio, which was on the news a couple of months ago, occurred in a private van.  Those are popular here as a mode of transport that falls somewhere between a taxi and a bus.  Some are privately owned and more dangerous than others.  They are very easy to distinguish and, frankly, look quite sketchy.  Why any smart, foreign traveler would get on one beats me.  We are avoiding all of them and only sticking with registered city buses.)

Meanwhile, Peter stayed up all night chaperoning the high school "lock-in."  So, he'll be asleep for awhile!  I'm hoping one of my friends will want to go to the hippie fair with me today, otherwise it's going to be a long, boring day!

In the meantime, check out these old posts:

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

The cutest trashcan

Call me crazy, but I'm obsessed with this trashcan.  I saw it at the school and immediately wanted one for my apartment!

I'm picturing it under my kitchen counter.  He could gobble up all the odds and ends.

Tell me, would you put something like this in your home?

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Today's Face - Every Day Routine

Today's Face - My "Every Day" Routine 

From this

To this
Slightly less blah

6 Products - 5 Steps

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Not a fun surprise

*** Hey guys, just to let you know, I was having some issues with the email subscription option, so I had to remove it.  If you stop receiving emails from my blog, that is why!  Make sure you check back every day for new posts! Sorry for the inconvenience, and I'll try to get it fixed soon! ***

Ok, so I guess technically this could happen anywhere, but, in my opinion, it's more likely to happen in Brazil...

Look what I found when I cut open my eggplant:

I immediately started chanting "ew ew ew ew ew ew ew," until Peter came over.  Then, of course, he insisted on taking pictures!

These may be considered delicacies in some parts of the world, but we just threw the whole thing out!  I'm going to have to be reeeeeally desperate before you'll see me eating any bugs!!!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Pen and Paper Challenge - #1

Art supplies are expensive here.  All I have on hand are blank pieces of paper and pens.  So I decided to challenge myself.  How creative can I be with just a piece of paper and a pen or two?  

Here goes "The Pen and Paper Challenge"

1 Month-a-versary!

Today is our one-month-a-versary!  So far so good.  We still like each other, so that's a good sign.  

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Things you can send

If you (or your children) are interested in sending me a letter, I believe postage is fairly cheap.  Letters (or cards) are the best bet at actually arriving, whereas packages may get detained in customs.

If you are feeling generous, here is a list of things you can fit in a normal letter that shouldn't cost too much:

- Hair ties
- Bobbi pins
- Photos
- Postcards
- Stickers for my music students
- Small scrapbooking items (for my art journals)
- Sticks of gum
- Comic strips
- Jokes
- Small drawings or paintings
- Post-it notes
- Individual packets of CALM (Whole Foods, Sprouts, Amazon)
- Individual packets of Justin's almond butter (Whole Foods, Sprouts, Amazon)
- Individual packets of tea (I like Earl Grey and English Breakfast; both are difficult to find here)

I'm sure I will continue to think of things to add to this list, so keep checking back!

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Instagram Review

I am often asked by family and friends, "What is it like living in Brazil?"  Well, it's a lot like living in the U.S.  I've mentioned this before, but we are staying in Barra da Tijuca, which is a very nice area of Rio.  We live near a large mall which is very modern.  Everything is expensive, but everything is so nice.  Our neighborhood is clean, I feel safe walking around alone, people are generally friendly.  The folks at the padaria are extremely friendly and enjoy practicing English while I struggle with Portuguese.  The folks at Starbucks have been less friendly and get a little annoyed when I don't understand carioca.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Happy my birthday to you! - A Hike Through the Parque Nacional da Tijuca

Today, for my birthday, we went on a hike with a bunch of friends from the school.  We hiked to Pico da Tijuca, which is the highest peak in the largest urban rainforest in the world!  The hike was 2.6 kilometers and was rated as "medium."  It took 2 hours to get up and about 45 minutes to an hour to get back down.  So, being that I am NOT in hiking shape, I am now very sore!!!  The view from the top is amazing, and the trail itself is beautiful, too.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Today's Face - Simple Makeup

So, you remember how I'm kind of obsessed with lip products, right?   This morning I found a lipgloss that I haven't used in awhile.  I don't know why I ever stopped using it!!!  It's amazing.  The texture is smooth but not sticky, and it is pretty and natural looking.  The only problem is I only have a sample size and I'm pretty sure they discontinued this particular product. :( 

Breakfast with Friends - Café da Manhã com Amigos

A typical morning...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Julie and Peter's Honeymoon

"Are you gonna make a honeymoon?"

"Well, yes, Ryan, we're going on a honeymoon."

"Tan I have some?"

Hm, a moon made out of honey... sounds like a job for Gru...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Juice A Day - Suco Cada Dia

One of the wedding presents we insisted on bringing, and for which we sacrificed much luggage room, was our juicer!  And it was worth it!  It provides clean, crisp juice in seconds!  

Friday, August 9, 2013

If I could do it again, but just for fun

I'm taking a break from posting about Rio... trying to get back into the regular swing of things.  Or maybe I have wedding on my mind because a) I've only been married 3 weeks, or b) my best friend is getting married in November and I won't be able to make it to her wedding.  :(  But this post is about weddings - if I could do it again, but just for fun!

I was never the typical girl that sat around and dreamed about her wedding dress.  I did, however, dream about the wedding venue and decor.  My first-first choice would be to elope on some tropical, exotic beach somewhere... Ok, maybe not elope completely, but considering the location, probably very few people would have come...

Image from here.

My second-first choice for a wedding theme was "garden tea party."  I suppose my wedding kind of fit that description, although we had to sacrifice some things due to location and budget.

(I will post photos once we get them from the photographer.)

My third (first-second?) choice would have been an evening garden party, something you'd find in Sabrina (1995), with lots of strung lights, live big band, black coated waiters, champagne fountain, and gorgeous evening gowns.  There is no way we could have afforded it, but it is still fun to dream, right?  

Scene from Sabrina, from here.

Something a little more quirky, but still beautiful:

Image from here.
Or I could have combined my first-first choice with my first-second choice and had this:

Image from here.

Well overall I was happy with how it turned out, and since it wasn't in some exotic location, all of my (immediate) family members were able to come!  I enjoyed spending time with family and friends at such a special event!  I'll post pictures as soon as I get them!

What is/was your ideal wedding?

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Over the River and Down a Road - To Beaches and Sand We Go

Yes, the beach is very close!  And beautiful.

From the other side of the river, looking back at our apartment and the balsa we took to cross the river

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Julie's Tips for Traveling Overseas - Part 1

Julie's Tips for Traveling Overseas
- Part 1 -

I have traveled a lot around the world, and most recently moved with my husband to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  I thought I'd share a few things I have learned from all the packing, airports, customs, and eating I have done around the world.  I hope this is beneficial for at least one person reading!

1.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Flying dehydrates you!  There are several reasons why I get dehydrated while traveling. You can't bring water past security and bottled waters are expensive in airports!  I often don't drink anything until I'm on the plane and the flight attendants bring around the beverage cart.  And then it's just a tiny cup of water.

Drink lots of water before you leave!  Buy a water bottle at the airport and ask the flight attendant to refill your water bottle when you get on the plane.

Flying also dehydrates my skin.  I already have dry skin, so flying just makes it worse!  If you also have this problem, I suggest using a hydrating face mask the night before you leave.  I used a Mary Kay moisturizing mask and my skin felt amazing!

2.  Stock up on healthy snacks

A couple of days before we left I went to Whole Foods and stocked up on healthy snacks. Airport food is expensive, flights are long, some airlines don't serve meals and, if they do, they might be nasty, gross, or unhealthy.

A couple of items that saved my sanity this past trip:

An apple

Gluten Free Crackers

Vegetable chips (not the overly processed ones from Trader Joe's, but the actually real, dehydrated veggies from Whole Foods)

KIND fruit + nut Almond and Apricot bars

Justin's Honey Almond Butter (Great on gluten-free crackers, apple, celery, etc)

Other items you could bring;
Fresh veggies such as carrots and celery
Fresh fruit such as apples and bananas
Trail mix
Seed and nut mix (I like to mix almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, craisins, raisins, and chocolate chips)

3.  CALM

CALM is a natural supplement that does just want is says: calms.  This is great for people who suffer from bowel issues (any kind) that are aggravated by travel or other stressful situations, including packing, mentally preparing for a major life change, or anything else that may cause stress.  I have a canister of it at home, but I picked up a couple of individual packages to more easily pack it in my carry-on.

Thanks for reading!  Do you have any other tips you'd like to add?  Leave a comment below.

Julie's Tips for Traveling Overseas - Part 2 - to come soon!  

* I am not receiving compensation from Ruth Smith or Mary Kay.  I mentioned the product because I want to bring awareness to my mom's business, and not for any other purpose or personal gain.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Flying in to Rio *and* Our Apartment

How we fly

 How to put on makeup in an airplane

Approaching Rio

Tired but happy

Our apartment complex

Another view

A tree in front of the complex

Living room: Before

Entry way: Before

One side of kitchen: Before

Other side of kitchen: Before

"Guest" room: Before

"Master" bedroom: Before (We have another wall of closets on the opposite wall)

Balcony: Before

View looking down from our balcony

 Another view looking down from the balcony:

 We have an ocean view!

This weekend we are going to the "hippie fair" and hopefully getting some home furnishings, such as rugs, baskets, a hammock, and random decor.  I'll post "after" pictures once we get completely settled in.  In the meantime, we managed to clean it up pretty good, rearrange the living room, and put away most of our stuff!