Monday, March 9, 2020

What We Brought to Brazil - Round 3

When we were researching living in Brazil, one of my favorite things to read were posts from expats about the stuff they brought with them. It helped inform us of the things we wanted to bring. (I even wrote my own posts about it way back in the first blog post and and again here.) Since we had already moved to Brazil, I had been in the States two years before, and we estimate that we'll live here for less than two more years, our priorities this trip were a little different. Some items were practical things that we felt we needed in Brazil. Items that we could buy cheaper and with better quality in the States. Some items were simply beauty or health supplies that I've been unable to find in Brazil. Some things were related to making travel easier, since we travel so often. (We made the 8 hour car trip to Bahia for Carnaval only a week after arriving in Brazil!) Frankly, they're all things we should have probably brought on our first or second trip, if we had had the space. (***As always, this post in NOT sponsored and all the links are for your convenience only.)

Rain jackets and rain boots! (These are the actual ones we purchased). We have a rainy season typically around November, and when it rains, it rains. On more than one occasion, I've had to walk the kids to school with a towel on my shoulder so that I can wipe their arms, legs, and feet off. You would think that rain boots are common here with the heavy rains, but they aren't. It was also important that the rain jackets be extremely lightweight, since it's insanely humid when it rains. 

Alessandra and I have ton of baby hairs and flyaways. Hairspray never quite seems to do the trick for us. Being covered in sweat, with tiny wet pieces of hair sticking to your head is so unnecessarily uncomfortable. I had heard about this finishing brush from another blogger. It is a miracle worker! I put my hair into a ponytail, then brush from my hairline to just a few inches back. Even with the heavier baby hair like at the base of my neck, it holds. My hair looks so much nicer and certainly more professional while I'm teaching.

Dry shampoo!! Ah, what a lifesaver. I haven't found dry shampoo anywhere in my city. I'm sure you could find it in Rio, Sao Paulo, or Brasilia (as with most of these items, but they're also probably very expensive). If I haven't mentioned it enough, it's hoooooot in Brazil. Since I work remotely, I spend most of my day inside our house blasting the air conditioner (a luxury in Brazil, but one I can't live without). Simply walking the two blocks to Maicon and Alessandra's school each day leaves me drenched in sweat. Is there anything more disgusting than being covered in sweat all day? Even when I retreat to the a/c, my body feels gross, so it's not uncommon for me to take 2-3 showers a day. Washing my long hair 2-3 times a day is unrealistic, not to mention damaging! Now I can throw my hair in a cap, wash my body, and hit my hair with dry shampoo as needed. 

I have a real issue with the quality of fabrics in Brazil. THEY SUCK. I don't know if it's due to the strict import rules, extremely high import taxes, or something else. It's been nearly impossible for me to find sheets that properly fit our mattress and feel nice. Since a million bloggers recommended these  sheets (Mellanni Sheet Set), and they were less than $30, I thought they would be worth bring back to Brazil. They are so luxurious for being cheap Amazon sheets! I wish we brought them when we initially moved here.

Another thing I haven't found in my city is a decent facial brush. Skincare has become an important part of my daily routine, in part because I'm in my 30s and have 10+ years of working in the sun worth of skin damage, in part because of all the aforementioned sweat. Bleh.

I snagged this travel bag for less than $17! We are finally at the age where we do not have to travel with a diaper bag, car seat, or strollers. (We did have a car seat for Alessandra in Denver, but since she's only in a booster seat now, I just ordered a cheap one and had it sent to my brother's house). So layovers have been a lot easier in terms of getting from gate to gate. One thing that still drives me nuts is carrying around my purse either on my arm or across my body. Since we still have to pass through customs with all of our luggage (normally four large suitcases), that purse was kind of a bitch to carry. (Mind you it's normally holding two iPads, two wifi headphones, all of our IDs, tickets, my wallet, snacks, etc.) This bag has an anti-theft pocket in the back, some nice pockets on the front, inside, and sides, and a small cable that connects to an internal power bank (not provided). It was pretty comfortable, and had plenty of space for everything. It was also really nice to have our IDs and tickets in the back pocket. I could reach them easily, but while we were walking around I didn't worry about them because obviously no one could access the pocket. 

This makeup organizer is another one of my favorite travel buys. Normally I use zippered pouches (think IPSY bags) for my makeup, but I end up putting everything in ziplock bags inside the pouches.  All the little sections at the bottom of the bag are velcro, so the compartments can be adjusted as needed. This time I skipped the ziplock bags and my makeup arrived damage-free.

I really hesitated to pull the trigger on this trtl pillow because it was $30. Ohhhh it was so worth it! I had doubts about how well it would hold my head up, but it was great. I managed to sleep a bit on our overnight flight and didn't have a sore neck at all. I highly recommend it.

These books were so cool. I might even have completed a couple of the pictures, although I bought them for the kids, haha. I wanted a non-electronic way to entertain the kids during travel, but coloring books have been difficult for us. I hate lugging crayons around and then making sure the kids don't draw on anything they aren't supposed to. It's just one more thing to worry about while traveling. The sticker books were mess-free and super fun.

I have never found a Lysol-esque disinfectant spray in Brazil. Only this past month have I seen a "lysoform" brand that's similar. It's not expensive, but it's only available as a floor cleaning liquid. I did see a lysoform spray, but I've never seen it in stock (of course). With Coronavirus being the big issue this year, this was a no-brainer purchase.

This cute little fan is from Walmart and was around $9. I had purchased a battery operated fan here in Brazil for around R$40 (more or less US$10) and it barely works. It's also super loud and not as portable as this one with the clip. This little guy is either clipped to my desk or clipped to my kitchen window depending on whether I'm working or cooking. It's very convenient. I actually wish I had brought a couple more!

And finally, I got this knife set from Williams Sonoma when it was on sale for $40 (about R$160). Since a set of only three knives is about R$220 here, this was simply an economic based purchase. I needed a decent set of knives and the price was right!

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