July 30, 2011

National Cheesecake Day!

That's right! Today, Americans celebrate National Cheesecake Day!
I love it and every time I am craving one I go to The Cheesecake Factory since they offer dozens of excellent choices of this dessert (they even offer special deals to celebrate this day!)
But if you are hands on and want to make a homemade cheesecake, here's a quick, practical and delicious recipe that I've made several times and is always a huge success:
1 can condensed milk
1 can heavy cream (the smallest size)
400g cream cheese
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
Optional: jam (any flavor)

Preparation: Beat the egg whites and set aside. Put all other ingredients in a blender untill all combined and fluffy. Pour the egg whites into the batter and stir gently (at this point, add the raisins, if desired). Bake it at medium-low greased and floured any serveware that can go from the oven to your table. It will rise, but is going down right after. That's OK. Let it cool and serve it chilled with jam, dulce de leche, fudge, guava paste. Yummy ...
This recipe has no crust. I prefer that way, but you can make a very easy crust with crackers (cinnamon, honey or regular), chilled butter and baking pieces walnuts. You can use it as your base or sprinkle it on top of the cheesecake. It is a delight!

July 29, 2011

Home hair removal

Every now and then everybody talks about Brazilian waxing. Since I am Brazilian and I have years of expertise, I have a great tip for removing hairs at home: Remington EP6025 Epilator.

Many years ago I had a waxing device called Epilady (what a pain, my God!) and I confess I was not in the mood to buy another one like it. But shaving here in the U.S. is quite different from Brazil, so I decided to buy it. And what I have to say is that the technology has evolved, my dear! This device is much more convenient, wireless, with multi-tweezers (so several hairs are removed by the root at the same time) and it can be used in the bikini area. The suffering does not compare with the old one. The result is great and the skin is very soft! This and other models are easily found on sale at Amazon, supermarkets and drugstores.


Friday came and with it one more drink of the week: Bloody Mary
6 drops Worcestershire sauce
3 drops Tabasco hot sauce
salt and pepper
10ml lemon juice
40ml vodka
60ml tomato juice
ice cubes
celery (to garnish)
Place all ingredients in a shaker, mix them well and move into a tall cocktail glass. Sprinkle a little bit of black pepper on top, garnish with celery and enjoy it!

July 28, 2011

Balsamic Drizzle

For quite some time, I've been noticing that many food tv show hosts use Balsamic Drizzle to decorate dishes, or as a final touch in salads, chicken, fish and sandwiches. I'm already a fan of balsamic vinegar so I bought this one and I loved it!
This is nothing else but balsamic vinegar reduction, thicker and a little bit sweet (just a little bit). And I do suggest using it as a final touch in your dishes, otherwise they will be heavily seasoned. It really gives an extra special touch!
I already tried in green and grains salads, sandwiches and grilled chicken (my hubby went all the way and even eats it with rice!). The pic above is the one I'm used to buy, but there are several other brands available in the supermarkets.

July 27, 2011

In love!

Mortar and pestle made with wood from India and a colorful resin finishing.

Chicago - attractions

Continuing our adventure through Chicago, this last post is about the most recommended attractions:
 - Check out the view from one of the city's tallest buildings: I went to John Hancock Observatory (the building has 94 floors), but they also recommend Skydeck Chicago (formerly Sears Tower Skydeck)
 - Go to: Shedd Aquarium, the largest in the world (I  didn't go because I am not a big fan, but people say it is a must for anyone who is in town!); Wrigley Field Stadium (Cubs baseball stadium); The Lincoln Park Zoo (one of the three free entrance zoos in the country); Art Institute of Chicago; the theater (Chicago is well known for its stand up comedies but you can also find attractions like musicals and Cirque du Soleil) and the Navy Pier (especially if you have kids, you can take them to the children's museum, theater and several other attractions)
 - Walk the Magnificent Mile. It's the nickname for the Michigan Ave, a beautiful boulevard, lined with shops and restaurants
 - Take a boat trip to know a little bit more about the city and its architecture

And finally, one of the places that I loved the most: Millennium Park (pictures below).
A public park (you can walk or ride a bike from Navy Pier) that has a huge structure called Jay Pritzker Pavilion, an open-air pavilion that during the summer offers free concerts for more than 11.000 people. This pavilion is connected to the other side of the park (Marina's side) by a bridge called BP Bridge. Both projects were designed by the amazing artist Frank Gehry (I'll talk about him soon). Close to the pavilion is the Cloud Gate sculpture, nicknamed The Bean, as it reminds you of a giant bean. Made of stainless steel plates (but you don't see any seams!), the sculpture reflects - perfectly - the images, and is one of the main city's landmarks.
Last but not least, you can also go to the Crown Fountain, a fountain with a huge LED screen that transmits images all the time and makes the joy of everybody on hot days.
As you can see, the park has attractions for a whole day!

Chicago should be in your list of cities to be visited. But plan your trip to spring/summer time because during the winter, due to the very low temperature, some attractions do not work. Have a safe trip!

July 26, 2011

Chicago - what and where to eat

Everybody in Chicago told me to try 2 of the city's staples: the deep-dish pizza from Lou Malnati's and Garrett's caramel popcorn. So off I went! We tried Lou Malnati's on Friday night without reservations and there was an hour and a half waiting list (the concierge at my hotel told me that you have to make reservations for almost all restaurants in Chicago). I didn't wait but I went back the next day for lunch. I don't like eating pizza for lunch but that was the only way of not facing a huge line (we got a table 20 minutes later). It is a very simple, informal and small place. The famous deep-dish is nothing more than a thick dough topped with tons of cheese and tomato sauce. It was a little bit heavy for my taste. It was tasty, but I prefer a regular pizza. If you wanna try it (it is very typical so I think you should) here is a catch: the pizza takes about 45 minutes to bake but you can go to the pizzeria, put your name on the waiting list and order the pizza in advance (no worries, they do that all the time). So when you get your table, your pizza will be ready in 15/20 minutes.
Garrett's popcorn: I also stayed in line for a while, but since I love caramel popcorn, I dind't complaint and ate the whole bag! (the smallest size is more than enough for two! And they also have other flavors like cheese)
But if you had no pleasure eating typical dishes, don't worry! You will surely find a very good restaurant. Chicago has endless options ranging from delis to fast food to bars and grills.
Now, here are two personal tips: go to David Burke's Primehouse at The James Hotel for dinner. The food is great and it is a nice environment (during the day is quieter but the food is also nice). Have a drink at the Bar and Grill Ralph Lauren. The bar is super cozy, classic, chic decor and friendly waiters. I recommend it! If you have time (we, unfortunately, didn't), stay there and have a meal. It's a little bit expensive but I saw some of the dishes they were serving and they looked delicious!

Chicago - Overall

Chicago, the third largest city in the US, mixes very well old & new architectures and it is surrounded by lakes. Although it is known as The Windy City, what struck me were the morning storms and night thunderstorms (quite impressive!). Due to all these storms and lakes, the humidity is high. And since it is summer, it's hot! (and I got there in the middle of a heat wave!). But if you want to visit the city during the winter, get your gloves, hats and coats ready!
The city is also known for its museums, parks, libraries and stadiums. They have hockey, basketball, football and baseball teams (God knows why they lost hosting 2016 Olympics for Rio de Janeiro...)
The traffic is very heavy but public transportation is great: from the airport you can take a taxi (a bit expensive), shuttle, bus or subway.
I was staying in Downtown in a great hotel that I recommend: The James. And because we were short in time, I could not visit other neighborhoods, but I was surprised by what I found there. I thought Downtown was a work district only, but in fact it is very well located, close to numerous tourist attractions, markets, shops and restaurants. And since during summer it gets dark about 8:30pm, everyone is on the streets and the shops were open late hours. Great!

Soon I will write more on tourist attractions and typical foods.

July 25, 2011

Angel's feet...

Every woman owns at least one uncomfortable pair of shoes. It is very difficult to find a beautiful and comfortable high heels, or even a pair of flats (they do exist, and when we find them, we want to buy one of each color!). But to our joy, some companies have created great "gadgets" to help reducing pain caused by our beloved - and painful - shoes:
Foot Petals: great products for women such as invisible insoles to be worn with open shoes, inserts for the heels, and silicone strips for strappy sandals.
As for Dr. Scholls, it's a more complete line - for men and women - that goes from insoles to gels to prevent/help healthy issues such as perspiration, achy feet, back pain, knees pain etc..
Here they are widely used here in the US and, in most of the cases, they actually work! Since you don't have to spend too much money, it's worth to try.
Have you ever thought that with these inserts maybe that wonderful pair of pumps you put away could be the most comfortable shoes in your closet? Available on drugstores and supermarkets.

Welcome to Chicago!

I'm back after a quick trip to Chicago and what I can say is that I would love to visit this city many other times!
The city has a bit of everything: parks, museums, aquarium, restaurants, shops, stadiums, theaters, beautiful architecture, huge lakes, good public transportation and excellent hotels. And I only explored Downtown!
I'm wrapping up all the information and pretty soon I'll tell all about my experiences in this beautiful city!

July 21, 2011

Hello Chicago!!!

That's right! Directly from the land of  President Obama, Oprah and Michael Jordan (oh, that one can tell my age!), taking lots of pictures and searching for cool tips to show to you!

July 20, 2011


I love all kinds of cheeses: from blue cheese to cottage to cheddar. And some time ago I discovered a delicious Italian cheese called burrata.
It tastes and lookes like mozzarella di bufala, but the diference is that when you cut it, you are surprised by a very soft cheese that melts in your mouth - that's the reason for the name burrata: Italian word for butter.
My suggestion is to eat it as an appetizer with drizzles of a very good extra virgin olive oil, salt, tomato and bread or, at most, a green salad. Don't dice, slice or mix it with the food, otherwise it will lose its charm, texture and flavor.
Buon Appetito!


Palm Springs, CA

July 19, 2011

Brazilian Culture - Documentaries

I'm a huge fan of documentaries and it's been a while that Brazil has embarked on this bandwagon by creating incredible movies about our culture and history. Last year I saw Simonal - No One Knows How Tough It Was and The Man Who Bottled Clouds, and besides the great amount of good music, I was delighted with the visual, the content and the quality of these productions.

To my great surprise, I've just watched the trailer of Filhos de João - O Admirável Mundo Novo Baiano (something like: Children of John - The Great World Novo Baiano) and it was automatically added to my "to watch" list. It is a documentary about the music and musicians from a group from the 60's and 70's called Novos Baianos, which will be released on July 22 in some cities in Brazil. And it seems that the viewers will have 76 minutes of Brazilian culture and good music!
For now, the documentary is only available in theatres in Brazil but whenever you have the opportunity, it's always great to support your or other cultures, especially when we have high-quality documentaries like these!

Cake pops!

Cake Pops are super trendy right now and culinarists - pros and amateurs like us - are buying books, checking out websites and testing recipes. But to facilitate our lives and help us get to the perfect recipe, we can now buy a cake pop maker! With the help of this gadget you can bake multiple cakes at the same time and all with the same size.

But if you do not have room for one more gadget in your kitchen or do not want to spend so much, you can find cake pops pans. They are much cheaper and the result is very similar or even equal to the maker!

These itens are available for sale at Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and many others.

Grand Prix Laguna Seca

This post is for those passionate about motorcycles and speed: from 22 to 24 July is taking place in Laguna Seca, CA, the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, the motorcycle world championship.
Last year I had the opportunity to go and it was amazing! Well-organized, millions of motorcycle enthusiasts and pros (pic below from the parking lot!), shops, restaurants, anyway, I loved it! If you want to go, I guarantee you will have some very interesting time!

July 18, 2011

Savon de Marseille Extra Pur

I discovered Savon de Marseille Extra Pur when searching for French cosmetics and now I am a fan. The products are made with plant oils and no fragrances nor artificial ingredients. The packaging is simple and beautiful, and with an amazing smell! The brand also carries liquid and bar soaps, shower gel, moisturizers etc.. If you can only buy one, I would suggest figue (fig). They also have organic, exotic and original collections. Savon de Marseille is on sale at Amazon, a few drugstores or on their website.

This week's DELIGHT!

Homemade Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake (recipe here)

July 15, 2011


Mais uma sexta-feira e o drink desta semana é o famosíssimo Dry Martini:
55 ml gin
15 ml vermute seco
azeitonas ou casca de limão para decorar

Misture todos os ingredientes em uma coqueteleira com gelo, coe e coloque em uma taça de martini gelada. Decore com a azeitona (ou a casca de limão).
O Dry Martini é um drink forte e perfeito para quem gosta de gin - o agente mais famoso do mundo adorava! ("Shaken, not stirred!").

July 14, 2011


Union Square (San Francisco, CA)

My Father's Daughter Cookbook

Gwyneth Paltrow is the "it" girl again for quite some time now. Multi-media, a few months ago she released a cookbook called My Father's Daughter. She's promoting heavily the book here in the US and I went to Williams & Sonoma to take a look at it (and to my surprise, I ended up bumping into her at the store!). Backed by big names in the American cuisine, the book has different types of recipes: from simple with basic ingredients to a little more elaborate to organic and vegetarian. Anyway, it is a beutiful book with amazing photos and delicious recipes!

July 13, 2011


Dyson is a company that has gotten my attention for quite some time for their functional and well-designed products. The first product I got to know was the vacuum cleaner with a super different design:

Then, after gazillion visits to restrooms at malls and restaurants, I noticed a very powerful hand drier that really dried my hands in few seconds. Also Dyson.

Now, they come up with this amazing fan!!

That's right. This is a fan! With no blades, no noise and ultra-modern! Available in different shapes and sizes, they can be found at Bed, Bath and Beyond, Amazon and Dyson's own website. The prices are a little bit expensive but I think they might worth the investment because Dyson has already shown that they can develop moderm and high-quality products!

July 12, 2011


Beverly Hills, CA

Travesseiro (a typical pastry from Portugal)

When in Portugal, don't forget to visit the small town of Sintra. Besides being very charming, with several typical shops, over there you should go to Sintra National Palace and also to a very traditional pastisserie called Piriquita. Ask for a pastry called Travesseiro (pillow). It is like a crescent roll dough filled with an almond cream in a "pillow" shape. Delicious! And to drink, of course, a Port wine!

July 11, 2011

In love!

For those who like travel size cosmetics and MAC products, you'll love to know that they've launched a travel size line for the face that is perfect for traveling! The mini collection has wipes, makeup remover, cleanse, lotion... A complete kit to keep you skin beautiful without taking up too much room in your suitcase!


Dallas, Texas

July 10, 2011

Urth Caffe

A place with delicious every-hour food is Urth Caffe in Los Angeles. The menu is filled with fresh and organic ingredients, plate sizes are generous and the prices are a bit more expensive than a regular coffee shop but it's fine because everything is delicious: salads, soups, burgers, cakes, pastries etc.. The atmosphere is very nice and you might even bump into a Hollywood celebrity. But get ready because the coffee shop is very crowded at peak hours.

July 08, 2011


Mais um fim de semana está chegando e com ele mais uma edição do Cheers!
Como no Brasil o frio não dá sossego, continuamos com os drinks calientes.

Mountain Melter
45ml tequila ouro
1 colher (chá) de licor de laranja
90ml chocolate quente
Chantilly e canela em pó para decorar
Coloque todos os ingredientes misturados em um copo para coquetéis quentes (uma caneca igual à usada para o Irish Coffee), cubra com o chantilly e polvilhe a canela.

Esse drink é bem gostoso e o sabor da tequila não é tão forte. Não esqueça da canela. Ela dá o toque!

July 07, 2011

Museo Nacional de Antropología

When in Mexico City, a cultural tour that is super nice and enriching is the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Anthropological Museum). The museum has a huge collection that tells you everything about the origins, history and culture of Mexican people and their ancestors. Reserve a few hours, because the museum has beautiful and extensive collections!


Los Angeles, CA

Have a safe and nice trip!

Travel + Leisure magazine released today its annual list "The Best of" 2011. If you are planning a trip, check its website out, because they have ranks for almost everything: best cities, beaches, car rental, safaris, hotels, cruises, spas, etc.. As we all know, it is very hard to find an airline that we are please with. So here I will list the top five airlines for domestic flights and the top five for international flights:
Domestic Flights
1 - Virgin America
2 - JetBlue Airways
3 - Hawaiian Airlines
4 - Southwest Airlines
5 - Sun Country Airlines

International Flights
1 - Singapore Airlines
2 - Emirates
3 - Etihad Airways
4 - Air New Zealand
5 - Virgin Atlantic Airways

July 06, 2011


For those who like Paris or have seen the movie Midnight in Paris recently, a good tip is to get the coffee table book of the famous French restaurant Maxim's that's available for pre-sale on-line. Besides telling the story of the restaurant and many beautiful photos, the book has also classic recipes! (very soon I will talk more about this incredible publisher Assouline!)


Enjoy life! (Palm Springs, CA)


It's been a few years now that supermarkets have increased the supply of eco-friendly and sustainable products. Little by little I'm trying to give my best and have tested some dish soaps, hand soaps and multi-purpose cleaner from brands like Method, Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation and JR Watkins. And what I can say is that they are as good as the regular products (or even better for the skin), nice fragrances, and on top of that some still have beautiful packaging! These brands have extensive collections ranging from paper towels and laundry detergents to body lotions to diapers and wipes, and you can also buy refills - great way to save some bucks and not waste natural materials!

July 05, 2011


Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City)

My Favorites: Cupcakes

I'm a huge fan of cupcakes! I've tasted many of them and could not leave out the two most famous: Magnolia Bakery (NY) and Sprinkles (LA). Magnolia Bakery already has a store here in LA (pic below), but my first experience was at the original store on Bleecker St, New York. It's a small shop, old fashioned and very charming. They also offer cakes, pies and brownies. The cupcakes are very tasty, but they ctick to the classics (chocolate, vanilla and red velvet).

In the case of Sprinkles, they are the first "cupcakery" in Beverly Hills and do not serve nothing but cupcakes and a few drinks like milk and water, but they have a huge variety of flavors (lemon, chocolate, vanilla, carrot, coconut, banana, red velvet and special editions). Prepare to face a line, but it doesn't take long! The cupcakes are very tasty, and when in doubt, go with Red Velvet (the white one in this photo!).

July 04, 2011

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on

For those who like eyeliner, I recommend Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on. Available in over 15 colors, as the name says, the pencil glides very smoothly on the eye and really stays 24 hours! If you smudge with a brush, it's beautiful! This spring the brand launched a special anniversary kit with 15 colors, but usually they are sold separately or in pairs. They can be easily found at Sephora, Amazon, Urban Decay's website among others.

Be prepared for summer vacation!

Summer vacation coming up and many people are going out of town/country. So here are some tips for you to pre-organize your trip and really enjoy your vacation:
- Research on the location, hotel, surroundings, weather and create a list of everything you need (some hotels offer hair dryers, towels, bathrobes, toiletry items, etc.)
- Tell your friends, relatives and closest neighbors where you're going, how long you will stay and how you can be contacted in case of emergency (if it's an international trip, also call your credit card company so you can check if is everything OK with your card)
- Let the pets with friends; water plants; time the lights in the house; cancel newspaper's  deliveries; hide valuables (jewelry box, for example)
- If traveling by car, take it to your dealer for a full-check (brakes, oil, windshield, fire extinguisher, flashlight, tires)
- About the clothes, try to combine colors and match pieces (black, brown, grey are very easy to match with any other colors)
- If traveling by plane, take with you (on your body!) the coat/jacket and shoes that take up more space in your suitcase. Another tip is to put underwear in plastic bags inside the shoes
- Make a file with all the information pertinent to your trip. So you do not need to take guides, books, notes etc.
- Prepare a kit with daily use medicines and also those who would need prescription in case you need. Others, depending on your location, can be easily found at drugstores.

My Favorites: Father's Office Burger

When in Los Angeles and have that craving for a gourmet burger go to Father's Office. Besides a large supply of imported beers and a cool ambiance, the flagship burger is delicious! (see the pics!). French-style bread, spicy beef, caramelized onions, arugula and cheese. Don't even ask for ketchup (they don't have it) or try to change some ingredients (they don't), but don't worry, after the first bite you will not miss a thing! The green salad with duck and sweet potato fries are also amazing!

July 03, 2011


I missed last week's Cheers! but here it is: Irish Coffee! With the cold weather in Brazil, nothing better than a yummy and hot drink to warn the soul:
27ml whisky
45ml strong hot coffee
18ml freshly whipped cream
1 tsp granulated sugar
Heat a cup/mug with boiling water. Mix the whisky, coffee and sugar and place the whipped cream on top pouring over the back side of a heated spoon (this step is important so that the cream does not mix together with the coffee).

In love!

I'm in love with this Watermelon Knife. As its name implies, is a knife to cut watermelon. It has a long and serrated blade that is perfect for cutting the fruit from end to end without too much work. I've found it on sale at Amazon and Crate & Barrel (in store and online).