Tag Archives: brazil

I <3 Mondays: Laboring

4 Sep

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to go back to sleep!

It’s the day after Labor Day, which usually means at least one of three things: 1) you will believe it’s Monday and your brain will betray you by convincing of this fact and allowing you to write “September 3rd” on all dated documents when it is in fact September 4th, 2) you will not want to be at work, 3) you will want to jump in a time machine and go back to Sunday night, right before Labor Day, because you know it means you’ll have the day off tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the latter of the three is not possible and the former two are incredibly likely. The good thing is that music can always help ease you back into a “Monday” after a 3-day weekend. Welcome to Tuesday. Try to enjoy it by adding this house mix by Belo Horizonte-based DJ Gustavo Peluzo. His mixes always help me when I need them to, hopefully it will do the same for you and your post-holiday (lack of) spirit:

Gustavo Peluzo – This Is a Track Vol. 08

(click to stream/ download)

– Retail DJ


A Few of My Favorite Things

7 Aug

Last week I watched a Brazilian news show on which the main reporter interviewed several “estrangeiros” (foreigners) about their experiences living here in Brazil. When the time came for them to talk to the American, of course she was the ultimate personification of the worst stereotypes of my people. She was skinny, white, blonde, and blue-eyed (nothing wrong with any of those things, but the stereotype here is that ALL Americans look like that OR that we’re all grossly overweight). She spoke no Portuguese and barely made an attempt to learn it. When asked what her favorite thing about Brazil was, she replied “cheap maid service.” You see, in the States, having a maid is a privilege often reserved for the rich. Not in Brazil! Here, labor is so cheap that you can exploit people as you please! (sarcasm) But seriously, that was her answer.

I was ashamed, at that moment, to be an American.

Even the Mars landing, all those gold medals, and our excellent demand of frying things could not bring back my pride. Instead, I thought, it would be worth giving an alternative answer. Sure, there are things that suck about Brazil (AS anywhere), but there are lots of things that are awesome…far beyond cheap house cleaning.

If they had interviewed me, the viewers might have been confused. I “look Brazilian” (or so everyone here says). I speak Portuguese. I don’t wear Hawaiian print shirts, Tevas, or carry my backpack to clubs. I can handle my liquor. I have an uncanny ability to never look lost, even though I am ALWAYS lost here (the streets go in spirals…no joke…and change names about 3 times per block). And I would give a much better answer than the bimbo they had speak for us. You see, what I like most about Brazil is its….

– People. They work A LOT (though are rarely given credit for their dilligence) and yet still make time to be with family, to hang out with friends, and to be generally cordial even on the most craptastic of days.

– Parties. They go all night. They make NYC’s 4 am closing time look like the hours of a daycare center. Their club nights are ragers…some even go as long as 24 hours. I have never been able to make it until the lights come on (though that’s a personal goal I plan on accomplishing this week!)

– Music. Let’s face it: Brazilian music is the bomb. And I am not just talking about samba and bossa nova, folks. Every day, there is a new type of music popping up here, even as close as someone’s backyard (funk carioca, anyone?). Sao Paulo’s DJs give the audio knights of Western Europe a serious run for their money and the triangle swinging, accordian slinging forro players make American country look pitiful.

– Juice. Go into any diner and you will most likely have the option of anywhere from 5 – 15 fresh juice options for under $3. The juice list at the diner down the street from me, despite being written in alphabetical order, still makes me dizzy JUST from its awesomeness. Acai, strawberry, grape, mango, cashew (yes, that’s a fruit before it’s a nut!)…you name it, they have it. Pretty sweet…literally.

suco de acerola…yum!

– Shoes. Whenever I am in Brazil, I buy a sh*t-ton of shoes, mainly because the equivalent shoe in the US will be a) double the price, b) uncomfortable, and/or c) fall apart before I can even break it in. The shoes here are reasonably priced, cute, comfortable (I can’t speak to heels as I hardly wear them, but I hear those are pretty comfy too…considering), and e v e r y w h e r e. I can buy shoes in the metro station! (not even kidding). Brazil is also home to some of my favorite shoe designers like Melissa and Louloux (whose sale I finally had a chance to go to! more on this later), both of which are always challenging the status quo with cutting edge designs.

my newest from Louloux

– Beauty. I can get a manicure/pedicure for $10 or less, depending on the city, and they get rid of all the cuticle! My polish lasts longer and my nails generally look prettier (I have short grubby nails that I tend to bite…the convenience of getting manicure/pedicures here helps prevent that). The hair products are also amazing, especially for people with curly hair like myself. They have a hair product for every single racial and/or ethnic group and all the possible racial mixes therein. And if you hate your hair type, there is a treatment, serum, conditioner, or process that can help you with that for under $50. Hair salon services are also reasonably priced. On another side note, everything seems to grow faster here (my only guess is that they have fewer preservatives in their foods, even the packaged ones + the higher temperature in most places = open pores). My hair and nails grow like wildfire.

– Repairs. People still fix things here instead of jumping to buy a new version of whatever broke. There is someone who possesses the skill to fix whatever failed you and usually very cheaply.

– TPM magazine. It’s technically “Trip Para Mulheres” (Trip (a men’s magazine) for women), but “tpm” also means “pms” in Portuguese, so it’s a funny play on words. It’s like Jane or Bust, but in Portuguese. SADFACE that I can’t get a subscription sent to the US, but I am trying to work some magic to fix that.

– Reduced Movie Tickets. Depending on the day of the week, movie tickets have different prices. Wednesday is the cheapest day. Students and old folks get half off. When is New York going to catch onto this awesomeness?

– Muggia. The best bag boutique in Rio. They make beautiful pieces of leather, canvas, and mixed materials. Their purses are on the pricey side, but they’re worth it. They last f-o-r-e-v-e-r!

This is just a sampling of my favorite things about Brazil. There are many more. But in a 10-minute news segment about my experiences here, that’s what I would have said.

– Retail DJ

Pedido de um Mashup

18 Jul

the mastermind behind all this brainwashing: Gusttavo Lima. yes, with two Ts

Someone (beyond my brain) should really do a mashup of these two songs. I hear them all the time here in Rio, and by all the time, I mean non-stop. Novelas. Commercials. Ads via car stereo (people blast audio ads from large speakers as they drive by). It never ends. Maybe if there were a mashup, it would change things up a bit?

Joao Lucas & Marcelo – Eu Quero Tchu, Eu Quero Tcha


Gusttavo Lima – Balada Boa (Tche Tche Rerere)

Just sayin’…

– Retail DJ

Get Dressed To This: Who Wears the Pants?

10 Jul


Most of the fashion features I have here just-so-happen to included dresses. Maybe it’s because I’m a dress girl? Or maybe it’s simply because on the female form, dresses remain the go-to item for most dance outings. In recognition of my bias, I’ve decided to switch it up a bit this week.

1. I normally post Get Dressed To This pieces as the weekend nears, but considering I am in Rio (where the “weekend” can start as early as Tuesday, much like in NYC these days too), I am going to post accordingly.

2. I’m going to do a feature with pants!

Ok, beyond that, this week’s GDTT remains the same. outfit + mix = happy times

I decided to explore Desigual’s site for some inspiration. The Spanish brand is famous for making paint-splashed, psychedelic-printed pieces, something I’ve seen throughout the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal, I’m looking at you!) all the way to Brazil. Street vendors here sell a ton of dresses with similar prints. Many ateliers are purveyors of patchworked skirts. And the “Calca Saruel” (drop-crotch pants) remains a popular piece here. So I thought in today’s edition of GDTT, I’ve pay an homage to the multinational magic of Iberian mix-match style with a splash of Desigual.

As far as the music goes, I’ve got a live set from Mercury, one of the best house DJs in the game, during a gig at one of my favorite clubs in Lisbon, Lux. It’s all come full circle, folks. House music from Switzerland taking place in a club in Portugal which is home to the language of Brazil where a style is circulating quite similar to Desigual, a clothing store from Spain. The world is a very small place. I hope you have a chance to skip (or dance!) around it now as you Get Dressed To This:

Mercury – Mix for Lux (Lisboa)

click to stream / download (right click + save as)

Sament Dress, Desigual, £79.00 GBP

back / front


Riplay Women’s Mica-05 Wedge Sandal (in hot pink, listed as “red”), Endless.com, $67.99 USD


Marc by Marc Jacobs Women’s 625140/12 Flat (in green), Endless, $140 USD


vintage white leather clutch, Etsy, $16 USD


Polished Planes Earrings (in blue), Anthropologie, $32


Empire Top, Desigual, £53.10


black woven tulip faux leather waistband detail pants, Mark & James by Badgley Mischka, Bluefly, $79.99 USD


A Wear Skinny Jean (in cobalt blue), ASOS, $58 USD



Melissa Platform Sandal, YOOX, $69 USD


 Day and Nightlife Flat (in yellow), ModCloth, $29.99 USD

– Retail DJ

On the Road…to Sampa!

28 Jun

this is not my bus, but it looks like this 🙂

written at 12:49 am….

At times, I wonder if I am completely strange. I say this because I like certain things that most people abhor beyond belief, one of them being long trips. I write this as I am traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo…by bus. Most people would have opted to take the quick flight that only costs about $20 more and takes a 7th of the travel time. But again, maybe I am strange. I love long bus rides, particularly those in Brazil where buses are clean, safe, air conditioned, and not sketchy in the least. This is no Greyhound trip, folks. This is a cushy, 6- hour journey that gives me a view of the smooth and ever-so-scenic southern Brazilian interstate.

The things I see along the way are always interesting. Most entertaining are the titles of love motels that line the hours of endless pavement and the strange juxtaposition of favela-laden + rural landscapes. Another interesting feature is the large set of warehouses and factories for chain stores like Carrefoure and Walmart (yes, they have Walmart here!), a sight that always makes me feel more like I am in my hometown of Memphis and not in between big cities that are home to over millions of people.

Though I will only be in Sao Paulo for five days, I intend on filling with lots of activities, many academically motivated of course. I am here on a research trip afterall. But I will certainly be taking the time to “aproveitar” (take advantage of) my time here in my most favorite Brazilian city. Complete with its long stretches of asphalt, unbeatable nightlife, and a whole of things to do, Sao Paulo will always have a special place in my heart as my home away from home when I am here in the B. What that means for you as readers is that a new set of posts dedicated to my beloved Sampa are coming up. Be on the lookout.

– Retail DJ

I Love Mondays: Para One . . . Para Todos

10 Jun

Para One

It’s officially been a week (+ a few days) here in Rio, and so many adventures have already occurred that I hardly have room here to account for them all. They’ve involved the usual run of typical Brazilian hyper-bureaucracy mixed with a bit of dancing, funk carioca, and long waits in grocery store lines…but all together, positive! No matter how busy I am or how frustrated I get dealing with certain things, Brazil always reminds me to be a human being first . . . to take time for myself . . . to use the silent moments to listen to what’s happening inside.

Interestingly enough, one of my favorite music artists has a similar effect on me. Para One, the magnificent French producer/genius behind countless tracks that took me to places I never knew existed, has done a mix for UK outfit Data Transmission! This mix unites many a vintage track with newer pieces that remind its listeners that not all has been lost in the world of the electronic music. Para One reminds us of his raw electronic origins all the while incorporating smooth old school house bits that make it quite an enjoyable hour and seven minutes.

It’s also worth adding that this mix satiated my craving for deeper electronica (which is a bit hard to find here in Rio…especially now that Dama de Ferro has closed up shop after a 10-year run…RIP). My only hope is that it feeds a hunger for all of you as well…be it to chill or simply to make Monday more tolerable.

Para One – Data Transmission Mix 229

(follow the link to stream/download)

tracklist after the jump

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Galeria Melissa Hits NYC!

23 Feb

Galeria Melissa SOHO ad campaign

Maybe I was sleeping under a rock, but I somehow missed the Melissa, the Brazilian plastic shoe line with which I can safely say I am fully obsessed, has opened an NYC store! I thought I was seeing things when I noticed the ads for a Galeria Melissa Soho store on the subway platform last night, but indeed, it’s true. The store opened February 8th!

While I’m an avid fan of its Sao Paulo store, I’m excited to see there is one just a stone’s throw away from Brooklyn in downtown Manhattan. Soho has always been the center for flagship stores for innovative clothing and accessory lines, but some of them haven’t fared well. Hopefully Melissa can “bring it,” and weather the storm with the brightness of its quirky rubber/plastic/pvc magic. My suggestion for its survival: frequent sales. As most of you may know, the US prices for Melissa shoes are a bit exorbitant, hence my hoarding pieces I buy at the Sao Paulo store (when I am in Brazil, of course) or via Brazilian friends. I pay up to 70% less when I buy them in the B, so it’s worth it. It’s also nice to get pieces “off-season” because they are usually heavily discounted. Doing that here might be a bit challenging, but I’ll see if I can work my magic.

As promised via the Retail DJ facebook page, here is my write-up on the newest collection: Plastic Paradise

This fall/winter collection (remember, southern hemisphere = opposite seasons) features a contrast of dark colors with lots of shimmer. Unlike previous collections, which relied primarily on texture differences to set itself apart from the summer lines, this fall/winter collection brings on the bling. Lots of pieces include a “basic” shoe and its naughty “glitter” doppelganger. This collection also features plenty of daytime pieces, included the adorable boat shoe “Moon” and the sleek cutout “Jean,” on which the company collaborated with designer Jason Wu to create. The line is fun, yet sophisticated, and overall left me with a ton of favorites. Here are my top picks:

01:45 "Star" (in pink)

I love the clean lines and soft colors this season for “Star,” a modified gladiator sandal perfect for spring and summer.

02:40 "Jean + Jason Wu" (in yellow)

I’m equally enamored with this cut-out skimmer by Jason Wu, which I could imagine contrasting very well on medium to dark skin or even with dark hosiery to help transition the shoe for a fall wardrobe.

03:16 "Mulher Maravilha" ("Wonderwoman") (in blue)

I always coveted the red, pointed-toe version of the Wonderwoman Melissa shoe released a few years back! Now they’ve create a version with a more subtle silhouette at the toe box, this time a slightly rounded point, and produced the piece in darker colors appropriate for fall/winter.

03:57 "Virtue" (in leopard)

A loafer in leopard print? LUV. It’s funky yet work-appropriate. It also comes in brightly colored leopard prints as well (i.e. this shimmery turquoise style). And let’s be honest, an eco-friendly style sure beats the traditional horsehair versions!

04:30 "Moon + Jason Wu" (in green)

Another loafer in bright colors, care of Jason Wu, whose collaborations with the line have breathed new life into more traditional pieces. These work for all ages and are super comfy!

06:20 "Virtue Special" (in gold)

When I saw these, I immediately thought, “If Elton John were a shoe designer…” This super star of a slip-on is truly fun and comes in gold, silver, and many other glitter-laden styles.

05:32 “Ultragirl Glitter” (in pink)

Another glitter fave, this version of Ultragirl pushes the limits and is eerily reminiscent of Dorothy’s ruby slippers. There’s no place like Galeria Melissa!

06:25 "Electric" (in gray)

This flocked heel reminds me of a shoe I wore to a high school dance, only now with a little more edge. This punky yet formal heel encourages even the more subdued of us to find our inner vixen. It’s sexy, no-nonsense.

07:15 :"Celestial" (in yellow)

At first glance, I thought of Rumplestiltskin, who would have rocked these bright mustard heeled oxfords without hesitation. They are quirky, but also work appropriate and come in a variety of colors and textures.

7:51 "Incense Glitter" (in gray)

And last, but not lease, the sweet “Incense” heel in glitter mode. This comfortable heel comes with a rounded toe in the front and a surprise in the back with its double bow accents at the heel. This line comes in plain colors as well, but I have to say the glitter version is my favorite.

If you’re in NYC, check out the Galeria Melissa SOHO: 102 Greene Street, NY, NY

– Retail DJ

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